At the writing of this blog post, we’re at the beginning of 2021. And here I am, talking about Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata), an herb you’ve probably never heard of. Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata) is great for the common cold and other viruses, including the 2019 novel virus. It has, so far, been proven to have antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, choleretic, hypoglycemic, hypercholesterolemic, and adaptogenic effects. It is most notable for its ability to protect the liver. Animal studies have found andrographolide as protective or more protective than silymarin from milk thistle (Silybum marianum) against numerous hepatic injuries, such as acetaminophen-, ethanol-, and carbon tetrachloride (CCI4)-induced injuries. In the past, herbalists have recommended you take milk thistle for liver protection and healing, but we are quickly seeing Andrographis studies suggesting a greater effectiveness.
Let’s dive more into Andrographis, what it’s used for, the history of the herb, and the newest protocol out of Thailand for the 2019 novel virus. I’ll also show you how to make an Andrographis tincture at the end of this blog post.
Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata)
Common names: king of bitters, kalmegh (Bengali, Hindi, Unani), kirta or kirata (Sanskrit),kiryata (Hindi), creat, green chiretta, Indian chiretta, chirayta or chirayita desi (“southern chirata”), and hinbinkohomba (Sinhalese).
In Indian Ayurvedic medicine tradition it is called bhunimba and mahatikta(Sanskrit).
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it is known as chuan xin lian (“thread-the-heart lotus”), chuan-hsin-lien, or i-chien-hsi.
In Japanese medicine it is known as senshinren.
In Korean medicine it is known as ch’onsimyon.
Parts Used: leaves and flowers; roots (all parts have different uses, as seen below)
|Whole Plant||Snakebite and insect sting treatment, dyspepsia, influenza, dysentery, malaria and respiratory infections.|
|Leaf||Fever, colic pain, loss of appetite, irregular stools and diarrhea, common cold, cough, fever, hepatitis, tuberculosis, mouth ulcers, bronchitis gastro-intestinal disorder and sores.|
|Aerial part||Common cold, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, malaria and snakebite, urinary tract infection.|
|Root||Febrifuge, tonic, stomachic and anthelmintic.|
Andrographis is native to the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) and Sri Lanka, and it has been introduced to various different parts of the world. It grows successfully in zones 10 through 12. This plant is mostly grown and harvested in the wild, though there are some cultivation projects happening on a larger scale in India.
Andrographis has pretty incredible immune stimulating properties, so overall, it is one of the goto herbs for people wanting to support their immune system.
If you want to learn specifically about COVID-19 and Andrographis, scroll down.
But I encourage you to read about the whole herb and its properties first.
Andrographis isn’t a new herb by any means. There are many studies done on this herb, most of which have focused on the upper respiratory tract (URT) and common cold. Of course, as I mentioned previously, there are also promising studies of the protective benefits that Andrographis has on the liver. This is great for people who have liver damage, or who see the need to take fever and pain reducing drugs, such as acetaminophen.
Andrographis has been studied to be antiplatelet, antipyretic (fever reducer), anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, abortifacient, anti-protozoan, anti-microbial, a bitter tonic (herb that strengthens and tones specific organs or the entire body), choleretic (bile stimulator), a hepatoprotective agent, immunostimulant, and as an adaptogen. It is believed to protect against free radical damage, and to help normalize blood sugar.
Andrographis has traditionally been used for:
- atonic dyspepsia (indigestion with impaired stomach muscle tone)
- bowel conditions in children
- general debility
- loss of appetite
- poor liver function (including toxic liver damage and liver infections)
- to aid recuperation from fever
- respiratory and skin conditions
- acute and chronic cough
- sore throat
- snake bites
- infectious diseases
- purulent otitis media
- pustular dermatitis
In various European studies, Andrographis has been shown to have great effects on all types of upper respiratory tract (URT) infections. It was shown to offer significant throat symptom relief (such as inflammation and sore throat), and the efficacy was comparable to acetaminophen. This is a game changer, and one of the reasons this herb should highly be considered for the home apothecary.
The most common modern use for Andrographis is to prevent and treat the common cold. Much like elderberry, Andrographis inhibits viruses from replicating and attaching to cells. A double blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group clinical study was carried out to evaluate the effect of an Andrographis paniculata (N.) extract SHA-10 fixed combination, Kan Jang, in the treatment of acute upper respiratory tract infections, including sinusitis. This study was in combination with the standard treatment of echinacea (Echinacea spp.), in children 4 to 11 years of age. The children taking the herbal protocol had less severe symptoms, faster recovery, and needed significantly less standard medication.
There have also been studies showing the effectiveness of Andrographis in preventing influenza. In a 2010 study, Andrographis was shown to reduce respiratory, cold, and influenza symptoms by 52.7%. These symptoms included including cough, expectoration, nasal discharge, headache, fever, sore throat, malaise/fatigue, and sleep disturbance. Other studies done have shown that subjects recovered from symptoms (headache, throat pain, cough, and rhinitis) faster than groups not taking Andrographis. They also suffered fewer post-influenza complications, such as pneumonia. It was also report that Andrographis’s effects were consistent in patients with different types of influenza, rather than just one strain.
A root extract has shown to decrease systolic blood pressure. One extract was shown to inhibit platelet aggregation (or blood clots) in 63 patients with cardio- or cerebrovascular diseases. Within three hours, the effects were seen, with even more significant benefits after one week of treatment. This shows that it could be a promising herb for things such as myocardial infarction, ischemia, and after balloon angioplasty. Unfortunately, more studies should be done before making a broad statement that it absolutely can work for those issues.
At least two studies have shown that Andrographis has great healing effects on ulcerative colitis. A 2018 study showed that ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune response, and that andrographolide (a compound in Andrographis) inhibits the activation of IL-23/IL-17 axis and down-stream pro-inflammatory factors so as to suppress inflammation response, resulting in the reliving of ulcerative colitis.
Andrographis has shown great healing benefits for Rheumatoid Arthritis. If you notice the trend, this herb is great for autoimmune disorders. In a study done in 2009, all of the women in the study that received Andrographis experienced a significant reduction in tender joints, number of swollen joints, and total grade of tender joints. In a 2019 double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 103 patients, Andrographis paniculata standardized extract was effective and safe in reducing pain in individuals suffering from mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis.
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, two-armed cross-over clinical trial, a proprietary mixture of Andrographis paniculata and Withania somnifera extracts exhibited improved cognitive performance in elderly subjects with mild cognitive impairment. Subjects experienced significantly improved cognitive performance in the d2-Test for attention and the concentration performance test after four weeks’ treatment.
Andrographis Paniculata and SARS CoV-2
Perhaps the most exciting research on Andrographis is the promising ability to rid the body of SARS-COV-2— the 2019 novel virus. Phytochemicals from A. paniculata were shown to have potency against the Covid-19 virus, and evidenced its microscopic mechanism through rational computational modeling. Among the four phytochemicals, AGP3 has shown promising binding affinity towards all the four targets; namely, 3CLpro, PLpro, RdRp and spike protein with precise binding to the catalytic site required for inhibiting the targets in a therapeutic way.
But, in what seems to be the most promising study for Andrographis, we can see the study showed that both A. paniculata extract and its active component suggested that andrographolide (therefore, Andrographis) had potent inhibitory effect against SARS-CoV-2. Andrographis exhibited the equivalent IC50 against SARS-CoV-2 infection to remdesivir, a common drug being used during the covid-19 pandemic. Previous studies showed the structural proteins of SARS-CoV-2 as the mechanism of action. Enzyme-based assay and in silico modelling prediction showed andrographolide could inhibit the main protease (Mpro) activities of SARS-CoV-2 with the IC50 of 15 μM. Andrographolide has significant binding affinity towards spike glycoprotein of both SARS-CoV-2 and ACE2 receptor. In this study, andrographolide inhibited SARS-CoV-2 at the viral replication and viral release.
Andrographis must be taken within 72 hours of a confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2, or as soon as symptoms occur. This was the best time frame for the body to be the most receptive and responsive to the herb.
Finally, in an October 2020 study, the chemical constituents from turmeric—like cyclocurcumin and curcumin—and from Andrographis paniculata—like andrographolide and dihydroxy dimethoxy flavone—are significantly binding with the active site of SARS CoV-2 main protease with a Glide score of more than – 6 when compared to the currently used drugs hydroxychloroquine (- 5.47) and nelfinavir (- 5.93).
So, in other words, the most promising study for the case of Andrographis as an anti-viral botanical against SARS-CoV-2, also includes turmeric. This is very important, because both herbs are very effective anti-inflammatory substances. The study shows a significant ability for the virus to not bind to the cells in your body, and to also substantially lesson inflammation of the disease.
How to Make an Andrographis paniculata Tincture
In most of the studies, an A. paniculata extract or tincture was used. We can create our own tinctures for our home apothecary very efficiently. The studies mentioned in this post used a 1:4 ratio (herb:liquid). Here is a quick recipe to help for upper respiratory, common cold, influenza, and possibly the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
1 oz Andrographis paniculata leaf, dried (powdered is also fine)
.5 oz turmeric root, dried (powdered is also fine)
6 fl oz 100-proof vodka
1 glass mason jar
1 amber glass eyedropper bottle
- In a sterile glass mason jar (or any glass jar with a cap), add your weighed dried herbs. Make sure they are crushed enough so that your vodka will completely cover the herbs.
- Weigh your vodka and pour it into your jar with the herbs. Make sure all of the herbs are covered. Cap tightly, label, and place in a dark cabinet or pantry for 4 to 6 weeks.
- After the 4- to 6- week time has passed, strain the tincture into a new sterilized jar using a mesh strainer and muslin (or a very fine cloth). It’s best to do this twice so that you ensure all of the herbal powder is gone.
- Store your tincture in a glass amber bottle in a dark cabinet until ready to use.
Take 1 dropperful (or 20 to 30 drops) per day as a preventative. Or the same dose spread out over the course of a day to ease symptoms. A full 60 drops can be taken each day, but at 30 drops two separate times, or over the course of the entire day.
This dosage is based off of the weight of a 150 lb individual. For child dosage, please use Fried’s Rule.
Begin with the child’s age in months. Divide by 150, then multiply by the adult dose to arrive at the child’s dose.
Andrographis paniculata has the ability to cause spontaneous abortion because it can cause uterine contractions. It should be avoided if you are currently pregnant or trying to get pregnant. It should also be avoided if you are taking immune suppressing drugs (like that of organ transplant patients). It may also have the ability to interact with high blood pressure medication.
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REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Hovhannisyan AS, Abrahamyan H, Gabrielyan ES, Panossian AG. The effect of Kan Jang extract on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of warfarin in rats. Phytomedicine. 2006;13(5):318-323.
Chien CF, Wu YT, Lee WC, Lin LC, Tsai TH. Herb-drug interaction of Andrographis paniculata extract and andrographolide on the pharmacokinetics of theophylline in rats. Chem Biol Interact. 2010;184(3):458-465.
HerbalGram. 2015; American Botanical Council – http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue105/hg105-herbpro-andro.html
Saxena RC, Singh R, Kumar P, et al. A randomized double blind placebo controlled clinical evaluation of extract of Andrographis paniculata (KalmColdTM) in patients with uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection. Phytomed. 2010;10: 178-185.
Poolsup N, Suthisisang C, Prathanturarug S, Asawamekin A, Chanchareon U. Andrographis paniculata in the symptomatic treatment of uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection: systematic review of randomized controlled trials J Clin Pharm Ther. 2004;29:37-45.
Wilfried Dimpfel; et al.; 2020 Mar 14;13(3):45. doi: 10.3390/ph13030045. Effects of an Adaptogenic Extract on Electrical Activity of the Brain in Elderly Subjects with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Two-Armed Cross-Over Study.
Juan L Hancke; et al. 10.1002/ptr.6339. Epub 2019 Apr 10. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study to assess the efficacy of Andrographis paniculata standardized extract (ParActin®) on pain reduction in subjects with knee osteoarthritis.
Natarajan Arul Murugan; et al. 2020 Jun 16. doi: 10.1080/07391102.2020.1777901. Computational investigation on Andrographis paniculata phytochemicals to evaluate their potency against SARS-CoV-2 in comparison to known antiviral compounds in drug trials.
Khanit Sa-ngiamsuntorn; et al. December 8, 2020. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity of Andrographis paniculata extract and its major component Andrographolide in human lung epithelial cells and cytotoxicity evaluation in major organ cell representatives
Futur J Pharm Sci. 2020;6(1):104. doi: 10.1186/s43094-020-00126-x. Epub 2020 Oct 16. Activity of phytochemical constituents of Curcuma longa (turmeric) and Andrographis paniculata against coronavirus (COVID-19): an in silico approach
Asian Pac J Trop Dis. 2014 Jun; 4(3): 213–222. doi: 10.1016/S2222-1808(14)60509-0. Harnessing the medicinal properties of Andrographis paniculata for diseases and beyond: a review of its phytochemistry and pharmacology
Thailand Clears Use of Herbal Medicine for Covid-19 Treatment — https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/thailand-clears-use-of-herbal-medicine-for-covid-19-treatment/ar-BB1ckT4F?fbclid=IwAR0VI2zz_PJ0OPB-VBowSE43dYe2nQgAzU6c3DC7lNZEtNS0mKemLB-PyGA