By Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD
Scottsdale Naturopathic Doctor
Naturopathic Medicine is amazing because we actually have medicine that builds you up and helps you be healthier, stronger and more protected from viruses. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I especially love do prescribe the herb Astragalus membranceus to my immunodeficient patients because it is a wonderful immune system “shield” for the winter months.
Avoiding sick people at home, the work place, and social functions is nearly impossible so protecting yourself with proper hand washing, and ensuring that your immune system is properly boosted at all times against whatever the latest virus is going around is an easy enough thing to do.
Many years ago one of my first patients came to see me for constant sickness working as a teacher. Every year it was the same thing.... the kids would get sick then she would get sick and end up with a horrible case of pneumonia. I didn't give her a fancy 12 point Naturopathic treatment plan I simply advised she take 2 capsules of astragalus root twice daily during the school year.
Guess what? She still has not had pneumonia for over 12 years now! Isn't that amazing? Just one little herb has kept my patient out of the hospital for twelve years in a row! When before she met this herb she was in the hospital with pneumonia at least once a year if not twice a year requiring IV antibiotics and missing a month of work at a time.
Now she goes on a vacation to Hawaii every year because she can afford to use her PTO for something fun and not an annual month in the hospital!
Just another reason to love the magic of herbal medicine and Naturopathy!
Astragalus also may be beneficial to the cardiovascular system and lungs. It is an adrenal adaptogen herb that helps the overly stressed and exhausted patient and is indicated for patients that are feeling weak and worn down. So it is perfect for our public servants that have had to deal with a lot of stress and be forced to adapt to a lot of changes.
Be sure to use the root of this plant. Always work with a licensed Naturopathic Doctor or Herbalist that knows what they are doing as not every herb is the right choice for each patient! Some patients with autoimmune disease do not react well to astragalus.
To boost the immune system astragalus can be taken in capsule or tincture form, or a simple tea can be made by simmering 1 heaping tablespoon or ½ stick of the dry root per 8 oz cup of water for about 15 minutes. Astragalus tea can be added to soups, or cooked in to brown rice for an edible immune system treat. I drink this regularly in my "Invincible Mommy Tea" recipe since it is anti-inflammatory and can be helpful for those with chronic pain, chronic fatigue, asthma and poor kidney function.
According to Chinese medicine theory, herbs that engage the shield should not be used once one is actually ill. The analogy is that when “your house is infested with robbers you want to open up all the windows and doors to drive them out”.
Astragalus is a great way to lock down your doors and windows to prevent the winter “robbers” from getting in. Once ill however it is best to use a different kind of herb than this general immune system tonic. Stay tuned for my next blog on how to use the common spices in your kitchen as potent antiviral medications should actually fall ill to a virus and your preventive plan is not enough!
Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD
Dr. Sundene is a Naturopathic Doctor in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is considered a Female Hormone Expert in Women's Health and Bioidentical Hormones. She specializes in Holistic Women's Health for Menopause, Thyroid, Hashimotos, PMS, Perimenopause, Autoimmune, Postpartum, Chronic Fatigue, Depression, Anxiety, Food Allergies, Digestion, Dermatology , Acne, Psoriasis, Eczema and Adrenal Hormonal Conditions. In 1999 she began working for a Hormone Doctor prior to starting Naturopathic Medical School. With over 22 years of experience in both Prescription and Natural women's health and hormones she presents to women the best integrated health solutions for their Chronic Disease. She has been an Herbalist for over 27 years and enjoys teaching women how to use herbs to balance their hormones, nutrition and optimize their health. Dr. Sundene relies on blood testing for her hormone metrics. The hormone testing is covered per the patient's insurance plan and conducted at certain points in the woman's menstrual cycle. To learn more about Hormone Testing for Women Visit: Bioidentical Hormones. Follow Dr. Sundene on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more tips on Women's Health, Female Hormones and Naturopathy!