Principal Proposed Natural Uses
What Is Andrographis Used for Today?
Over the last decade, a proprietary extract of andrographis (currently sold in combination with eleutherococcus) has become popular in Scandinavia as a treatment for colds . It is beginning to become available in the United States as well. Reasonably good evidence tells us that either form of this extract can reduce the severity of cold symptoms. It may also help prevent colds.
What Is the Scientific Evidence for Andrographis?
By the end of the trial, only 16 people in the group using andrographis had experienced colds, compared to 33 of the placebo-group participants. This difference was statistically significant, indicating that andrographis reduces the risk of catching a cold by a factor of two as compared to placebo.
A typical dosage of andrographis is 400 mg 3 times a day. Doses as high as 1,000 to 2,000 mg 3 times daily have been used in some studies. Andrographis is usually standardized to its content of andrographolide, typically 4% to 6%. Note that virtually all published studies of andrographis have involved a single proprietary product. It is not clear that the results of these studies apply to products using different andrographis sources, or different methods of extraction.
Finally, if androphraphis does indeed stimulate the immune system, this would lead to a whole host of potential risks. The immune system is balanced on a knife edge. An immune system that is too relaxed fails to defend us from infections, but an immune system that is too active attacks healthy tissues, causing autoimmune diseases. A universal immune booster might cause or exacerbate lupus , Crohn’s disease , asthma , Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis , multiple sclerosis , and rheumatoid arthritis , among other illnesses.
Safety in young children, nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease has also not been established.
Also, because andrographis may stimulate gallbladder contraction, it should not be used by individuals with gallbladder disease except under physician supervision.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 09/2014 -
- Update Date: 09/18/2014 -