Common names: Chiretta, Chuan xin lian, Kalmegh, Kirata
Botanical name: Andrographis paniculata
Parts used and where grownAndrographis originated in the plains of India, and it also grows in China. The leaves and flowers are used medicinally.
Andrographis has been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information):
|Science Ratings||Health Concerns|
| Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit. |
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support and/or minimal health benefit.
Historical or traditional use (may or may not be supported by scientific studies)Andrographis has long been used in traditional Indian and chines herb medicine. The most common reported uses were for digestive problems (as is the case with most non-toxic bitter herbs such as andrographis), snakebite, and infection ranging from malaria to dysentery. 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, fertility-decreasing, liver-protective, and bile secretion-stimulating actions.3 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 eleuthero (Siberian ginseng), known as Kan jang, 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 with HIV infection, at the amount used, the preparation led to side effects, including headache, fatigue, a bitter/metallic taste in the mouth, and elevated liver enzymes (which returned to normal after the medication was stopped). 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.
How much is usually taken?Andrographis is generally available as capsules with dried herb or as standardized extracts (containing 11.2 mg andrographolides per 200 mg of extract). For dried herb, 500–3,000 mg are taken three times per day. In clinical trials, 100 mg of a standardized extract were taken two times per day to treat the common cold. For indigestion,
1 Jar contain 80 Caps( 4 caps for 2 times a day)
Are there any side effects or interactions?Some people develop intestinal upset when taking Andrographis. If this occurs, reduce the amount taken or take it with meals. Headache, fatigue, a bitter/metallic taste, and elevated liver enzymes were reported in one trial with HIV-infected people taking high doses of isolated Andrographolides. This has not been reported in people using whole Andrographis or standardized extracts at the amounts recommended above. As with all bitter herbs, Andrographis may aggravate ulcers and heartburn. The safety of Andrographis during pregnancy and breast-feeding is unknown.
At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with Andrographis.
1. Nadkarni AK, Nadkarni KM. Indian Materia Medica vol 1. Bombay: Popular Prakashan, 1976, 101–3.
2. Bensky D, Gamble A, Kaptchuk T. Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica Revised Edition. Seattle: Eastland Press, 1993, 95.
3. Bone K. The story of Andrographis paniculata, a new “immune system” herb. Nutrition & Healing 1998;Sept:3, 4, 8, 9 [review].
4. Leelarasamee A, Trakulsomboon S, Sittisomwong N. Undetectable anti-bacterial activity of Andrographis paniculata (Burma) Wall. ex ness. J Med Assoc Thai 1990;73:299–304.
5. Thamlikitkul V, Dechatiwongse T, Theerapong S, et al. Efficacy of Andrographis paniculata, Nees for pharyngotonsillitis in adults. J Med Assoc Thai 1991;74:437–42.
6. Melchior J, Palm S, Wikman G. Controlled clinical study of standardized Andrographis paniculata extract in common cold–a pilot trial. Phytomedicine 1996;3:314–8.
7. Hancke J, Burgos R, Caceres D, Wikman G. A double-blind study with a new monodrug Kan Jang: decrease of symptoms and improvement in recovery from common colds. Phytother Res 1995;9:559–62.
8. Cáceres DD, Hancke JL, Burgos RA, et al. Use of visual analogue scale measurements (VAS) to assess the effectiveness of standardized Andrographis paniculata extract SHA-10 in reducing the symptoms of common cold. A randomized double blind-placebo study. Phytomedicine 1999;6:217–23.
9. Caceres DD, Hancke JL, Burgos RA, et al. Use of visual analogue scale measurements (VAS) to asses the effectiveness of standardized Andrographis paniculata extract SHA-10 in reducing the symptoms of common cold. A randomized double blind-placebo study. Phytomedicine 1999;6:217–23.
10. Melchior J, Spasov AA, Ostrovskij OV, et al. Double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot and phase III study of activity of standardized Andrographis paniculata Herba Ness extract fixed combination (Kan jang) in the treatment of uncomplicated upper-respiratory tract infection. Phytomedicine 2000;7:341–50.
11. Calabrese C, Berman SH, Babish JG, et al. A phase I trail of andrographolide in HIV positive patients and normal volunteers. Phytother Res 2000;14:333–8.
12. Thanagkul B, Chaichantipayut C. Double-blind study of Andrographis paniculata Nees and tetracycline in acute diarrhea and bacillary dysentery. Ramathibodi Med J 1985;8:57–61.
13. Chaturvedi GN, Tomar GS, Tiwari SK, Singh KP. Clinical studies on kalmegh (Andrographis paniculata) in infective hepatitis. J Int Inst Ayurveda 1983;2:208–11.
14. Bone K. The story of Andrographis paniculata, a new “immune system” herb. Nutrition & Healing 1998;September:3, 4, 8, 9 [review].
15. Calabrese C, Berman SH, Babish JG, et al. A phase I trail of andrographolide in HIV positive patients and normal volunteers. Phytother Res 2000;14:333–8.With the arrival of spring, many people follow their gut instinct and begin to focus on healthier eating and lifestyle habits in order to strengthen their resistance to illness and improve general well-being. One of the simplest and most effective ways to boost vitality after months in Canadian winter hibernation mode is to take herbal bitters.
There is one bitter herb which stands out among the others: andrographis.
Traditionally used in Indian and Asian medicine, Andrographis paniculata is steadily gaining popularity in the West—and for good reason. This remarkable bitter-tasting herb makes an excellent spring tonic, especially for individuals who want to give their digestive and immune systems a boost.
Andrographis has a wide range of therapeutic indications, including its traditional use to lower fevers, prevent cold and flu, and treat digestive problems such as indigestion and poor appetite.
Embrace that bitter taste!
When we taste a bitter substance, the bitter-sensitive taste buds at the back of the mouth and tongue are stimulated. This triggers a cascade of signals which communicate important messages to the rest of the gastrointestinal tract and related organs, including the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder, in preparation for the food to come.
By increasing digestive juices and motility, andrographis extract promotes the efficient uptake and assimilation of nutrients from the digestive tract.
The second brain In order to appreciate the importance of bitter herbs such as andrographis, and how this herb influences the body when ingested, the gastrointestinal tract should be regarded as another sensory organ.
As a sensory detecting system, the digestive tract is so complex that it is now thought of by many scientists as a second brain. Its entire surface contains highly specialized nerve, endocrine, and immune cells that respond to tastes and to the gastrointestinal contents.
As well as absorbing nutrients from food, the lining acts as an efficient immune barrier against potentially harmful substances. Incredibly, the gastrointestinal immune system harbours 70 to 80 percent of the body's immune cells.
The gut/immune connection There is increasing evidence that, as well as promoting good digestion, certain bitters also prime the immune system via the GI immune system. Research suggests that this is the case with andrographis.
The extract is reported to increase antibody activity and enhance the body's ability to destroy dead or foreign cells (phagocytosis) by scavenger cells called macrophages, and to strengthen immunity and recovery from infection. This gut/immune connection justifies the approach of practitioners who recommend digestive tonics such as bitters to influence overall wellness.
Andrographis has a long history of use for cold and flu prevention and for speeding recovery time during a cold. In Asia this action has led to andrographis being referred to as Indian echinacea. It was even reported to stem the Spanish flu in parts of India during the 1918 pandemic.
Colds and flu In one study involving outpatients diagnosed with the common cold, participants who were given andrographis extract demonstrated a significantly reduced number of sick days, improved symptoms, and hastened recovery.
In another study involving 158 patients diagnosed with the common cold, participants given andrographis extract experienced measurable improvements in symptoms such as headaches, cough, earaches, and expectoration.
In a published review of the safety and efficacy of a combination of andrographis and eleuthero root, research indicated that the combination alleviated cold symptoms.
Anti-inflammatory action Numerous studies have indicated that the andrographis herb possesses anti-inflammatory action, justifying the herb¡¦s use in inflammatory conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, and respiratory tract infection. There is evidence that the herb also stabilizes mast cells and has antiallergic actions.
Dosage: 4 Caps, 2 times per day.
Safety Although Andrographis is generally well tolerated, some studies have indicated that the herb may inhibit fertility and should be avoided by those who are trying to conceive.
Andrographis is contraindicated during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
1 Jar contained 80 caps 6 $ (220)