Andrographis Paniculata is a medicinal plant used to treat respiratory infections and fever, very useful in case of flu or colds.
In Thai: Fa Thalai Djonne – ฟ้าทะลายโจร
Other names: Andrographis, justicie, chirreta, carmantine, mahalita, king of the bitter, echinacea of India, Chuanxinlian.
It is a common plant in Thailand; you will find it in many gardens and capsules in pharmacies.
Property of the Andrographis Paniculata
In 1919, when the Spanish flu was ravaging the world, Andrographis Paniculata was successfully used to contain the epidemic in India.
This is the plant to have in case of a flu outbreak !
Andrographis Paniculata is a very bitter plant; it is due to the presence of andrographolide and very similar molecules such as deoxyandrographolide and neoandrographolide.
These molecules have recently been studied in Asia and are known to be:
Anti-inflammatory, free radical trap. Many of their pharmacological properties are related to this ability to neutralize highly reactive chemical radicals that damage or destroy cells.
Anti-microbial and anti-viral, useful to fight respiratory infections such as influenza, colds, bronchitis…
Acute anti-diarrhea (colibacillosis), used to reduce symptoms of ulcerative colitis (a chronic disorder of the colon and rectum).
Strengthen immune defenses. The anti-infective power of Andrographis paniculata is undoubtedly more the consequence of an increase in the body’s defenses than of action on the agents of infection.
Anti-diabetes (type 2) studies mainly carried out on animals.
Prevention of cancerous degeneration or slowing down the development of cancer (possibly by an anti-angiogenic effect): including prostate cancer, colon cancer, and bronchopulmonary cancer.
Protection of liver cells: in case of chemical or viral aggression, hepatitis, cirrhosis. – Andrographolide and certain closely related compounds (Dehydroandrographolide) are being studied and tested in China to fight against some difficult-to-treat cancers such as gliomas (brain cancer).
Side Effects & Safety
Pregnancy and breast-feeding:
Andrographis is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy.
There is a concern that it might cause miscarriages.
Not enough is known about the safety of Andrographis during breast-feeding.
Stay on the safe side, and avoid using Andrographis if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
“Auto-immune diseases” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions:
Andrographis might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases.
If you have one of these conditions, it’s best to avoid using Andrographis.
Andrographis might slow blood clotting. This might increase the risk of bleeding or bruising in people with bleeding disorders.
The Paniculata Andrographis in traditional medicine
Andrographis has been used for hundreds of years to treat fever and respiratory infections.
In traditional Ayurvedic medicine
It is used to stimulate appetite, biliary function, and digestion, as well as to treat gastrointestinal disorders.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine
It is used to rid the body of excess heat and toxins, including those in the lungs, throat, and urinary tract.
The studies on Andrographis Paniculata
In February 2004, the authors of a review of 4 double-blind trials concluded that angiography, alone or in combination with Eleutherococcus, is more effective than a placebo in treating uncomplicated respiratory infections.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, 107 subjects were followed for three months. Those who took an andrographic extract (Kan Jang®, 200 mg daily) were half as likely to develop a cold as those taking a placebo.
Traditional uses: bacillary dysentery and acute diarrhea
WHO mentions two studies in which the plant is as effective as conventional drugs in treating bacillary dysentery and severe diarrhea.
Tests conducted on animals indicate that the plant has hepatoprotective properties (liver diseases).
Source: passeportsante.net; www.phytomania.com; wikipedia.org; Photo: H. Zell