Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Herbs (in ours). Stipules present, entire; stipels 0. Leaves imparipinnate with entire leaflets. Flowers in axillary racemes. Calyx with 5 teeth, the upper 2 shorter than the lower 3. Standard glabrous. Upper stamen free, the other 9 united for most of their length. Style glabrous
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Source: Flora of Zimbabwe

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Distribution

Distribution: Chitral
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Distribution: Endemic to Pakistan (Chitral).
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Stem small, c. 2 cm long, internodes 2-3 mm long, covered by appressed white hairs. Leaf imparipinnately compound, petiole 13-17 mm long, white-pubescent, hairs appressed biramous, mostly white. Leaflets 5-11, up to 10 mm long and 3 mm broad, elliptic, entire, obtuse, pilose, hairs white, appressed. Stipules lateral, c. 1.5 mm long. Inflorescence a pedunculate lax raceme, peduncle up to 5.5 cm long, white pubescent. Bracts c. 1 mm long, pubescent. Pedicel 1-1.5 mm long, white-pubescent. Calyx 8-9 mm long, pubescent, hairs white, with a few black hairs, teeth upper 2.5 mm long, lower c. 4 mm long. Vexillum c. 12 mm long. Stigma globular, not penicillate. Fruit linear 16-17 mm long (immature), pubescent, hairs white.
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Description

Perennial, stem acaulescent, glabrous. Stipules lateral, c. 6-7 mm long, appressed hairy to glabrescent, margins ciliate, acute. Leaf verticillately pinnate. Rachis (including petiole) more than 20 cm long, hairs white, spreading; leaflets verticillate, 4-12 in each whorl, linear-oblong to lanceolate, c. 5-12 mm long, c. 2-3 mm broad, covered with spreading hairs on both sides, almost sessile, acute, entire. Inflorescence an axillary, 5-6-flowered raceme, peduncle 3-4 cm long, glabrescent. Bracts linear, c. 5-6 mm long, glabrous, margins ciliate. Pedicel c. 3-4 mm long, glabrous. Calyx c. 10 mm long, glabrous, minutely hairy in upper part, teeth c. 3-4 mm, margins ciliate. Vexillum glabrous. Fruit turgid, c. 15-20 mm long, c. 5-6 mm broad, pubescent, tip acuminate, 8-12-seeded, stipe c. 4-5 mm long.
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Ecology

Associations

Foodplant / gall
Bremiola onobrychidis causes gall of leaf of Astragalus

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / feeds on
Globiceps flavomaculatus feeds on fruit (unripe) of Astragalus
Other: minor host/prey

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flower/Fruit

Fl.Per.: July.
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Flower/Fruit

Fl.Per.: June-July.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records: 677
Specimens with Sequences: 625
Specimens with Barcodes: 430
Species: 328
Species With Barcodes: 198
Public Records: 219
Public Species: 112
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Barcode data

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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Wikipedia

Astragalus

This article is about the plant genus. For the ankle bone, see talus bone.

Astragalus is a large genus of about 3,000 species[1] of herbs and small shrubs, belonging to the legume family Fabaceae and the subfamily Faboideae. The genus is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Common names include milkvetch (most species), locoweed (in North America, some species)[2] and goat's-thorn (A. gummifer, A. tragacanthus). Some pale-flowered vetches are similar in appearance, but vetches are more vine-like.

Ecology[edit]

Astragalus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including many case-bearing moths of the genus Coleophora: C. cartilaginella, C. colutella, C. euryaula, and C. onobrychiella feed exclusively on Astragalus, C. astragalella and C. gallipennella feed exclusively on the species Astragalus glycyphyllos, and C. hippodromica is limited to Astragalus gombo.

Traditional uses[edit]

The natural gum tragacanth is made from several species of Astragalus occurring in the Middle East, including A. adscendens, A. gummifer, A. brachycalyx,[3][4] and A. tragacanthus. Also Astragalus propinquus (syn. A. membranaceus) has a history of use as a herbal medicine used in systems of traditional Chinese medicine[5] and Persian medicine. [6] In traditional Chinese medicine A. membranaceus has been used to reinforce qi and strengthen the superficial resistance, and promote the discharge of pus and the growth of new tissue.[7]

Research[edit]

Biotechnology firms are working on deriving a telomerase activator from Astragalus. The chemical constituent cycloastragenol (also called TAT2) is being studied to help combat HIV, as well as infections associated with chronic diseases or aging.[8] However, the National Institutes of Health states: "The evidence for using astragalus for any health condition is limited. High-quality clinical trials (studies in people) are generally lacking. There is some preliminary evidence to suggest that astragalus, either alone or in combination with other herbs, may have potential benefits for the immune system, heart, and liver, and as an adjunctive therapy for cancer".[9]

Research at the UCLA AIDS Institute focused on the function of cycloastragenol in the aging process of immune cells, and its effects on the cells' response to viral infections. It appears to increase the production of telomerase, an enzyme that mediates the replacement of short bits of DNA known as telomeres, which play a key role in cell replication, including in cancer processes.[10]

Supplement use[edit]

Extracts of Astragalus propinquus ( syn. A. membranaceus) are marketed as life-prolonging extracts for human use. A proprietary extract of the dried root of A. membranaceus, called TA-65, "was associated with a significant age-reversal effect in the immune system, in that it led to declines in the percentage of senescent cytotoxic T cells and natural killer cells after six to twelve months of use".[11] There are mixed data regarding Astragalus, its effects on telomerase, and cancer. For example while 80% of cancer cells utilize telomerase for their proliferation - a factor which might theoretically be exacerbated by Astragalus - the shortening of telomeres (resulting from such factors as stress and aging and possible contributors to malignancy), might also be mitigated by Astragalus. Thus, short telomeres result in chromosome instability, and the potential for telomere lengthening as a protection against cancer is possible.[12] Additionally, scientists recently reported in Molecular and Cellular Biology that cancer cells may proliferate precisely because of the lack of differentiation occurring via damaged or shortened telomere length. They propose that "forced" elongation of telomeres promotes the differentiation of cancer cells, probably reducing malignancy, which is strongly associated with a loss of cell differentiation.

Side effects and toxicology[edit]

Astragalus may interact with medications that suppress the immune system, such as cyclophosphamide.[9] It may also affect blood sugar levels and blood pressure.[9] Some Astragalus species can be toxic. For example, several species native to North America contain the alkaloid swainsonine, which may cause "locoism" in livestock.[9] The toxicity of Astragalus taxa varies.[13]

Ornamental use[edit]

Several species, including A. alpinus (bluish-purple flowers), A. hypoglottis (purple flowers), and A. lotoides, are grown as ornamental plants in gardens.

Selected species[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e This may actually be a valid genus.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Frodin, D. G. (2004). "History and concepts of big plant genera". Taxon 53 (3): 753–776. doi:10.2307/4135449. 
  2. ^ "Astragalus (Locoweed) flowers". Rootcellar.us. Retrieved 2013-07-05. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "Astragalus brachycalyx Fisch.". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) online database. Retrieved 24 December 2010. 
  5. ^ "Astragalus | University of Maryland Medical Center". Umm.edu. 2013-05-07. Retrieved 2013-07-05. 
  6. ^ Zargary, A. Medicinal plants. 5th Edition.Tehran: Tehran University Publications 1990; pp. 312-314
  7. ^ Wang L, Waltenberger B, Pferschy-Wenzig EM, Blunder M, Liu X, Malainer C, Blazevic T, Schwaiger S, Rollinger JM, Heiss EH, Schuster D, Kopp B, Bauer R, Stuppner H, Dirsch VM, Atanasov AG. Natural product agonists of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ): a review. Biochem Pharmacol. 2014 Jul 29. pii: S0006-2952(14)00424-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2014.07.018. PubMed PMID: 25083916.
  8. ^ "Herbal chemical helps combat HIV". United Press International. January 1, 2009. Retrieved January 28, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c d Astragalus, NCCAM
  10. ^ Fauce, S. R., et al. (2008). "Telomerase-Based Pharmacologic Enhancement of Antiviral Function of Human CD8+ T Lymphocytes". Journal of Immunology 181 (10): 7400–7406. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.181.10.7400. PMC 2682219. PMID 18981163. Retrieved 2012-08-18. 
  11. ^ Harley, C. B., et al. (2011). "A natural product telomerase activator as part of a health maintenance program". Rejuvenation Research 14 (1): 45–56. doi:10.1089/rej.2010.1085. PMC 3045570. PMID 20822369. 
  12. ^ Hiyama, K., et al. (2009). "Role of telomeres and telomerase in cancer". In K. Hiyama. Telomeres and Telomerase in Cancer. Cancer Drug Discovery and Development II. Humana Press. pp. 171–180. doi:10.1007/978-1-60327-879-9_7. ISBN 978-1-60327-879-9. 
  13. ^ Rios, J. L.; P. G. Waterman (1998). "A review of the pharmacology and toxicology of Astragalus". Phytotherapy Research 11 (6): 411–418. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1573(199709)11:6<411::AID-PTR132>3.0.CO;2-6. 
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Notes

Comments

This species is closely allied to Astragalus alaicus Freyn in leaf characters but differs in having more leaflets in each whorl and longer leaves.
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