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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 treating the common cold and has more recently been shown to enhance cognitive abilities and skin collagen formation as well.

Introduction to 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 (RR2).

However, 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 (R).

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 (R).

Andrographis Snapshot


  • 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) Andrographis is a Potent Anti-Microbial

 1.1) Antibacterial

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 (R).

Andrographis showed activity against P. Aeruginosa, a multidrug-resistant pathogen responsible for serious illnesses associated with pneumonia and sepsis (R).

Andrographolide is potent against tuberculosis by targeting the Mycobacterium (R, R2).

Mice given a Salmonella vaccine in conjunction with Andrographis resulted with a significantly enhanced Salmonella-specific antibody response (R).

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 (R).

 1.2) Anti-Viral

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

1.3) Anti-parasitic

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

Several different forms of Andrographis extracts significantly or completely inhibit the Malaria parasite (in-vitro+in-vivo) (RR2).

1.4) Andrographis 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)  (R, R2, R3),

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

2) Andrographis Helps With the Common Cold and Upper Respiratory Infections

Andrographis works as a preventative against the common cold (R, R2).

Andrographis reduces all symptoms of the common cold including earaches (R), headaches, cough, fever, and fatigue (dosing was 100mg Andrographis 2X daily for 5 days at 31.3% Andrographolide) (R, R2).

1200mg of Andrographis for 4 days reduced all measured symptoms of the common cold by the 2nd day (R).

Andrographis is a safe and effective treatment for Children against the common cold (R).

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 (R).

Andrographis was effective at reducing inflammation in both the tonsils and pharynx at doses of 3-6g (R).

Doses of 6g 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 (R).

Andrographis is effective in the treatment of sinus infections (R).

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% (R).

Andrographolide specifically used as pre-treatment acts as a preventative against cigarette smoke-induced lung injury (R).

3) Andrographis Helps the Gut

Andrographis is suggested as potential as a therapeutic in treating inflammatory bowel disease (R).

Andrographis abolished the signs and symptoms of colitis in mice (R).

Adults treated with 1200-1800mg Andrographis with mild-to-moderate colitis had a significantly higher positive response over placebo (R).

In the same study, the group taking the 1800mg dose had a much higher mucosal healing rate over the 1200mg and placebo groups (R).

Andrographis ethanol extract has been shown to cure 88.3% percent of acute bacillary dysentery and 91.3% percent of acute gastroenteritis cases (R).

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

4) Andrographis is a Potent Anti-Cancer Agent

Andrographolide is able to regulate 939 genes involved with anti-cancer promoting benefits (R).

Andrographolide exerts direct anticancer activity on many types of cancer cells in test tubes by inhibiting cancer cell duplication and cell division (R).

Pre-treatment with Andrographolide significantly enhances the efficacy of some drugs toxic to various tumors in the body (TRAIL) (R, R2).

Andrographolide is a potent suppressant of tumor tissue growth (R).

Andrographolide through mitochondrial pathways is able to inhibit cancer cell growth and promote cancer cell death (R).

Andrographolide has been shown to increase cytotoxic activity of white blood cells against cancer cells (R).

4.1) 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 (R).

Andrographolide is a potent growth and multiplication inhibitor in colon cancer cells (R)

Andrographis has been shown to slow the growth of polyps in the colon, which is typically associated with increased colon cancer risk (R).

4.2) Breast

Andrographolide induces breast cancer cell death (by increasing p53) (R).

In mice transplanted with tumors, Andrographolide was associated in a crucial early step in the suppression of tumor growth and proliferation (R).

4.3) Cancer of the Blood

Andrographolide exhibits a high degree of cytotoxicity in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (R)

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

4.4) Skin Cancer

Andrographolide is active against melanoma skin cancer in vitro (R).

Andrographolide showed dose-dependent suppression of melanoma tumor growth in mice. Suppression was reach at 36% with 100mg/kg, and up to 52% with 200mg/kg dose (R).

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

4.5) Cancer of the Brain

Andrographolide inhibits the proliferation of human glioblastoma (R).

4.6) 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 (R, R).

As a pre-treatment, Andrographolide possesses antioxidant properties against cigarette smoke-induced lung injury (R).

4.7) Kidney Cancer

Andrographolide has been shown to inhibiting growth and reproduction of two kidney cancer cells lines (R).

4.8) Pancreatic Cancer

Andrographis shows preferential cytotoxicity against human pancreatic cancer cell lines (R).

5) Andrographis Helps With Arthritis

Andrographis is viewed as a ‘natural complement’ in traditional treatments against rheumatoid arthritis (R).

Andrographis does not appear to reduce pain significantly but does reduce the number and intensity of swollen joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (R).

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

In this same arthritis study, Andrographis + Etoricoxib was more synergistic and effective in a reduction of symptoms than andrographolide + Etoricoxib (R).

Andrographis is associated with a reduction rheumatoid factors IgA and C4 (R).

6) Andrographis Helps the Brain

Andrographis has shown to lower chronic inflammation in the brains of mice (R).

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 (R).

7) Andrographis May Reduce Premature Skin Aging

Topical application of Andrographis suppressed UV-induced skin thickness, elasticity, wrinkles, and water content (R).

Topical application in mouse models increases skin collagen content by 53.17% and decreased UV-induced disruption of collagen and elastic fibers (R).

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) (R, R2).

Out of 20 plants, Andrographis inhibited IL-1b the most and was more potent than dexamethasone (R).

Mice with induced acute inflammation had significantly higher survival rates taking Andrographis (R).

9) Andrographis Works Against Hyperglycemia, Insulin, and Blood Triglycerides

Andrographolide has been shown to improve hyperglycemia and insulin deficiency in diabetic rat models (R).

Andrographis can be used an alternative medicine in treating patients with moderately high levels of blood triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia) (R).

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

10) Andrographis Helps the Liver

Andrographis protects the liver against toxins that cause damage (carbon tetrachloride) (R).

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

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

A water extract of Andrographis has been shown to significantly increase liver anti-oxidant defense systems (SOD, Catalaseglutathione), and reduced lactate dehydrogenase (R, R2).

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

11) Andrographis Helps the Blood

Andrographolide may be beneficial in the treatment of blood clotting disorders, by its ability to reduce platelets (R).

12) Andrographis Works as an Anti-Oxidant

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


Andrographis, at 1000mg 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 (R).

Ten cases of viper bites were reportedly cured in 3-5 days by a compound formula that had Andrographis as the chief constituent (R).


Andrographis contains three major categories of extracts diterpenoids, flavonoids, and polyphenols (R).

Andrographolide (a diterpenoid) is the most bioactive and most extensively studied extract with diverse anti-cancer effects (R, R2).

The leaves are traditionally used more than the rest of the plant and contain anywhere from 0.5% and 6% Andrographolide content (R, R2).

Both the herb as a whole and its specific extracts have been proven beneficial with many health concerns (R).

Dosing & Bioavailability

The standard dose of Andrographis basic root extract ranges widely from 20 – 6,000 mg, although the 2000-6000 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 (R).

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

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 (R, R2, R3).

In rats treated for Salmonella, doses as high as 5,000mg/kg showed no observed toxicity (R).

One study involving HIV patients reported headachesfatigue, rash, diarrhea, pruritus (dosing 10-20mg/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 (R).

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


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 (R).

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 (R).

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 (R).

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) (R, R2).

Contraindications for Males is Conflicting 

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

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

Administration of 50mg/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 (R).

Doses of 1000mg/kg Andrographis (6.1% Andrographolide) for 60 days in male rats failed to show testicular toxicity (R),(R)

Rats given up to 1000mg/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 (R).

Buy Andrographis Supplements

I like these Andrographis supplements, as it gives you a good amount of andrographolide and other constituents of the herbs.  I notice a good effect from it.

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The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.


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  • Vaibhav

    Your information is very interesting. Thank you for sharing

    1. Ana Aleksic

      Thank you, Vaibhav, glad you enjoyed it! We have many other posts about herbs you may enjoy as well as posts across various other topics.

  • lulu Cohen

    Is anyone using it for lyme with Positive effects?

  • Matt

    I have knowledge of 2 hodgkins non lyphoma (a leukemia family) that responded well to liquid noni juice. I have 2 that I would recc., (1 by Genesis T) and by testimonial. (start 1oz/day then > slowly to 4/day well researched, Noni is on GRAS list) if you live in tropics .. Unprocessed is better but challenging due to taste.
    Also a well researched clinician advocates fressly ground sessame seed butter for “bone marrow” type disease. 1tbsp/day

  • asher

    Good luck I’m sure he will get better, children are stronger and more resilient than adults.

  • Kathleen Parry

    My son is 10 years old and has has Aml ( leukaemia) twice and 2 bone marrow transplants his last one was exactly a year ago would it be a good Idea for him to take this and what would be a safe dose for him and how long should he take it for?.

  • m

    Agreed. I read several studies that say the opposite, however it’s not something I really want to experiment with in my own body.

  • Elo

    I think this other study states the opposite:

  • dr.g.kiruthiga

    yes , it can be taken during breast feeding, added advantage of immuno-protection for the baby too..

  • Mike

    I was seriously considering using it until I found this study that suggests Andrographis actually compromises the blood brain barrier by killing cerebral endothelial cells. Please read the study at the following link. Am I understanding this correctly?

    1. Nattha Wannissorn, PhD

      Yup. We’ll add this to the post.

  • Paul

    Is it safe for to take Andrographis whilst breast feeding a 4 month old baby? Are there likely to be any side effects for the baby?

  • Eduardo

    On the otherhand the dose worked very well for my cold, but I hope I didn’t damage my testes by doing that dosage.

  • Eduardo

    Hello, according to your knowledge. Do you think that a dose of 200 mg of 98% adrographolide is safe, specially in relation to the testicular toxicity?
    I have a supplement of high purity extract of 98% andrographolide, another day I was with a cold and used between 150 – 200 mg in the day, I wonder if that high dose could cause some toxicity to my testes.

  • Sanjay nenawati

    I read on webmd that you should not take andrographis-paniculata in autoimmune conditions as it stimulates the immune system and can worsen the condition. Could you please clarify?

    1. hellonwheels

      Yes I can. There is a condition called IRS(Immune reconstitution syndrome ) that can occur when drugs suppressing the immune system are stopped ie after (HIV therapy, chemotherapy, arthritis therapies). Anything that increases the immune system has a small chance of having the same effect. The effect is basically due to the immune system fighting things off. They’re just making lawyers happy with that statement. If it were me, I’d have phrased that warning like this: “Use common sense, if you increase your immune system, you will probably feel like you have a cold for a few days. If this is bothersome enough, stop.”

      The more serious issue is things that are considered “ubiquitous” and don’t cause trouble for “normal” people, do cause trouble for people and when we discover that they do, we still don’t connect the two, we call it a “mystery.” Examples: the 9 types of Herpes Virus, the 13 types of polyomaviruses, the hundreds of varieties of enteroviruses…. all of which have fatal effects for someone whose immune system is weak, and life/work destroying effects for someone whose immune system is just mediocre.

  • RM

    andrographis also kills lyme disease.

  • Brett

    Some of the reviews for andographis products on Iherb mention powerful Herx reactions. Has anyone here experienced these?

  • Lisa

    Do you think that it is best to take it daily, or only as needed to treat the conditions mentioned above. Yes, I know that you’re not diagnosing or offering medical advice, I’m just wondering your opinion, or if you have any studies saying whether or not daily dosing is appropriate, those would be appreciated too. Thanks!

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      I think it’s good to cycle everything.

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