Astracantha root, Traganth, Αστράγαλος.
Also known as the goat’s thorn, the Astracantha is a native of the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The herb is used to make natural gum, “tragacanth”.
The Astracantha root has been used for a very long time as a medicine, with mention about it found in several Chinese and Persian medicinal recipes. In China it is used to increase the strength of “Qi”, which in turn promotes growth of tissue and discharge of pus from infected areas of the body. In India, it is used as an aphrodisiac.
Owing to its diuretic and demulcent properties the dried root has been used for treating dropsy. The treatment is highly beneficial especially when this condition is complicated by hepatic obstruction.
Modern science is working at extracting telomerase activator from the Astracantha root. This is an enzyme that promotes the replacement of telomeres (short bits of DNA), which are critical in cancer treatment.
Another important compound is the TAT2 (cycloastragenol), which promises to be able to fight HIV and other serious infections as well as symptoms of aging.
A number of research studies point at the ability of the Astracantha root extract to fight cancer, and improve functioning of liver, heart and the immune system.