Fighting infection with Andrographis

The common cold is the most frequent infection that you're likely to encounter, and it's estimated that there are over 220 different cold viruses that affect humans. It’s nearly impossible to avoid, and most adults get a cold 3 – 4 times a year. Influenza viruses are just as prolific and the flu is responsible for over 18,000 yearly hospitalisations in Australia [1].

Andrographis is a powerful herb with antiviral and immune-boosting properties that has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to stop these viruses in their tracks and treat respiratory symptoms like coughing, sinus congestion, sore throats, and ear aches [2].

Andrographis for daily immune support

Andrographis contains andrographolide which is a bitter-tasting compound that has been shown to improve the function of the immune system. It can boost numbers of white blood cells and appears to have direct antimicrobial action against cold and flu viruses [3]. By supporting the immune system, taking andrographis daily has been shown to help prevent the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection – one study found that healthy students who took andrographis for three months during winter were significantly less likely to catch a cold [4].

Andrographis might shorten the duration of cold & flu symptoms

Already have the sniffles? Andrographis is commonly used by herbalists to shorten the duration of symptoms from an upper respiratory tract infection like a cold or flu. Research backs this up, showing that this powerful herb can reduce the severity of symptoms within three to five days, and taking it regularly might lead to the fewer sick days off from work [5].  In 2007, a study found that people who took andrographis when they had a cold or flu experienced significantly less severe symptoms, and got back on their feet faster [6].

Andrographis works well with other antiviral herbs

Andrographis is especially potent when taken in combination with other herbs like Siberian ginseng, echinacea, and immune-boosting nutrients like zinc. In 2003, a study found that people with the flu who took andrographis along with Siberian ginseng had fewer symptoms and a faster recovery than those who took antiviral medication [7]. Another study in 2004 looked at the effects of combining andrographis with an echinacea extract, and taking the blend at the early stages of the common cold. The people in the study who took the blend had a quicker recovery, fewer symptoms, and had less severe illnesses [8].

How to take Andrographis  

  • Take andrographis at the first sign of a cold or flu to help fight symptoms including runny nose, coughs, sore throat, headache, earache, fever & fatigue.
  • For immune support, andrographis can be taken at a lower dose before any signs of cold or flu symptoms.
  • Speak to your doctor, naturopath or herbalist for personalised advice.