Andrographis Paniculata is known for its ability to fight infections; potentially cancer cells.

If you are not taking this herb, you might want to be. This little-known herb carries an array of powerful properties against microbes, malaria, parasites, and cancer. It’s great for the common cold. But did you know that it might also enhance your cognitive abilities and skin collagen formation? Learn about the amazing uses of this herb.

What is Andrographis?

History of Andrographis

Andrographis Paniculata, known as ‘The King of Bitters,’ is traditionally used in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine.

It is prized for its anti-bacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, but is most commonly used for lesser issues such as the common cold, sinus infections, general inflammation, pain, and detoxification [12].


Andrographis contains three major categories of extracts diterpenoids, flavonoids, and polyphenols [2].

Andrographolide (a diterpenoid) is the most bioactive and most extensively studied extract with diverse anti-cancer effects [3, 4].

The leaves are traditionally used more than the rest of the plant and contain anywhere from 0.5% and 6% Andrographolide content [5, 2].

Both the herb as a whole and its specific extracts have been proven beneficial with many health concerns [2].

Andrographis and Inflammation

More recent research is bringing to light its benefits in treating cancer through its anti-inflammatory effects, as well as its ability to kill cancer cells [2].

Based on my self-experiments, Andrographis is one of the most potent anti-inflammatories.

This is validated by science. Out of 20 plants, Andrographis inhibited IL-1b the most and was more potent than dexamethasone [6].



  • It is potent against a wide variety of infections.
  • Excellent for healing the gut.
  • It’s strongly anti-cancer.
  • It’s an antioxidant and anti-aging.
  • It is strongly anti-inflammatory.
  • It can be beneficial for those with arthritis.
  • It helps address metabolic syndrome.


  • Potentially lowers blood pressure.
  • Can cause nausea if you take too much.
  • Doesn’t taste good if it’s not in a capsule.
  • May not be good for those trying to conceive.

Health Benefits of Andrographis

1) A Potent Anti-Microbial


Andrographis shows activity against both S. Aureus, and drug-resistant S. Aureus (MRSA). MRSA is typically associated with life-threatening bloodstream infections, pneumonia and surgical site infections (7].

Andrographis showed activity against P. aeruginosa, a multidrug-resistant pathogen responsible for serious illnesses associated with pneumonia and sepsis (7].

Andrographolide is potent against tuberculosis by targeting the Mycobacterium [8, 9].

Mice given a Salmonella vaccine in conjunction with Andrographis resulted with a significantly enhanced Salmonella-specific antibody response [10].

Andrographis has been used to treat Weil’s disease (a relative of Leprosy). Results were comparable with antibiotic treatment (Nitrofurantoin) only with fewer side effects [9].


Two Andrographis extracts (Andrographolide & didehydroandrographolide) show anti-viral properties against herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) [11].


Andrographis show significant properties against Giant roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides) typically infecting humans (in vitro) [12].

Several different forms of Andrographis extract significantly or completely inhibit the Malaria parasite (in-vitro+in-vivo) [1314].

May Not Be Effective Against All Pathogens

Andrographis has not been shown to be effective against E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Salmonella, Shigella, A. streptococci, and S. aureus (in-vivo) (15, 16, 7].

Several studies testing Andrographis against S. Aureus and MRSA show conflicting results.

2) Helps With the Common Cold and Upper Respiratory Infections

Andrographis works as a preventative against the common cold [17, 18].

Andrographis reduces all symptoms of the common cold including earaches, headaches, cough, fever, and fatigue (dosing was 100mg Andrographis 2X daily for 5 days at 31.3% Andrographolide) [19, 17, 18].

1,200 mg of Andrographis for 4 days reduced all measured symptoms of the common cold by the 2nd day [19].

Andrographis is a safe and effective treatment for Children against the common cold [20].

In a comparison study, Andrographis performed better than Echinacea when treating children with the common cold. The group receiving Andrographis had considerably less congestion and nasal secretion [20].

Andrographis was effective at reducing inflammation in both the tonsils and pharynx at doses of 3 – 6 g [19].

Doses of 6 g Andrographis in the treatment of tonsil and pharynx inflammation was as effective as acetaminophen (Tylenol). Some side effects were noticed in ~20% of the group, although notably minimal [19].

Andrographis is effective in the treatment of sinus infections [21].

Treating upper respiratory tract infections (URTI’s), pills (powered plant) of Andrographis are slightly more effective at concentrations of 88% than tablets (water extract) at 61% [9].

Andrographolide specifically used as pre-treatment acts as a preventative against cigarette smoke-induced lung injury [22].

3) Helps the Gut

Andrographis is suggested as potential as a therapeutic in treating inflammatory bowel disease [23].

Andrographis abolished the signs and symptoms of colitis in mice [23].

Adults treated with 1,200 – 1,800 mg Andrographis with mild-to-moderate colitis had a significantly higher positive response over placebo [24].

In the same study, the group taking the 1,800 mg dose had a much higher mucosal healing rate over the 1,200mg and placebo groups [24].

Andrographis ethanol extract has been shown to cure 88.3% percent of acute bacillary dysentery and 91.3% percent of acute gastroenteritis cases [9].

Andrographolide extract may accelerate small intestinal digestion and absorption of carbohydrates by activating intestinal disaccharidases (maltase, sucrase, lactase) [25].

4) A Potent Anti-Cancer Agent

Andrographolide is able to regulate 939 genes involved with anti-cancer promoting benefits [26].

Andrographolide exerts direct anticancer activity on many types of cancer cells in test tubes by inhibiting cancer cell duplication and cell division [27].

Pre-treatment with Andrographolide significantly enhances the efficacy of some drugs toxic to various tumors in the body (TRAIL) [28, 29].

Andrographolide is a potent suppressant of tumor tissue growth [1].

Andrographolide through mitochondrial pathways is able to inhibit cancer cell growth and promote cancer cell death [30].

Andrographolide has been shown to increase the cytotoxic activity of white blood cells against cancer cells [27].

Colon Cancer

In drug-resistant colon and rectal cells, Andrographolide is able to enhance the toxicity of certain chemotherapy drugs such as 5-fluorouracil, adriamycin, and cisplatin [31].

Andrographolide is a potent growth and multiplication inhibitor in colon cancer cells [32].

Andrographis has been shown to slow the growth of polyps in the colon, which is typically associated with increased colon cancer risk [33].


Andrographolide induces breast cancer cell death (by increasing p53) [34].

In mice transplanted with tumors, Andrographolide was associated in a crucial early step in the suppression of tumor growth and proliferation [35].

Blood Cancer

Andrographolide exhibits a high degree of cytotoxicity in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia [30].

Andrographolide reduces the proliferation of cells and increased cell death of Multiple Myeloma (cancer of the white blood cell) [36].

Skin Cancer

Andrographolide is active against melanoma skin cancer in vitro [27].

Andrographolide showed dose-dependent suppression of melanoma tumor growth in mice. Suppression was reached at 36% with 100 mg/kg, and up to 52% with 200 mg/kg dose [27].

Andrographolide was able to slow the growth and multiplication of skin cancer cells (A431, M14, UACC62) in humans [27].

Brain Cancer

Andrographolide inhibits the proliferation of human glioblastoma [37].

Lung Cancer

Andrographolide has been shown to inhibit the growth and reproduction of six tested lung cancer cells, and can also suppress the MMP2 enzyme, which is associated with a poor prognosis in lung cancer [27, 26].

As a pre-treatment, Andrographolide possesses antioxidant properties against cigarette smoke-induced lung injury [22].

Kidney Cancer

Andrographolide has been shown to inhibiting growth and reproduction of two kidney cancer cells lines [27].

Pancreatic Cancer

Andrographis shows preferential cytotoxicity against human pancreatic cancer cell lines [38].

5) Helps With Arthritis

Andrographis is viewed as a ‘natural complement’ in traditional treatments against rheumatoid arthritis [39].

Andrographis does not appear to reduce pain significantly but does reduce the number and intensity of swollen joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis [39].

When paired with a popular anti-arthritic drug (etoricoxib), Andrographis (200 mg/kg) showed a significant synergistic reduction in arthritis activity [40].

In this same arthritis study, Andrographis + Etoricoxib was more synergistic and effective in a reduction of symptoms than andrographolide + Etoricoxib [40].

Andrographis is associated with a reduction rheumatoid factors IgA and C4 [39].

6) Helps the Brain

Andrographis has shown to lower chronic inflammation in the brains of mice [41].

Andrographis is highly effective against diabetes-associated cognitive deficits in rats. It does this by reducing acetylcholinesterase and oxidative stress in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex [42].

7) May Reduce Premature Skin Aging

Topical application of Andrographis suppressed UV-induced skin thickness, elasticity, wrinkles, and water content [43].

Topical application in mouse models increases skin collagen content by 53.17% and decreased UV-induced disruption of collagen and elastic fibers [43].

8) Andrographis is Anti-inflammatory

Andrographis and several of its diterpenoid extracts can significantly inhibit inflammatory markers (NF-kB, TNF-α, IL-6, MIP-2, NO).

Out of 20 plants, Andrographis inhibited IL-1b the most and was more potent than dexamethasone [6].

Mice with induced acute inflammation had significantly higher survival rates taking Andrographis [41].

9) Works Against Hyperglycemia, Insulin, and Blood Triglycerides

Andrographolide has been shown to improve hyperglycemia and insulin deficiency in diabetic rat models [42].

Andrographis can be used as alternative medicine in treating patients with moderately high levels of blood triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia) [44].

When paired with a lifestyle intervention, 300 mg/day Andrographis reduced triglyceride levels with the same tolerance and efficacy of a prescription drug (gemfibrozil) [44].

10) Helps the Liver

Andrographis protects the liver against toxins that cause damage (carbon tetrachloride) [45].

Andrographolide preserved 55% of liver cells with Tylenol (acetaminophen) induced toxicity in rats [46].

Andrographis prevents liver cirrhosis in rats. Doses of 500 mg/kg normalized reactive oxygen species, inhibited cell proliferation, and induced cell death of problematic cells [47].

A water extract of Andrographis has been shown to significantly increase liver anti-oxidant defense systems (SOD, Catalaseglutathione), and reduced lactate dehydrogenase [9, 48].

On the other hand, Andrographolide dosed at 15 – 30 mg in healthy HIV positive patients was associated with an increase in liver enzymes that are associated with liver damage (AST and ALT) [49].

11) Helps the Blood

Andrographolide may be beneficial in the treatment of blood clotting disorders, by its ability to reduce platelets [50].

12) Works as an Anti-Oxidant

Andrographolide in mice significantly inhibits free radical formation (superoxide and nitric oxide), completely inhibits carrageenan-induced inflammation [48].


Andrographis, at 1,000 mg twice daily for 5 days following kidney stone treatment displayed similar potency to prescription antibiotics by reducing the presence of pus, blood and protein in the urine [51].

Ten cases of viper bites were reportedly cured in 3 – 5 days by a compound formula that had Andrographis as the chief constituent [9].

Supplementing with Andrographis

The standard dose of Andrographis basic root extract ranges widely from 20 – 6,000 mg, although the 2,000 – 6,000 range is typical for the treatment of the common cold.

Interesting notes on the Bioavailability of Andrographis

Increasing the dose 10X in one study decreased bioavailability by 4X in rat models. With 55% of the extract being bound by blood proteins, only a limited amount can enter the cells [52].

In mouse models of acute inflammation, doses of 0.78 mg/kg to 6.25mg/kg inhibited inflammatory markers. However, a dose of 6.25 mg/kg did not provide survival value, while lower doses did. The lower dose (0.78 mg/kg) lowered inflammation the most [41].

This goes to show you that not necessarily more is better.

Safety and Toxicity

Andrographis is relatively well tolerated, with typically few symptoms. A few studies have noted up to 20% reported symptoms, but the symptoms were generally minimal, mild and infrequent [53, 18, 19].

In rats treated for Salmonella, doses as high as 5,000 mg/kg showed no observed toxicity [54].

One study involving HIV patients reported headaches, fatigue, rash, diarrhea, pruritus (dosing 10 – 20 mg/kg). The trial was interrupted mid-way due to adverse events including an anaphylactic reaction in one patient. This being one of the few reports of such symptoms on this dosage marker, makes one wonder if there was not something else coming into play within this trial [49].

Tests for acute and subchronic toxicities have demonstrated that this herb has a very high safety margin with the median lethal dose over 17 g/kg) (55).


Andrographis Potentially Lowers Blood Pressure

The consumption of Andrographis has been shown to reduce pressure in the veins and decrease the pulse in the hearts of rats, which suggests it may be responsible for causing low blood pressure in some patients taking this herb [3].

Andrographis May Damage the Blood-Brain Barrier

Although being widely reported as having anti-inflammatory and antitumorigenic properties, a cell-based study has shown that Andrographis may disrupt the blood-brain barrier integrity as a consequence of direct damage (growth inhibition and death) to cerebral endothelial cells [56].

Reproductive Contraindications

It may be prudent to abstain from using Andrographis if you’re looking to conceive.

Contraindications for Females

Feeding sun-dried Andrographis powder to female mice at a dose of 2 g/kg/day for 6 weeks, then mating them with untreated males of proven fertility, inhibited pregnancy in 100% of the tested animals [57].

It has also been reported that administration of Andrographis resulted in abortion in pregnant rabbits. Moreover, the herb is reported to suppress the growth of the human placental chorionic cells (in vitro) [58, 59].

Contraindications for Males is Conflicting

Andrographis has shown to reduce Male fertility in Winstar rats (60).

Dry leaf powder of Andrographis dosed at 20 mg/day for 60 days caused sperm production to stop, and generally altered the health of the male reproductive organs (61).

Administration of 50 mg/kg andrographolide to male mice once daily up to 8 weeks had no significant effects on sperm quality. During week four, blood testosterone levels actually increased compared to controls [62].

Doses of 1,000 mg/kg Andrographis (6.1% Andrographolide) for 60 days in male rats failed to show testicular toxicity [63, 64].

Rats given up to 1,000 mg/day Andrographis (10.9% Andrographolide), for 60 days prior to mating and 21 days during mating, found total sperm count and sperm motility were unaffected, and fertility was comparable to the untreated control group [64].

Buy Andrographis Supplements

I like these Andrographis supplements, as they give you a good amount of andrographolide and other constituents of the herbs.

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