Sick personNot to boast, but I rarely catch colds nowadays. Oh sure, maybe I get the odd sniffle once a year, but considering how many miles I log in airplanes and my contact with germ infested children, I think that’s a pretty good track record. And it’s not because I was breastfed or watch my sugars or am super healthy. My secret? This one herb: astragalus.

This is why I take astragalus


I first caught wind of this root used in Traditional Chinese Medicine when I heard Dr. Weil speak in Calgary a few years ago. He’s the bald dude with the white beard who’s on CNN and Oprah a lot. He’s also a Harvard MD, and one of the top holistic health practitioners in the US. Anyway, he travels a lot, and swears by astragalus supplements for building up the immune system. I think he said it was his number one recommendation for keeping your immune system in tip top form. Read here what he has to say about it.

This is Dr. Weil. I drink all his Kool-Aid.

We all know the hazards of this time of year when the weather changes, and all the kids and co-workers return from holidays to start swapping germs back and forth. That’s why September (or ideally mid-August) is a great time to start take astragalus. Apparently it’s a non-toxic herb, safe for kids and can be used long term for increased resistance. Naturally, I’m not a medical doctor, so please talk to your own health care practitioner before trying it yourself or giving it to your kids (I haven’t given any to Eve yet).

Astragalus benefits

Since taking astragalus I don’t get sick nearly as much. Even if I do catch a cold (so rare), I feel better taking astragalus during it. For me, it’s more effective than Vitamin C or echinacea. Astragalus is one of the world’s best immunity boosters. It helps the body manage stress and ward off disease. I’ve read it’s also an anti-inflammatory and is good for the cardiovascular system by reducing blood pressure.

box teaWhere to find astragalus

I used to drink this (inexpensive) green tea with astragalus from SuperStore. I can’t find it anymore, but I think it’s worth mentioning in case you’re able to find it in your region. Now, I just pop capsules from September till April, and viola – my immune system is rocking. Though, when I do get hit with a cold, I turn to these tried and true run down remedies to get back in gear.

Astragalus in tablet form can be hard to find at run of the mill pharmacies, but pretty much every health food store (like Community in Calgary) carries it. Again, check with your doctor as I’m no healthcare professional. It’s worked for me, but who knows? Maybe you have some totally messed up system and this will throw it out of whack. Everybody’s different and all that.

I’ve recommended astragalus (and holy basil and curcumin) to friends for years. Fortuneately, none of them have complained:)

What are your tricks for warding off colds?