Ingredient spotlight: Andrographis

Sunday, February 1, 2009
Image: Getty
With a reputation as 'King of the bitters', andrographis is an Ayurvedic herb used to nip cold symptoms — such as fever, sore throats and coughs — in the bud, writes naturopath Lucy Canning.

The story so far…
Andrographis paniculata is a powerful medicinal herb that's been used for hundreds of years in many traditional Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic treatments.

Andrographis is believed to have helped halt the spread of the 1919 flu epidemic in India. It's now being used more widely in the West, particularly in Scandinavia and the US, specifically to manage cold symptoms naturally.

What is it good for?
Andrographis helps relieve common cold symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, sore throat, coughs and colds. A big plus is that it also aids recovery.

Andrographolide, the major active constituent of andrographis, works by helping to ease fevers, lessen inflammation and stimulate the immune system. Because of its intense bitterness, tablet form is often the most pleasant way to take andrographis.

It's advisable to take andrographis at the first sign of a cold for symptom relief, but good news — it can be effective against symptoms even if the treatment starts several days after the onset of the cold.

Fast fact
Andrographolide stimulates phagocytes which are like little vacuum cleaner cells that engulf and digest bacteria and worn out cells.

Andrographis at a glance

  • Relieves fever, the common cold, sore throat and cough
  • Helps dispel diarrhoea and gas
  • Aids appetite (which often drops when you have a cold)

1. Braun L. & Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements, An evidence-based guide, 2nd Edition, Elsevier, Australia, 2007, p144.
2. ARTG Claim File Blackmores.
3. Mills S. & Bone K. Principles & Practice of Phytotherapy, Modern Herbal Medicine, Churchill Livingstone, UK, 2000; 262.

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