Amber's Organics LLC Medical Herb Seed A-Z > Andrographis paniculata.
Andrographis paniculata.

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Andrographis paniculata, (AP), also known commonly as "King of Bitters," is a member of the plant family Acanthaceae, and has been used for centuries in Asia to treat GI tract and upper respiratory infections, fever, herpes, sore throat, and a variety of other chronic and infectious diseases. It is found in the Indian Pharmacopoeia and is the prominent in at least 26 Ayurvedic formulas; whereas in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Andrographis is an important "cold property" herb: it is used to rid the body of heat, as in fevers, and to dispel toxins from the body. In Scandinavian countries, it is commonly used to prevent and treat common colds. Research conducted in the '80's and '90's has confirmed that Andrographis, properly administered, has a surprisingly broad range of pharmacological effects, some of them extremely beneficial:

  • Abortifacient (can abort pregnancy... although ayurvedic tradition allows it to be taken for short duration during pregnancy. We advise all women to avoid its use during pregnancy as a precaution. In almost every other respect Andrographis has an extremely low toxicity.)
  • Acrid (hot: in this case, slightly rubifacient to the skin)
  • Analgesic (pain killer)
  • Anti-inflammatory (reduces swelling and cuts down exudation from capillaries... antiflammatory action probably mediated, in part, by adrenal function)
  • Antibacterial (fights bacterial activity... although Andrographis appears to have weak direct antibacterial action, it has remarkably beneficial effect in reducing diarrhea and symptoms arising from bacterial infections.)
  • Antiperiodic (counteracts periodic/intermittent diseases, such as malaria)
  • Antipyretic (fever reducer - both in humans and animals, caused by multiple infections or by toxins)
  • Antithrombotic (blood clot preventative)
  • Antiviral (inhibits viral activity)
  • Cancerolytic (fights, even kills, cancer cells)
  • Cardioprotective (protects heart muscles)
  • Choleretic (alters the properties and flow of bile)
  • Depurative (cleans and purifies the system, particularly the blood)
  • Digestive (promotes digestion)
  • Expectorant (promotes mucus discharge from the respiratory system)
  • Hepatoprotective (protects the liver and gall bladder)
  • Hypoglycemic (blood sugar reducer)
  • Immune Enhancement (increases white cell phagocytosis, inhibits HIV-1 replication, and improves CD4+ and T lymphocyte counts)
  • Laxative (aids bowel elimination)
  • Sedative (a relaxing herb, though not with the same effect as the accepted herbal sedatives: valerian root, hops, skullcap, etc.)
  • Thrombolytic (blood clot buster)
  • Vermicidal (kills intestinal worms)


A brief history: Andrographis paniculata has a long history of reported successful use in various Asian cultures --It is found through Chinese medicinal literature, modern and ancient; it is prominently listed in the Indian Pharmacopoeia. A member of the Acanthaceae plant family, it is also widely used in Scandinavian countries to treat and even prevent common colds. 

Chemical Components & Their Effects: We know that Andrographis contains compounds that are analgesic (kills pain), antithrombotic (prevents blood clots), thrombolytic (breaks up blood clots), hypoglycemic (reduces blood sugar), and antipyretic (reduces fever). So, most of Andrographis' traditional uses have a scientific basis. Its most significant physiological effect is that of a "signal transducer," that is, it stops the unregulated cell growth caused by viruses (which may be why HIV sufferers are reported to show improvement with its regular use). Its most active component is andrographolide (see empirical formula at left), a colorless, bitter crystalline compound. Termed a "diterpene lactone" to describe its ringlike structure, this substance accumulates primarily in the brain, spleen, heart, and lungs. It is absorbed and excreted from the body quickly: 80% is removed within eight hours; 90%, within forty-eight hours.


Effects on Cancer: Andrographis is a potent stimulator of immune response through two mechanisms: (1) antigen-specific response, that is, where antibodies are made to counteract an invading microorganism, and (2) nonspecific immune response, where the body's macrophage cells scavenge and destroy intruders. These mechanisms make Andrographis effective against a variety of infectious and cancer-causing agents.

 

5o seeds.