纽约癌症治疗中心 黄芪的药理作用和应用研究

Astragalus – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center














图示:黄芪 减少与特发性膜性肾病相关的蛋白尿。













Astragalus – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Astragalus belongs to a group of medicinal plants from the Leguminosae family. The root of A. membranaceus has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and is often used along with other herbs as a tonic to increase stamina, strength, and vitality. Extracts of astragalus are sold as dietary supplements to improve immune function and to decrease fatigue. Polysaccharides and triterpenoid saponin compounds isolated from astragalus have been used in scientific research.

Astragalus and its constituents have antioxidant (27), anti-inflammatory (28), and antiviral (29) activities. In vitro and animal studies suggest protective effects on the heart (30) (31) (32), kidney (33) (34) (35), bones (36) , and the nervous system (11) (17) (37).

Clinical studies of astragalus in humans showed promising results. A case report suggests it may reduce proteinuria associated with idiopathic membranous nephropathy (7). In small studies of healthy individuals, astragalus exhibited sodium-excreting properties (8) and produced a viral-type immune response (38). A formula containing astragalus as a major ingredient reduced fatigue in athletes (10). When used as an injection, astragalus appeared to benefit patients with IgA nephropathy (26). Astragalus used in Chinese medicine helped reduce diabetic ketoacidosis (39). In a small study of dialysis patients, an astragalus-based TCM formula significantly preserved residual renal function (40).

Anticancer properties have been observed in vitro with some compounds from astragalus against gastric (41), colon (42) (43) (44) (45), hepatic (46) and ovarian (59) cancers. Astragalus has also been associated with prolonged survival times in acute myeloid leukemia patients (47).

Data also suggest beneficial effects when used with chemotherapy (1) (2). In vitro, concomitant treatment with aldesleukin and astragalus potentiated tumoricidal activity while decreasing side effects (14). It also enhanced platinum-based chemotherapy (3) and protected against oxaliplatin neurotoxicity (48). Astragalus saponins reversed toxicities of fluorouracil (42) (28) and augmented the therapeutic benefit of vinblastine while reducing neutropenic and anemic effects in vivo (44). An injectable form of astragalus with vinorelbine and cisplatin improved quality of life in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (20), but whether orally administered astragalus would exert the same effects is unknown. In another study, an astragalus extract helped to manage cancer-related fatigue (22). Meta-analyses identified astragalus as among the traditional medicines associated with reductions in chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (49), and to have benefits in patients with hepatocellular cancers (16), but larger well-designed trials to confirm these findings are needed.

Although astragalus is generally safe, it may interact with certain drugs. Because this botanical and its constituents have demonstrated antioxidant (27) and estrogenic (23) (50) activities, it may interfere with some chemotherapy drugs and/or affect hormone-sensitive cancers. More studies are needed to determine the circumstances under which astragalus could be useful as an adjuvant therapy to standard cancer treatments.