What is Andrographis
Andrographis paniculata is a herb commonly used in the Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda Medicine to treat a variety of conditions. It is also known as “King of the Bitter”. Andrographis is rich in compounds known as andrographolides. The extract from its roots and leaves have many protective effects on the body, including supporting healthy immune functions, healthy blood sugar levels, promoting healthy cardiovascular functions and promoting liver functions.
What is Andrographis used for?
Andrographis extract, has been shown in a double-blind trial to successfully reduce the severity of the upper respiratory infection.1, 2 A double-blind study also suggests andrographis extract may prevent the onset of a respiratory infections in healthy people. These actions are thought to be due to the immune system enhancing actions of the active constituents known as andrographolides and eleutherosides,3, 4 respectively. Because of its effects on the immune system, therapeutic use of andrographis has been studied in multiple conditions.
Ulcerative colitis (UC)
In a clinical trial published in 2013, scientists found that andrographis appears to be beneficial for people with active, mild-to-moderate UC. In this study, people who received andrographis had higher remission (resolution of the symptoms) rate after 8 weeks compared to those who received placebo (sugar pill). Researchers concluded that Andrographis may be an alternative for people with mild to moderate UC5
Upper Respiratory infection
Andrographis can also be beneficial for managing symptoms with upper respiratory infection. In a systematic study (where scientists reviewed 33 randomized, placebo controlled clinical trials), they found that taking andrographis improved the symptoms of cough and sore throat as well as reduced the duration of the illness (3) Taking Andrographis may also help preventing common cold in the winder period as demonstrated in this study conducted in school age children6.
Who should not take it?
In general, use of Andrographis is not associated with any adverse effects. However, Andrographis should not be used during pregnancy, lactation or those trying to conceive.
1. Poolsup N, Suthisisang C, Prathanturarug S, et al. Andrographis paniculata in the symptomatic treatment of uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection: systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Clin Pharm Ther 2004;29:37-45.
2. Coon JT, Ernst E. Andrographis paniculata in the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections: a systematic review of safety and efficacy. Planta Med 2004;70:293-98.
3. Li XY. Immunomodulating Chinese herbal medicines. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 1991;86 Suppl 2:159-64.
4. Davydov M, Krikorian AD. Eleutherococcus senticosus (Rupr. & Maxim.) Maxim. (Araliaceae) as an adaptogen: a closer look. J Ethnopharmacol 2000;72:345-93.
5. Sandborn WJ, Targan SR, Byers VS, et al. Andrographis paniculata extract (HMPL-004) for active ulcerative colitis. Am J Gastroenterol. 2013;108(1):90-98. doi:10.1038/ajg.2012.340
6.Hu XY, Wu RH, Logue M, et al. Andrographis paniculata (Chuān Xīn Lián) for symptomatic relief of acute respiratory tract infections in adults and children: A systematic review and meta-analysis [published correction appears in PLoS One. 2018 Nov 14;13(11):e0207713]. PLoS One. 2017;12(8):e0181780. Published 2017 Aug 4. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0181780https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5544222/
7. Cáceres DD, Hancke JL, Burgos RA, Wikman GK. Prevention of common colds with Andrographis paniculata dried extract. A Pilot double blind trial. Phytomedicine. 1997 Jun;4(2):101-4. doi: 10.1016/S0944-7113(97)80051-7. PMID: 23195395.l https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23195395/