Sanskrit Name: Kariyat
English Name: Indian echinacea
Family Name: Acanthaceae
Parts used: Leaves and other parts
Medicinal uses of Andrographis paniculata (Indian echinacea)
Andrographis paniculata possesses immuno-stimulant, aperients, anti-parasitic, tonic, anti-biotic and anti-viral activities. It is used for treating hepatitis B, HIV, flatulence, gastric acidity, bowel complaints and common cold.
Andrographis and its various components have demonstrated a variety of effects in the body. Some aspects stimulate the general immune activities, others inhibit the body's inflammatory mechanism and still others demonstrate not only anti-microbial abilities, but also are instrumental in killing certain tumor cells. Studies have also indicated that the active chemical, Andrographolide, helps to stop the clumping of blood platelets which is the clotting process that can lead to heart attacks.
Colds, Flu, Sinusitis: Andrographis compounds have shown antiviral properties which appear to inhibit glycoprotein's in the virus. This impedes the viruses ability to invade cells in the body and replicate. Also andrographolides are currently being studied for the antiviral effects they have on avian bird flu virus, ebola virus and HIV.
Andrographis has a major effect activating the general defense function of the immune system by stimulating the production of antibodies as well as non-specific immune responses such as increased macrophage phagocytosis, rather than by any direct anti-microbial activity.
Clinical studies have demonstrated its efficacy in healing colds, flu, sinusitis, pharyngotonsillitis, familial mediterranean fever and upper respiratory tract infections. It also has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of colds by 2.1 time and prevent flu and complications.
Anti-inflammatory: There appears to be a significant presence of flavanoids in the Andrographis Paniculata herb, which always have an anti-inflammatory affect. In vitro, studies have shown that the flavinoid activities supressed the genetic expression of neutrofils, an inflammatory agent. Similarly, studies have indicated that a variety of inflammatory proteins, including COX-2, are reduced by the presence of Andrographoloid.Anti-tumor: In vitro, andrographolide studies indicate an immuno-stimulating activity, as well as a marked inhibitory effect. Its presence increases proliferation of lymphocytes and production of interleukin2, TNF-alpha production and cytotoxic activity of lymphocytes against certain cancer cell lines, as well as demonstrating potential direct anti-cancer activity by the induction of cell-cycle inhibitory protein p27 and decreased expression of cyclin-dependent kinase.
Andrographis Paniculata Side Effects & Safety
Andrographis Paniculata has been widely tested and is considered safe with few if any minor side effects at commonly prescribed levels. In clinical trials with children between 4 and 11 Andrographis was effective and safe. Side effects occurred in HIV trials at a dose of 10 mg of andrographolides per kg of body weight or roughly 12 time the recommended dosage.
Pregnant women or those trying to conceive should avoid Andrographis, animal studies have shown the possibility of contraceptive effects at high dosages. Safety during lactation is not known. Andrographis may increase glucose metabolisation which could unduly enhance blood sugar lowering medication.
Use cautiously in patients taking anticoagulant agents