The Andrographis, whose scientific name is Andrographis paniculata, is a plant native to South Asia, particularly India and Sri Lanka. Due to its composition, it has been used since ancient times in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine. What are the principal uses?
Also called Green chiretta or “Indian echinacea,” it is a bitter-tasting herb used to soothe respiratory, digestive, and joint symptoms. According to a publication in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, it exhibits potential as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antidiabetic, and antitumor.
In particular, this is attributed to its content of andrographolide, an active compound that is extracted from the leaves and stems to be used for pharmacological purposes. Do you want to know more about it? Continue reading!
Main Uses and Benefits of Andrographis
According to data compiled in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, andrographis concentrates substances that give it medicinal properties. In particular, it is a source of sesquiterpenes, flavonoids and lactones, among which andrographolide stands out, which is its main active principle.
Given its composition, it is a plant used for various medicinal purposes. Although some of its benefits are still under study, there is evidence to support several of its properties. Let’s see in detail.
1. Upper respiratory tract infections
One of the main uses of this plant has to do with the relief of upper respiratory tract infections. It is considered an immunomodulator, since it increases the response capacity of the immune system to the attack of viral agents.
Regarding this, a review of studies shared in Plos One determined that andrographis is beneficial against symptoms such as cough and sore throat. Likewise, its intake helped reduce the time of resolution of the cold. For now, more clinical trials are suggested to evaluate these effects.
2. Ulcerative colitis
Given its anti-inflammatory properties, andrographis extracts cause a positive effect against the symptoms of ulcerative colitis. In a review published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, researchers determined that the components of this plant were superior to placebo in inducing remission of inflammatory bowel disease.
The active compound in andrographis, andrographolide, causes anti-inflammatory effects that are associated with relief of arthritis symptoms. In a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences it is concluded that the plant has pharmacological potential against rheumatoid arthritis. In particular, it seems to ease pain and stiffness.
4. Multiple sclerosis
In research shared in BMC Neurology, Andrographis paniculata demonstrated potential to decrease the state of fatigue in people with multiple sclerosis, with effects superior to placebo. Also, in general, it was well tolerated.
5. Other possible benefits of Andrographis
In traditional medicine, andrographis extracts are used as a natural immune booster. Consequently, many other benefits are attributed to it.
However, as detailed by the US corporation WebMD, the evidence remains insufficient. These applications are the following:
- High levels of triglycerides in the blood (hypertriglyceridaemia).
- Familial Mediterranean fever.
- Swelling of the airways in the lungs.
- HIV AIDS.
- Liver problems.
Possible side effects of Andrographis
Like other herbal remedies, andrographis can trigger some unwanted reactions. To be more exact, its consumption in high doses tends to cause headaches, fatigue, allergic reactions, nausea and diarrhea.
On the other hand, its use is discouraged in the following cases:
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- People who are on anticoagulants, blood pressure medications, or chemotherapy.
- People who have diagnosed illnesses. If so, it is necessary to consult the doctor first.
The plant and its extracts should not be used intravenously, as it can cause kidney damage. Its consumption in very high doses causes inflammation of the lymph nodes, severe allergic reactions and increased liver enzymes, among others.
To date, an exact dose for andrographis has not been determined. In general, this varies depending on the health problem that you want to treat.
Thus, the suggested doses may be the following:
- Common cold: a combination product (between 4 and 6 milligrams of andrographolide and 400 milligrams of Siberian ginseng) 3 times a day.
- Sore throat: 3 to 6 grams of Andrographis.
- Osteoarthritis: 300 or 600 milligrams a day of andrographis for 12 weeks.
- Ulcerative colitis: 1200 to 1800 milligrams of andrographis extract daily for 8 weeks.
It is essential to keep in mind that these doses can vary according to the manufacturer and factors such as age, gender and medical history. It is important to resolve all doubts before ingesting these types of supplements.
What is there to remember about andrographis?
Right now, it is possible to find andrographis remedies in capsule and tincture presentations. These are generally sold to help with colds and colitis associated discomfort. Still, the evidence is limited and it should not be considered a first-line treatment. It is essential to follow medical recommendations.