Much of our modern medicine and the drugs we rely on every day and throughout our lives are based on traditional remedies – and science is proving that many of these ancient approaches to healing do indeed continue to have merit in the modern world of advanced medicine.
Nature itself is the basis of so many of the medicines we commonly use today, even though most medicines, supplements, and drugs in Australia are carefully formulated and created in pharmacological laboratories.
Everything from aspirin to strong painkillers, cardiac medications, diabetes medicines, and many more medications are based on and crafted from specific plants.
- Aspirin was originally derived from Willow bark.
- Digitalis (a heart medication) is derived from Foxglove.
- Metformin (used in diabetes management) is a synthetic derivative of French Lilac.
- Opiate painkillers are derived from Poppy.
One effective natural supplement that has been used for millennia and is still used widely and effectively today is Andrographis, the benefits of which continue to be scientifically studied and medically supported.
What is Andrographis?
Also known as Indian Echinacea, Green Chiretta, Chuan Xin Lian, Kalmegh, Bile of the Earth, and King of Bitters, Andrographis is a herb that’s commonly used in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic Indian medicine. The plant is native to India, Sri Lanka, and some other South Asian countries. It is a shrub that grows to a metre tall and it has white and purple flowers. The plant is very bitter to taste.
Traditionally, the plant’s roots, leaves, and stems were used to make medicinal powders, pastes, juices, tinctures, and teas. These were ingested or applied to the skin to treat everything from eczema to wound infections, sexually transmitted infections, and intestinal worms.
This medicinal herb is related to the Chinese violet and has been used for six thousand years; since the very beginning of Ayurvedic medicine in India. Andrographis was even credited with ending the Indian flu epidemic of 1919. Even today, more than 70% of the people in India still turn to Ayurvedic medicine for overall wellness, recovery, and better health.
The leaves may be used fresh or dried, or the entire plant may be juiced for use as a medicine.
Alternatively, Andrographis is available in supplement form, often as an active ingredient in an Immunity Booster.
The Benefits of Andrographis
The Andrographis plant may have a role to play in stimulating the immune system, which is a system of glands, organs, nodes, and vessels throughout the body which work to keep us healthy. The immune system includes the bone marrow, white blood cells, tonsils, adenoids, appendix, spleen, thymus gland, lymph nodes and lymph vessels.
Andrographis has been scientifically studied for its benefits in helping to treat upper respiratory infections (including colds and influenza). It is used traditionally in the treatment of fevers and infectious diseases. It is also believed that Andrographis may help prevent particles of influenza viruses from binding to the body’s cells.
Lab-based research has identified that Andrographis has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-diabetic, antioxidant, immune-boosting, and even anti-cancer properties.
Andrographis may be beneficial for:
- Supporting healthy immune function and fighting infection.
- Supporting healthy liver function.
- Reducing inflammation and alleviating allergies caused by histamine sensitivity.
- Enhancing gall bladder function and increasing bile flow.
- Promoting healthier breathing.
- Relieving the symptoms, duration, and severity of the common cold and flu, including cough. Andrographis may be used with or instead of vitamin C.
- Alleviating fever and sore throat and treating pharyngitis and tonsillitis.
- Helping treat sinus infections.
- Strengthening the gut and improving digestive function.
- Helping alleviate the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis.
- May help improve metabolic syndrome, renal disease, cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol, and help prevent or treat diarrhoea.
- Used with caution, it may be somewhat beneficial for helping to alleviate the symptoms and severity of inflammatory conditions including uncreative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Furthermore, initial lab studies suggest that the plant may offer significant antioxidant and anticancer benefits; this is yet to be tested in human subjects.
What You Need to Know
- The Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods lists around one hundred medicines containing Andrographis.
- As for any other supplement, there is a possibility that Andrographis may interact with other medications – so if you are taking medicines or have a health condition, seek advice from your doctor before you begin taking Andrographis.
- Andrographis should not be used without medical supervision and approval if you take medicines to lower blood pressure, blood thinners or drugs to prevent blood clots, chemotherapy drugs, certain asthma drugs, certain sedatives or antidepressants, diabetes drugs, and certain strong painkillers.
- Andrographis should not be used during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
- Check with your doctor if you have an autoimmune disease (e.g., multiple sclerosis, lupus, etc) before you take this supplement.
It’s important to take any supplement strictly according to the dosage instructions on the bottle or package, or according to your doctor’s instructions. This will help you avoid any possible mild side effects.
To boost your immune system, recover from colds and flu more quickly, and feel generally better and more vital, consider giving Andrographis a try!