What is Andrographis?
Also known as "Indian echinacea," andrographis (Andrographis paniculata) is an herb long used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. The popular Scandinavian cold remedy Kan Jang contains standardized extracts of both andrographis and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus).
Uses of Andrographis
In herbal medicine, andrographis is typically used to treat the following conditions:
Andrographis is also said to act as a natural immune-booster.
Benefits of Andrographis
Studies suggest that andrographis may aid in the treatment of these health problems:
1) Respiratory Infections
In a research review published in 2004, scientists sized up seven clinical trials (with a total of 896 participants) and found that andrographis is superior to placebo in alleviating symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.
Kan Jang may help reduce the severity and duration of the flu, according to a 2003 study. When compared to 469 patients using the conventional antiviral medication amantadine, 71 study members using Kan Jang experienced about three fewer days of flu symptoms and were less likely to progress to complicated influenza.
Since flu can lead to serious complications (including pneumonia), it's important to seek medical help if you're experiencing flu symptoms (such as muscle aches, fatigue, and high fever).
A study published in 2002 shows that Kan Jang may help relieve the inflammation associated with sinusitis. For the study, 185 individuals took either a placebo or Kan Jang in treatment of acute upper respiratory tract infections (including sinusitis). Results indicated that Kan Jang may help soothe headache and nasal and throat symptoms. However, cough and eye symptoms didn't differ significantly between the two groups.
Is Andrographis Safe?
Although andrographis is generally considered safe, it may trigger adverse effects like headache, fatigue, allergic reactions, nausea, and diarrhea.
Anyone using medications (including blood-thinning drugs, blood pressure medicines, and chemotherapy drugs) should consult a physician before using andrographis.
How to Use Andrographis
Available in capsule and tincture form, andrographis can be found at most health food stores.
Coon JT, Ernst E. "Andrographis paniculata in the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections: a systematic review of safety and efficacy." Planta Med. 2004 70(4):293-8.
Gabrielian ES, Shukarian AK, Goukasova GI, Chandanian GL, Panossian AG, Wikman G, Wagner H. "A double blind, placebo-controlled study of Andrographis paniculata fixed combination Kan Jang in the treatment of acute upper respiratory tract infections including sinusitis." Phytomedicine 2002 9(7):589-97.
Kulichenko LL, Kireyeva LV, Malyshkina EN, Wikman G. "A randomized, controlled study of Kan Jang versus amantadine in the treatment of influenza in Volgograd." J Herb Pharmacother. 2003;3(1):77-93.