Also known as “Indian echinacea,” andrographis (Andrographis paniculata) is an herb long used in traditional Chinese medicine and ayurveda. A bitter-tasting herb, andrographis is rich in compounds known as andrographolides, which are thought to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antioxidant properties. Available in capsule and tincture form, andrographis can be found at most health food stores.
Uses for Andrographis
Andrographis is often used for the following conditions:
- Ulcerative colitis
Andrographis is also said to act as a natural immune-booster.
The Benefits of Andrographis
So far, scientific support for the potential benefits of andrographis is limited. Preliminary studies suggest that andrographis may offer some health benefits:
Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
In a research review published in 2017, scientists sized up 33 previously published clinical trials and found that andrographis appears to be beneficial for relieving symptoms of acute upper respiratory tract infections when compared to other herbs, standard care, or a placebo. Andrographis was also found to shorten the duration of cough, sore throat, and sick days compared to standard care.
The researchers, however, noted that the overall quality of studies was poor and that well-designed clinical trials are needed.
For a review published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, researchers analyzed 21 previously published studies on the use of herbal remedies in the treatment of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. For ulcerative colitis, andrographis extract was considered superior to a placebo in inducing remission or a response.
Andrographis may help to reduce fatigue in people with multiple sclerosis, according to a small study published in BMC Neurology. When compared to participants who took a placebo, those taking andrographis twice daily for 12 months had a significant reduction in fatigue severity. There was no difference in relapse rate, inflammatory measures, or disability status.