Let’s be real: should you trust a supplement that touts itself as an “all-in-one health solution,” boasting everything from the ability to protect your cardiovascular system to relieving the symptoms of the common cold? Surprisingly, the answer is yes—at least when that supplement is andrographis.
Andrographis may be the most powerful botanical you’ve never heard of. Though it’s been a staple in Ayurvedic medicine since ancient times, the popularity of this herbal wonder is just now gaining traction in the United States. People who are familiar with andrographis usually know about its immune-boosting abilities, but few are aware of how far its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties go. Like curcumin or boswellia, andrographis is one of nature’s great multitaskers, and it’s now opening doors to helping those with or at risk of ulcerative colitis, heart disease, arthritis, liver disease, and much more. It’s a must-have in the daily regimen of anyone looking for powerful support to enhance overall health and wellness.
Why It Works
How can one herb do so much? While andrographis provides a full spectrum of compounds shown to prevent or stop disease, the real secret lies in its key active component, called andrographolide. An effective andrographis supplement will be standardized to deliver clinically studied doses of andrographolide—the most powerful dose being 80 mg.
Cold and Flu Recovery
They say there’s no cure for the common cold, but andrographis may come close. When taken at the first sign of a cold or flu virus (think scratchy throat or a sinus headache), andrographis has the ability to stop nasty symptoms in their tracks. This powerful herb has been shown to be especially useful for those suffering with upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs). A study conducted in India focused on two groups of people with URTIs. One group was given a placebo, while the other group was given andrographis. The patients taking andrographis reported dramatic improvements in coughs, headaches, sore throats, and disturbed sleep patterns. So the next time you feel something coming on, pop some andrographis to decrease symptoms of fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, headaches, earaches, phlegm production, and coughs. You should be feeling like yourself again in no time!
Another claim to fame for andrographis is its unparalleled ability to soothe a variety of digestive issues. Not only is it used to relieve uncomfortable symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, and gas, andrographis is also known to treat ulcerative colitis and gastric ulcers.
Ulcerative colitis can increase the risk of colon cancer due to the damage it causes from chronic inflammation. Yet, andrographis not only reduces the risk, it also has the potential to alleviate symptoms. Scientific research shows that andrographolide can reduce inflammatory markers and prevent further reactions in colon cells. It can also protect the stomach lining against gastric ulcers. Research has found that pretreatment with andrographis extract increases pH balance and makes the stomach environment less acidic, which reduces the risk of ulcers forming in the stomach wall.
Concerned about heart health? Andrographis can help here, too. Research has shown it to be effective in balancing cholesterol and blood pressure levels. During one preliminary study, researchers found that andrographis reduced total cholesterol levels by as much as 24 percent. More recently, andrographis was found to prevent the accumulation of oxidized LDL particles (bad cholesterol) inside arteries. This suggests that andrographis may be a safe and effective alternative to statin medications.
According to the American Heart Association, over 100 million Americans have high blood pressure (hypertension). Andrographis also supports healthy blood pressure thanks to an action called vasodilation. Vasodilation relaxes and dilates blood vessels so that blood flows more easily through the body. Additionally, andrographis helps normalize cardiovascular function—even after a heart attack.
If you have joint issues, look no further! Andrographis has the ability to stop inflammatory triggers that can destroy joint cartilage, and it protects cartilage components, including hyaluronic acid and collagen. Many physicians use it as a natural complementary therapy to traditional treatments for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In a study on patients with RA, andrographis reduced the number and intensity of the patients’ swollen joints. When it was paired with a popular RA medication during the same study, andrographis helped to create a significant synergistic reduction in arthritic activity.
Andrographis has also been widely used for treating liver diseases in both traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese practices, and a current scientific study proves its effectiveness. Research published in the journal PLOS ONE shows that andrographolide can be as effective as silymarin from milk thistle at reducing the damage of toxins in the liver. Andrographis can also stop the over-proliferation of liver cells that can lead to cirrhosis. This amazing herb even shows the ability to boost the activity of glutathione and superoxide dismutase—two of the most powerful and important antioxidants generated by the body.
Perhaps most exciting for andrographis is its tremendous promise in the fight against cancer. Recent research suggests that andrographolide may discourage the growth cycle and spread of cancer cells—at least in the lab. It also appears to induce the death of cancer cells directly—a process called apoptosis. While there is much more to study, preliminary research indicates that andrographis may be effective against breast, colon, brain, and skin cancer cells. It’s so effective against breast cancer cells that some researchers have developed synthetic copies of the compound to potentially use as a cancer-fighting drug. Work with colon cancer cells has found similar results.
Another preliminary study suggests that andrographolide may stop melanoma skin cancer cells from proliferating. Based on the fact that the incidence of melanoma has been steadily rising for the past 30 years, the American Cancer Association predicts that over 90,000 Americans will be diagnosed with the condition. If you spend a lot of time in the sun, arming yourself with supplemental andrographis may be a very good idea!
Choose Your Supplement Wisely
When choosing an andrographis supplement, look for a powerful dose of andrographolide. One proprietary formula features a unique blend of stem and leaf extracts for a total of 400 mg of andrographis. Listed on labels under the name EP80, this unique blend delivers 80 mg of andrographolides, which is the highest potency available.