This ancient Indian herb has created a buzz among Herbal practitioners due to reserch showing it helps treat and prevent colds.
Scientists belive it stimulates the immune system by boosting production of antibodies.
Historical or traditional use has long been used in traditional Indian and Chinese herbal medicine. The most common reported uses were for digestive problems (as is the case with most non-toxic bitter herbs such as andrographis
Interestingly, some of these uses have been validated by modern scientific research. Although the roots were sometimes used in traditional medicine, the leaves and flowers are now more commonly used.
Active constituentsThe major constituents in andrographis are diterpene lactones known as andrographolides. These bitter constituents are believed to have immune-stimulating, anti-inflammatory, liver-protective, and bile secretion-stimulating actions.
Though some older studies suggested andrographis was antibacterial, modern research has been unable to confirm this finding.
Several double-blind clinical trials have found that andrographis can help reduce symptom severity in people with common colds. Though the earliest clinical trial among these showed modest benefits, later studies have tended to be more supportive. Standardized andrographis extract combined with Siberian ginseng, has also been shown in a double-blind clinical trial to reduce symptoms of the common cold.
A preliminary uncontrolled study using isolated andrographolide found that while it tended to decrease viral load and increase CD4 lymphocyte levels in people , It is unknown whether the andrographolides used in this study directly killed HIV or had an immune-strengthening effect.
Andrographis has proven helpful in combination with antibiotics for people with dysentery, a severe form of diarrhea. It has also shown preliminary benefit for people with chronic viral hepatitis.
The safety of andrographis during pregnancy and breast-feeding is unknown.