Chinese Medicine Herb May Improve Outcomes of Heart Attack Patients


A new study indicated that the traditional Chinese herb, astragalus, may help significantly reduce inflammation in patients who’ve recently suffered a heart attack. What’s more, the herb appeared to improve immunity among patients, unlike current cardiovascular drugs that often suppress the immune system.

The objective of the study, published in GeroScience and conducted by experts from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, was to determine the impact of astragalus on patients’ inflammation levels following a heart attack.

For the investigation, researchers carried out a double-blinded randomized controlled pilot trial including 90 participants over the age of 65. One group was given 16 milligrams of TA-65 daily, a patented drug isolated from the astragalus, while the other group received a placebo. The trial period lasted 12 months. Participants were reviewed regularly at the clinic to check for any side effects and had blood measurements taken at baseline, six months, and a year to measure outcomes.

According to researchers, after a year, patients who received TA-65 experienced fewer complications or issues, such as chest and joint pains following their heart attacks. In addition, the drug increased the patients’ lymphocytes, immune cells made in bone and marrow, improving their immunity.

“While some potent anti-inflammatory drugs have been shown to improve outcomes after heart attacks, they result in suppression of the immune system and increase the risk of severe infections,” said the study’s leader, Ioakim Spyridopoulos, MD, FESC, professor of cardiology and cardiovascular gerontology at Newcastle University. “In our study, the widely available drug TA-65 was shown to reduce inflammation but also appears to improve immunity by increasing a patient’s immune cells.”

Those who received TA-65 experienced 30 percent fewer adverse effects following their heart attack than participants taking the placebo. In the future, Spyridopoulos and his team plan to confirm their findings in more extensive clinical trials and further study potential adverse effects of the drug.

“If we can show that TA-65 improves the clinical outcomes of patients who have suffered a heart attack, on top of modern treatment options, it will become an important addition to patients’ medical care,” he said.