Andrographis (Andrographis paniculate)
Andrographis paniculata is a bitter-tasting annual plant prevalent in much of Asia and has been used in traditional Asian medicine to treat infectious diseases and fevers.
Andrographis exhibits antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and immunostimulating properties. Either alone or in combination with other herbs, andrographis has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of upper respiratory infections such as those associated with the common cold or flu. Andrographis extract may benefit patients with ulcerative colitis. It also reduced symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. However, patients should use caution before using this herb as it may interact with many drugs. Andrographis is promoted in supplemental form for cancer prevention, cancer treatment, and to counter chemotherapy toxicity in humans. Formulations containing standardized extracts of andrographis are also marketed for colds and flu.
The herb contains several beneficial compounds including flavonoids, diterpenoids, and polyphenols. The most bioactive component is a diterpenoid called andrographolide. This is also the compound that has been studied most extensively because of its potential anti-cancer effect.
In vitro and animal studies indicate that andrographis has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, and antimetastatic properties.
Kan Jang, a standardized extract of Andrographis paniculata and Eleutherococcus senticosus, has been studied in manufacturer-sponsored clinical trials for the relief of respiratory symptoms from cold and flu. An andrographis extract was found useful in treating symptoms of upper respiratory infection. A few meta-analyses suggest possible benefits with A. paniculata to reduce cough frequency and severity.
Andrographis has also been evaluated for ulcerative colitis. In one trial, those receiving A. paniculata extract at higher doses were more likely to achieve a clinical response compared with placebo. Another study found it as effective as mesalamine in treating ulcerative colitis. In other preliminary studies, andrographis extracts reduced rheumatoid factors and relieved rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. In patients with modest hypertriglyceridemia, a high dose andrographis extract reduced triglyceride levels in a manner comparable to gemfibrozil. In preclinical cancer studies, andrographolide exhibited activity against multiple myeloma stem cells, reversed 5-FU resistance in human colorectal cancer cells, and modulated P-glycoprotein-mediated multidrug resistance.
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