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.
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.
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.