The Many Benefits of Andrographis Herb
English Name: Andrographis, King of Bitters
Latin Name: Andrographis paniculata
What is Andrographis?
Andrographis paniculata belongs to the Acanthaceae family, along with about 40 other herb species. Its cousins include Chinese violet (Asystasia gangetica) and polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya). Native to southern India and Sri Lanka, this annual herb has been cultivated in most Asian countries for use in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Its dark green, squared and slender stem grows 1 to 2 feet in height and sprouts hairless, lance-shaped leaves and delicate white and lavender blooms. The strong bitter taste of the herb led to its common name in British colonial India, “king of bitters,” though each country that employs the plant gives it a regional name. The root, leaves and stem have all been used medicinally, and sometimes the entire plant is included in herbal concoctions1.
How does Andrographis work?
The main active components of andrographis are phytochemicals called andrographolides. These chemical compounds stimulate the immune system and various bile-secreting mechanisms of the body, resulting in anti-inflammatory and anti-viral actions2. Andrographolides also contribute to the plant’s bitter flavor. The plant also contains high levels of other beneficial compounds, including metabolites, flavonoids and polyphenols. These compounds exhibit antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, inhibit the damage from free radicals and support a robust immune system response, especially in the upper respiratory tract. These compounds are also believed to help modulate liver enzyme production, which can help the body effectively eliminate toxins,and may support healthy sexual function by increasing blood flow1.
What are the benefits of Andrographis?
Some of the major benefits of the andrographis herb stem from the way it supports and stimulates the immune system. Research has shown that ingesting andrographis can alleviate many of the upper respiratory symptoms of the common cold and influenza viruses, including stuffy sinuses, coughing, body aches and high fever. Aside from alleviating symptoms, studies also suggest andrographis may help shorten the duration of these common maladies and may even help prevent them in otherwise healthy individuals. Other potential benefits include soothing the symptoms related to inflammatory bowel syndrome and ameliorating the aches and pains associated with rheumatoid arthritis3. The bitterness of this herb is thought to stimulate the production of saliva and certain stomach enzymes, which can promote a healthy bowel, alleviate indigestion due to low stomach acid and support effective digestion2.
Products Featuring Andrographis
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The content provided is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have a health condition, please consult a medical professional and do not use this information to self-diagnose or self-treat.
1. Okhuarobo, Agbonlahor, Joyce Ehizogie Falodun, Osayemwenre Erharuyi, Vincent Imieje, Abiodun Falodun, and Peter Langer. "Harnessing the Medicinal Properties of Andrographis Paniculata for Diseases and Beyond." Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease. June 2014. Accessed November 04, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4032030/.
2. "Andrographis." Andrographis | Michigan Medicine. Accessed November 04, 2018. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2037007#hn-2037007-how-it-works.
3. "Andrographis: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning." WebMD. Accessed November 04, 2018. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-973/andrographis.
Reviewed by Master Herbalist, Mary Ellen Kosanke