Andrographis paniculata – aerial parts
Andrographis, commonly known as the ‘king of bitters’ and ‘Indian echinacea’, is used in Ayurveda to treat gastrointestinal upsets and as immune support for bacterial and viral respiratory tract infections such as influenza, colds, pneumonia, fever, sore throats and bronchitis. Constituents in andrographis have antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activity.
Primary: bitter tonic, choleretic (dose dependent), immune stimulating.
Secondary: antipyretic, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet, antioxidant.
- Loss of appetite, sluggish liver, flatulence, indigestion, fatigue.
- Relief of mild fever.
- Relief of cold and flu, sore throat.
- Relief of mild diarrhoea.
- Often combined with aromatics or warming herbs, such as ginger.
Immensely bitter (note English name, ‘King of Bitters’), supports the functions of the gallbladder which in turn supports the liver. Shown to have free radical scavenging and mitochondrial protective activity as an antioxidant, with the most affinity for the kidney and liver tissues.
Andrographis, known as King of bitters, or Kalmegh in India, and Chuan-Xin-Lian in China, is a major traditional herb throughout Asia. Isolated andorgrapholides have been developed as an antiviral medicine for injections. The Swedish Herbal Institute, with the help of leading expert on adaptogens, Prof Panossian, developed and clinically tested the preparation known as Kan Jang consisting of andrographis, echinacea and eleuthero for the common cold and influenza. In the last few years there have been reports of allergic reactions to andrographis. The great majority of these have been from methanol or highly concentrated extracts (14-19:1). The TGA Safety review of Andrographis paniculata and anaphylactic / allergic reactions from 2015 provides further information, but no details of the individual adverse events reports and no conclusive evidence is provided. Pharmacological investigations have shown andrographis to have anti-inflammatory, antiallergic and hepatoprotective properties.
Contra-indications and Cautions
Not for use during pregnancy or lactation. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.
- Andrographis may cause allergic reactions in some people. If you have a severe reaction (such as anaphylaxis) stop use and seek immediate medical attention.
- Avoid during early pregnancy.
- Professional supervision is suggested for mid to late pregnancy and lactation.
- Caution in peptic ulcer and hyperacidity.
- Andrographis may cause taste disturbance including loss of taste. If you develop any adverse symptoms, stop use and seek medical attention.