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Andrographis
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Even though Andrographis has been often referred to as the new kid on the block... like most herbal medicines its hardly new at all. In actual fact its been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years and is often called "Indian Echinacea" because of its similar actions.

Research on the herb has yet to hit the mainstream medical journals, although some studies reported in non-peer-reviewed alternative medicine journals show good results and no negative side effects. Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata) is an Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicinal herb. Andrographis is often used traditionally as an effective anti-biotic, anti-viral and immune system stimulant. It is a "Winter" herb which has strong powerful action on the immune system

Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata) is commonly used in China, India and various southeast Asian countries. Both the fresh and dried leaves, as well as the fresh juice of the whole plant have been used in a variety of traditions. Andrographis is known as chuan xin lian in traditional Chinese herbalism, where it is believed to affect the digestive, cardiovascular and urinary systems. Andrographis is being increasingly used as treatment for colds. Good evidence tells us that it can reduce the severity of cold symptoms as well as help prevent colds.

Practitioners of Chinese Medicine believe that Andrographis affects the large intestine, lung, stomach, bladder, and liver meridians, or energy pathways in the body. It is thought to dispel heat (such as that associated with fever or infection) and is used primarily as a broad-spectrum antibiotic and immuno-stimulant for a variety of bacterial, viral, and parasitic conditions, including influenza, intestinal infections, hepatitis, pneumonia, and infected wounds. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Andrographis's medicinal properties are considered very bitter, astringent, cold, dry, and stimulating. Andrographis is considered most effective for conditions associated with fever, inflammation, and the formation of pus. It clears heat and relieves "fire toxicity" manifest as sores and carbuncles on the skin. It is also applied topically for snakebite and eczema. Under the supervision of a qualified practitioner, it is used as a uterine stimulant and abortive, to bring on miscarriage or treat prolonged pregnancy or retained placenta.
 

Research on Andrographis has generally been conducted in China and has focused on pharmacological investigation. Studies indicate that Andrographis cultivated in the plains of Shanghai has significant immune stimulating and anti-infective qualities. In vitro, it inhibits the growth of Diplococcus pneumoniae and other bacteria and delays the deterioration of embryonic renal cells caused by a virus. Practitioners of Chinese medicine commonly combine Andrographis in patent formulas along with other Chinese herbs. The following are the major herbs with which it is combined and the symptoms for which the combinations are prescribed.

Research on Andrographis has generally been conducted in China and has focused on pharmacological investigation. Studies indicate that Andrographis cultivated in the plains of Shanghai has significant immune stimulating and anti-infective qualities. In vitro, it inhibits the growth of Diplococcus pneumoniae and other bacteria and delays the deterioration of embryonic renal cells caused by a virus. Practitioners of Chinese medicine commonly combine Andrographis in patent formulas along with other Chinese herbs. The following are the major herbs with which it is combined and the symptoms for which the combinations are prescribed.

The standard dose ranges from 10-15 grams as a decoction (strong tea) or 2-5 milliliters as a tincture. Powder doses range from 0.6 to 1.2 grams. Because the herb is extremely bitter, it's recommended that powder be taken in capsule form.
 

References:

1. Bensky, D. & Gamble, Andrew. Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica. Revised. Eastland Press, 1993.
2. Fan, W. A Manual of Chinese Herbal Medicine: Principles & Practice for Easy Reference. Shambala, 1996.
3. Holmes, P. Jade Remedies: A Chinese Herbal Reference for the West. Snow Lotus Press, 1996.
4. Hsu, Hong-Yen, et. al. Oriental Materia Medica: A Concise Guide. Oriental Healing Arts Institute, 1986.

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