Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata)
Andrographis is known for its bitterness and this flowering perennial plant grows wild in south Asia. One of its common names is "King of Bitters." Liking to grow in moist shady spots, it is harvested in the fall when it flowers, and has been a remedy in Chinese medicine for many centuries. This herb is also frequently used in Ayurvedic remedies. Some of the more common uses for this herb have been proven in modern medical research, such as various infections and even snake bites.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Andrographis has been used to treat respiratory infections, fevers, sore throat and herpes in Asia for centuries. It has been successful in treating atherosclerosis, blood clots, many types of cancer like breast, prostate, skin and stomach. Termed a "cytotoxic" herb, the extracts kill cancer cells. Studies have shown it has been useful against colds, flu and fevers.
In fact, it is a popular over-the-counter cold medication in the West. Hepatitis, diarrhea and AIDS are among the other ailments that have been helped by this herb. It protects heart muscle and promotes digestion. Andrographis is commonly included in Chinese patent medicines. Studies have been started to see how this herb does against diabetes.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
It is commonly combined with Graviola to boost the immune system and fight off ailments like hepatitis C , AIDS and other immune-compromising illnesses. It is combined with eleuthero in Scandinavia for a popular cold remedy.
Leaves, roots The leaves and roots of the plants are the parts that are used medicinally.
Andrographis should not be taken during pregnancy as it can cause abortion. Nursing women should also make every effort to avoid this herb as well. Taken over a long period of time, it can reduce the fertility of both men and women. Allergic reactions are rare, but when they occur, they can range from a small rash to anaphylactic shutdown. Others may experience dizziness or heart palpitations. Watch out for headache, fatigue, and a metallic taste in the mouth. At this time there are no known drug interactions with this herb.
Preparation and Dosage
Usually available as capsules, an average dose is 1 to 2 capsules taken three times a day. Most people use commercial preparations.