Andrographolide in Sambiloto – A potential candidate for treating patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy



Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a severe genetic muscular disorder affecting 1 in 3500 infants. Children with this condition gradually and progressively lose muscle strength, typically requiring the use of a wheel chair from the age of ten and dying in the late second or early third decade of life as a result of cardiorespiratory arrest. There is no effective remedy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and treatment aims to control symptoms to improve the quality of life.

One of the causes of muscle damage and loss of function is the development of fibrosis, which is characterized by excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) that replaces muscle tissue with connective tissue, dramatically affecting the environment of the fibers and normal muscle physiology. A recent research published in Skeletal Muscle indicated that andrographolide has the potential to increase the efficiency of cell therapy in mdx mice, a model for DMD. Andrographolide was also found to prevent muscle damage and fibrosis progression by decreasing the expression of transforming growth factor type beta (an important pro-fibrotic factor) and its downstream mediator connective tissue growth factor (CTGF/CCN2). This was associated with enhanced muscle strength and improved exercise performance in mdx mice.

Based on the results, researchers concluded that andrographolide could be used to improve the quality of life in individuals with DMD.

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Lyme Disease and Sambiloto

Lyme Disease and Sambiloto

Lyme Disease and Sambiloto

Among the common names for Sambiloto are Andrographis (andrographis paniculata), green chiretta, chuan xin lian (in Traditional Chinese Medicine), and kalmegh (Ayurveda), as well as many more.

Sambiloto has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, antispirochetal (particularly important for the treatment of Lyme Disease), antimalarial, antitumor, antidiarrheal, immune stimulant, sedative, antithrombotic and thrombolytic, and hypoglycemic properties, among others.

Effect of Andrographis on Lyme Disease

Andrographis is considered to be one of the main herbs that can help lower, or even eliminate, lyme spirochete loads in the body, support the innate immune function to help respond to the borrelia infection, and treat some of the symptoms of Lyme disease including central nervous system confusion, arthritic inflammation, and skin issues among others.1

Particularly important is the ability of andrographis to protect against neurodegeneration in the brain, which is one the most serious and devastating symptoms of Lyme Disease. It is also helpful for protecting the heart.


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Sambiloto (Andrographis, Indian Echinacea)

Sambiloto (Andrographis, Indian Echinacea)

Sambiloto (Andrographis, Indian Echinacea)

Sambiloto is used for preventing and treating the common cold, influenza, other viral infections, pharyngo-tonsillitis, allergies, sinusitis and to treat HIV/AIDS. It has traditionally been used for infectious diseases. Preliminary evidence suggests potential use against bacteria in raw food and water, human roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides), Toxoplasma gondii, malaria and E. coli enterotoxin secretion. It is also used for atherosclerosis, snake and insect bites, bronchitis, prevention of cardiovascular disease, cholera, diarrhea, flatulence, drug-induced hepatotoxicity and other hepatic disorders.

The applicable parts of Andrographis are the leaf and rhizome. Several active constituents have been identified, including andrographolide, deoxyandrographolide and other diterpenes.

Sambiloto has been used for the common cold because it may have immunostimulant properties. There is preliminary evidence that it might increase antibody activity and phagocytosis by macrophages.

Taking Sambiloto significantly improves symptoms of the common cold when started within 72 hours of symptom onset. It is often given with Siberian Ginseng. There is evidence that taking Sambiloto as a preventative for 2 months or longer may dramatically decrease the risk of developing a cold by about 50%.

Other preliminary evidence also suggests that Sambiloto might have mast cell-stabilizing and antiallergy activity.

People use Sambiloto for HIV/AIDS because some of its constituents have been found to have anti-HIV in vitro. High doses of the purified andrographolide constituent can also increase CD4+ cell counts in HIV patients. Andrographolide is thought to work through correction of T-lymphocyte function rather than by direct inhibition of viral replication.

There is interest in using Sambiloto as an anti-cancer agent. Extracts of Sambiloto inhibit proliferation of HT-29 colon cancer cells in vitro. This activity has been attributed to the diterpine constituents andrographolide, deoxyandrographolide and 14-deoxy-11,12-didehydroandrographolide. The andrographolide constituent also inhibits proliferation of breast, brain, lung, skin, ovarian, prostate and renal cancer cells in vitro. Sambiloto might also have leukemia cell differentiation-inducing activity as well as the possible analgesic, antipyretic and anti-ulcerogenic effects of Andrographis that have been described.

Sambiloto might protect the liver against hepatotoxic drugs (e.g., acetaminophen) and chemicals possibly by increasing bile flow, bile salt and bile acids. The Andrographis constituent, andrographolide, is a more potent hepatoprotectant than Silymarin, an active constituent of Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum).

Sambiloto may be beneficial in cardiovascular disease. Early evidence suggests that it might lower blood pressure, prevent arteriosclerosis, inhibit platelet aggregation and reduce myocardial Ischemic-Reperfusion injury.


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Andrographis uses, warnings, benefits and side effects – Reviews



Andrographis Review

Andrographis [Sambiloto, Chiretta, Chuan xin lian, Kalmegh, Kirata] grows in China, India and Indonesia. Its leaves and flowers have been used in herbal medicine for years.
It has been believed that Andrographis may offer health benefits in common cold, immune function, cancer and infections. Andrographolide, the major constituent of the extract is implicated towards its health claims or benefits.

Andrographis paniculata is an erect annual herb, it is extremely bitter in taste in all parts of the plant body.
The plant is known in India as Maha-tita, i.e. “king of bitters”. In Ayurveda, Andrographis paniculata is known as Kalmegh or Kalamegha, meaning “dark cloud”.
The genus Andrographis consists of 28 species of small annual shrubs, Only a few species are medicinal, of which Andrographis paniculata is the most popular.

Potential Health Benefits, Uses of Andrographis Paniculata (Sambiloto)


Andrographis paniculata extracts have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Methanolic extract of Andrographis paniculata was found to inhibit formation of oxygen derived free radicals such as superoxide, hydroxyl radicals, lipid peroxidation and nitric oxide in in vitro system.
In vivo studies of BALB/c mice, administration of
Andrographis paniculata extract produced complete inhibition of carageenan induced inflammation compared with controls. Researchers are hoping these activities lead to multiple benefits of Andrographis in health.

Japanese researchers isolated iterpene lactones andrographolide and neoandrographolide from Andrographis
paniculata. They found these compounds suppressed NO production in a concentration-dependent manner in the
concentration range from 0.1 to 100 microM and their IC50 values were 7.9 and 35.5 microM. Neoandrographolide also suppressed NO production by 35 and 40% when the macrophages were collected after oral administration of
neoandrographolide at doses of 5 and 25 mg/kg/d and LPS stimulated NO production was examined. However,
andrographolide did not reduce NO production on oral administration at the same doses.


Andrographis paniculata may benefit diabetes, animal studies suggest. Andrographis paniculata is a popular herb used by the diabetic patients in Pampanga, Philippines.
Researchers from Thomas Jefferson University orally administered Andrographis paniculata decoction to alloxan-induced diabetic rats.
They found that rats that were treated with Andrographis paniculata had higher body weight compared with diabetic positive control but exhibited lower body weight than the non-diabetic control.
The blood glucose levels in the Andrographis paniculata treated group was significantly reduced from day 12 to day 27 compared with diabetic positive control, however, comparable with non-diabetic control.


Andrographis paniculata extracts show potential benefits in cancers, animal and test-tube studies suggest.
Ethanol extract of Andrographis paniculata and andrographolide were found to have significantly growth inhibitory activities on human acute myeloid leukemic HL-60 cells after 24 h of treatment.
Researchers concluded that the extract and andrographolide induce cell cycle arrest and affect an intrinsic mitochondria-dependent pathway of apoptosis by regulating the expression of some pro-apoptotic markers in HL-60 cells. Indian researchers noticed the anti-cancer activities of andrographolide on different types of human cancer cells.


Andrographis paniculata may benefit insomnia.The extract exhibited a significant alteration in behavior pattern and a reduction in spontaneous motility.
The extract also produced a prolongation of the pentobarbitone-induced sleeping time and lowered the body temperature in different experimental animal models.

Viral Infections

Andrographis paniculata extracts may benefit people suffered from viral infections. Aqueous extracts of  Andrographis paniculata showed significant antimicrobial activity.
Andrographolide, neoandrographolide and 14-deoxy-11,12-didehydroandrographolide, ent-labdene diterpenes isolated from Andrographis paniculata showed viricidal activity against herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1).

In a study of 152 patients with pharyngotonsillitis, researchers found that the effects of high doses of Andrographis paniculata were comparable to paracetamol on fever and sore throat.

Researchers from the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, Exeter, UK reviewed five studies and concluded that that Andrographis paniculata is superior to placebo in alleviating the subjective symptoms of uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection. There is also preliminary evidence of a preventative effect.


Andrographis paniculata may enhance immunity. Indian researchers noticed three diterpene compounds from Andrographis paniculata had enhanced proliferation and interleukin-2 (IL-2) induction in human peripheral blood lymphocytes in their study. And, these compounds are andrographolide, 14-deoxyandrographolide and 14-deoxy-11,12-didehydroandrographolide.

EtOH extract and purified diterpene andrographolides of Andrographis paniculata (Acanthaceae) induced significant stimulation of antibody and delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) response to sheep red blood cells (SRBC) in mice.

Cardiovascular system

Andrographis paniculata may have benefits on people at risk of certain cardiovascular issues. Reseachers observed the blood pressure lowering effects of an aqueous extract of Andrographis paniculata in spontaneously hypertensive rats.
They explained that the hypotensive effect of this extract was probably related to a reduced plasma angiotensin-converting enzyme levels and a reduced level of free radical in the kidneys of the animals.

A study of 16 dogs shows that Andrographis paniculata impeded aggregation of platelets. Thus, researchers believe that it may help prevent the formation of thrombi as well as the development of myocardial infarction.

In a study of 63 patients suffered from cardiac and cerebral vascular diseases, researchers supplied the patients with Andrographis paniculata extracts for one weeks. Researchers noticed that Andrographis paniculata extracts inhibited the releasing of dense and alpha agranules from platelet. They thought the raise of platelet cAMP level might be the mechanism of antiplatelet effect of Andrographis paniculata.


Andrographis may have benefits of liver Protection Extracts of Andrographis paniculata have showed protection on liver from various chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride.


Andrographis may have effects on fertility, animal studies suggested. Researchers mixed Andrographis Paniculata powder with animal’s food (Rats Pelletts) and fed female mice daily with this preparation for six weeks.
None of the animal were pregnant when mated with the male of proven fertility who did not receive the drug. While, most of the control were pregnant.

Researchers fed male albino rats with dry leaf of Andrographis Paniculata at a dose level of 20 mg powder per day for 60 days, resulted in cessation of spermatogenesis, degenerative changes in the seminiferous tubules, regression of Leydig cells and regressive and/or degenerative changes in the epididymis, seminal vesicle, ventral prostate and coagulating gland. The treatment also resulted in accumulation of glycogen and oxidized cholesterol in the testis.


Andrographis paniculata extracts may have benefits on wound healing. Histologically, wounds dressed with Andrographis extracts showed markedly less scar width and contained large amounts of fibroblast proliferation in a rat study.
More collagen and less angiogenesis with absence of inflammatory cells were seen for wounds dressed with 10% Andrographis paniculata compared to the blank placebo.

Source: Zhion

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Andrographis (Sambiloto) in Sweden

andrographis-paniculata2In Sweden, Andrographis has been used for more than 10 years as a primary herb for the winter season.

Andrographis has become popular in Scandinavia for use during winter season for immune support.

Extracts from the leaves of Andrographis (Sambiloto) are becoming more popular in the United States as an increasing amount of published research strongly supports the benefits of this traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic herb for treating symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections, usually secondary to colds and flu.

This trial attempts to study the safety of andrographis in a fixed combination extract (Kan Jang, Swedish Herbal Institute, Gothenburg, Sweden) on male fertility compared to 2 commonly used herbs: Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer, Araliaceae) and Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis L., Valerianaceae).

The study medications were well tolerated and the subjects reported no adverse events resulting from the study medications. No significant changes in the testicles of the subjects were observed. The study medications did not reduce male fertility parameters in any of the subjects in the study. The authors found no significant differences in male fertility parameters between the Kan Jang groups and the Valerian and ginseng groups.

The authors conclude that Kan Jang is safe with regards to male fertility parameters at doses of up to 3 times the recommended daily dose for 10 days. In addition, Asian ginseng and Valerian show no negative effects on male fertility when administered at 3 times the recommended daily dose for a duration of 10 days.

Acute respiratory infections (commonly known as a cold or flu) are often treated by health practitioners with antibiotics, even though they may not be effective for such conditions, which are often based on a viral infection. The leaves of Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata [Burm f.] Wall ex Nees, Acanthaceae) have been used in traditional Ayurvedic, Thai, and Chinese medicine to treat fever associated with infectious diseases. Pharmacological studies suggest anti-inflammatory, antipyretic (anti-fever), antiviral, and immunostimulatory properties for andrographis.

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Therapeutic and Traditional Uses, Benefits and Claims of Sambiloto

Therapeutic and Traditional Uses, Benefits and Claims of Andrographis

Therapeutic and Traditional Uses, Benefits and Claims of Andrographis

Sambiloto has a long historical record as an ancient medicinal herb, used for centuries in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine.

Historically, the herb has been widely used as a treatment for the common cold, flu, upper respiratory infections, and a variety of infectious diseases.

It’s a traditional herbal treatment for diseases and ailments such as diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, pneumonia, swollen lymph nodes, leprosy, bronchitis, sore throats, tuberculosis, chicken pox, coughs, headaches, ear infection, inflammation, burns and mumps.

Andrographis was used as a treatment for malaria, as a replacement for quinine.

This bitter shrub has shown immunity-boosting capabilities by stimulating the body’s natural immune systems. Japanese researchers have reported that the plant is effective in preventing the multiplication of cancer cells. Andrographolides in the plant are thought to enhance immune function such as in the production of white blood cells, to support the release of interferon, and to promote healthy activity of the lymphatic system.

Some scientists believe the herb may help in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Traditional herbalists use this medicinal herb for many conditions for its anti-inflammatory action. It’s used as an herbal treatment for pain associated with conditions such as muscular pain, arthritis, rheumatism, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis.

Andrographis is believed to be effective in the treatment of liver and gall bladder conditions such as viral hepatitis, jaundice, drug-induced liver damage, liver congestion and sluggish liver.

It has been found to be as effective as silymarin (the active component in milk thistle) in protecting the liver.

Clinical studies in China have shown that it helps to prevent blood clot formation. There, it’s used as an herbal treatment for atherosclerosis and heart attack. Some studies have shown that andrographis may be helpful in preventing the condition known as restenosis, or “reclogging” of arteries following angioplasty.

The plant has antioxidant properties that may aid in sugar regulation in people with diabetes by reducing blood sugar concentration.

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Sambiloto – Andrographis Paniculata Composition

Sambiloto - Andrographis Paniculata Composition

Sambiloto – Andrographis Paniculata Composition

Sambiloto – Andrographis Paniculata Composition:
Arabinogalactan proteins
CAT (catalase)
Diterpene lactones
Ergosterol peroxide
GLUT4 (glucose transporter subtype 4)
GPX (glutathione peroxidise)
GR (glutathione reductase)
GST (glutathione S transferase)
MDA (malondialdehyde)
SOD (superoxide dismutase)
Skullcapflavone I
STZ (streptozotocin)

a-alkylidene ?-butyrolactone moiety

3,4-Dicaffeoylquinic acid


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Side Effects and Contra-indications

Side Effects and Contra-indications

Side Effects and Contra-indications

Sambiloto has been shown to have anti-fertility effects. This includes abortionant properties. That is it can abort pregnancy. We recommend all women avoid its use during pregnancy as a precaution. In almost every other respect Sambiloto has an extremely low toxicity.

In traditional Jamu systems of healing in Indonesian, Sambiloto has long been perceived as very safe. In Chinese medicine, and in Thailand and India, it has always been seen as safe. Although trial and error in humans may not be considered scientific, it is a way of determining whether a substance is effective or harmful. The traditional understanding of cultures which have used it over centuries, is that it is very safe. When scientists began to investigate the safety of Sambiloto, formal toxicological studies in animal models and in animal and human clinical trials confirmed that andrographolide and other Sambiloto compounds have very low toxicity.

Research over many years has confirmed this extremely low toxicity. In mice that received oral extracts of Sambiloto extract (10 g/kg body weight) once a day for seven days, none of the mice died. This very high amount did produce decreased activity and general lethargy. Heart, kidney, liver, and spleen were found to be normal in these animals.

Even intravenous injections of 10mg/Kg in rabbits produced nothing abnormal. Liver enzyme tests and heart, liver, kidney, and spleen were normal in these animals.

Overall, evidence to date confirms that andrographolides are naturally occurring compounds with low toxicity.

On rare occasions, dizziness and heart palpitations have been reported by people who use Sambiloto. As with all herbs, some people will have an allergic reaction to Sambiloto. The allergic reactions associated with allergic reactions ranging from minor skin rashes to more serious sicknesses. The obvious solution in these rare cases is to avoid its use.

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Known Mechanisms of Action

Known Mechanisms of Action

Known Mechanisms of Action

Sambiloto (Andrographis paniculata) has been extensive studied, most of it in the last half of the 20th century, and much of it concentrating on Sambiloto’s pharmacological composition, safety, efficacy, and mechanisms of action. A good deal of this research has centered around a screening technique called signal transduction technology – probably best explained in a seminal work by Jean Barilla, M.S.

”One of the criticisms made by the conventional medical and scientific community regarding dietary supplements is that their development and use have been based on folklore, not science. Using signal transduction technology to investigate the effect on a botanical or other nutrition supplement on the cell-level processes of cells is good science. This approach will legitimize the nutritional approach to the prevention and treatment of disease and speed the process of development of new and more effective supplements. Importantly, this technology avoids the use of animal testing, which often lasts for years before a supplement is approved for human use; not using animals is an additional benefit those who consider animal testing to be inhumane. In addition to saving time and animals, this technology reduces the costs involved in getting a supplement to market – a saving which will be passed on to consumers.

“Using signal transduction technology, extracts of Andrographis paniculata (Sambiloto) have been found to counteract interference with the cell cycle. Such interference is the basis for the development of cancer or infection with viruses such as HIV. Andrographolides are thought to enhance immune system functions such as production of white blood cells (scavengers of bacteria and other foreign matter), release of interferon, and activity of the lymph system. Interferon is a protein (called a cytokine) made by cells in response to viruses. It is a potent antiviral agent and is also antiproliferative (stops the reproduction of viruses).

The lymph system is an important part of the immune system. Briefly, it is another circulatory system (like the vascular system) that carries a fluid, the lymph. The lymph carries away the by-products of cellular metabolism and also acts as a shuttle for invading bacteria and viruses, taking them to the lymph nodes where the white blood cells (lymphocytes) destroy them. Sambiloto, a superb immune system enhancer, is even more effective when combined with immune stimulators, such as the herb Meniran. The theory behind the mechanism of operation also confirms that Andrographolides are also likely to be useful in conventional cancer therapy after suitable scientific confirmation.

Several studies have looked at the disposition of andrographolide in various organs of the body. Biodistribution experiments have been done in experimental animals. Following injection of radioactively labeled andrographolide, this compound appears to be widely distributed in the body. High concentrations are noted in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and other organs with high blood flow, including the colon, spleen, heart, lungs, and kidneys. Andrographolide appears to have a relatively short half-life of approximately two hours.

The term “half-life” refers to the time when the concentration of the compound in the body is half of what it originally was when it entered the body. This is what is left after the compound has been metabolized (broken down), changed into other forms (called metabolites), and excreted by one of several routes (urine, feces, exhaled air, sweat, or other body excretions). Compounds with short half-lives need to be given often since they do not stay in the body for long. Andrographolides are excreted fairly rapidly from the body via the urine and gastrointestinal tract. In some studies, 80 percent of the administered dose of andrographolide is removed from the body within eight hours, with excretion rates of more than 90 percent of the compound within forty-eight hours. A daily dose is needed for effectiveness.

The wide tissue and organ distribution and the immune-stimulating and regulatory actions of Sambiloto make it an ideal candidate in the prevention and treatment of many diseases and conditions.

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Sambiloto has clear anti-fertility as well as pregnancy-terminating effects in larger amounts. In India, where Sambiloto is used for common ailments such as diarrhea, fever, and other digestive disorders, it is recommended that the herb be used only for short-term treatment. This is due to the content of compounds that are contraceptive in nature.

The authors of the study done on the rats concluded that the observations suggested an anti-spermatogenic (sperm production blocking) or anti-androgenic (blocking effects of sex hormones known as androgens) ability of the plant. It should be noted that many herbal extracts have effects on reproductive functions and thus should not be used during pregnancy.

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