Andrographis (King of bitters, Chuan xin lian) - DRIED HERBS

Andrographis paniculata (King of Bitters) is an Ayurvedic herb traditionally used for combating-cancer and liver protective effects, and is a Traditional Chinese Medicine for the common cold. Unlike many herbs, most of the bioactivities of Andrographis paniculata can be traced back to a single diterpene molecule known as Andrographolide.

First and foremost, it does appear to be effective for the common cold when taken for 3-5 days after the symptoms first arise. There is surprisingly little evidence for the herb per se (two studies in humans) while much more research tends to use combination therapy of Andrographis paniculata and Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticoccus). This combination therapy has been used in traditional medicine and called Kan Jang, and consists of most of the research.

In regards to cancer, Andrographis paniculata appears to have anti-proliferative effects that occur at low concentrations in vitro (not too far off from what is observed following oral ingestion) and limited animal models suggest that anti-proliferative effects of Andrographolide (the bioactive) are relevant following oral ingestion. It does not seem to be too potent in actually inducing apoptosis of cancer cells in animals however, and seems to be more related to merely preventing proliferation.

Safety wise, it appears to be safe acutely and no significant side-effects are noted with consumption of Andrographis paniculata either in isolation or via Kan Jang tablets when taken in a rehabilitative manner for 3-5 days. For prolonged and high dose usage, there is mixed evidence in regards to the testicles (some studies suggesting toxicity, some other studies using the same methods failing to note toxicity; reasons for the difference unknown) and the liver (although most studies not it is highly hepatoprotective, one study in humans noted an elevation of liver enzymes after 60 days that started to normalize when stopping the supplement; reason for this also unknown).

Overall, although there is a lot of promise associated with Andrographolide in general for a wide variety of purposes it is currently seen as effective for acute usage to alleviate symptoms of the common cold or flu.

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