Andrographis is a shrub found throughout India and other Asian countries that is sometimes referred to as “Indian Echinacea”. It is also known as the “King of Bitters”. Find out more about its health benefits.
Andrographis has become popular in the treatment of colds, with research showing that it can reduce the severity of cold symptoms and also help to prevent colds. In regards to preventing colds, it may do this by increasing the body’s resistance to infection by stimulating the production of antibodies and macrophages – white blood cells that scavenge foreign matter. It can stimulate immunity, thus making it useful for supporting the immune system.
Andrographis has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral effects. As well as boosting the immune system, it may also protect against cancer, prevent blood clots, and maintain efficient digestive functioning. This herb improves gallbladder function, increases bile flow and thus helps digestion, and has been found to be as effective as silymarin (the active compound in milk thistle) in protecting the liver.
The main active component in andrographis is andrographolide, which is bitter in herbal medicine. Bitter herbs have an affinity with the heart, liver, and gallbladder, and most have a cooling effect on the body with the ability to reduce a temperature. This herb may be effective in preventing the formation of blood clots and preventing the re-clogging of arteries after an angioplasty, a procedure used to treat blocked arteries. Andrographis also activates fibrinolysis, a natural process in the body in which blood clots are dissolved. It also relaxes the smooth muscle in the walls of the blood vessels and has a blood pressure lowering effect.
Andrographis extracts are cell-killing or cytotoxic against cancer cells. The extracts are also showing promise in relieving diarrhea associated with E. coli infections.
The typical dosage for andrographis is 400mg twice a day for up to ten days. It is usually standardised to its content of andrographolide, which is typically 4 to 6 percent.
Andrographis has not been associated with any side effects in humans. However, some animal studies have raised concerns that andrographis may affect fertility. A human study has found no adverse effects on male fertility when using andrographis. Do not use when pregnant. Because andrographis may stimulate gallbladder contraction, it should not be used by people that suffer from gallbladder disease unless they are under medical supervision.