Science is still exploring the many health benefits of bitter herb andrographis paniculata (King of Bitters), widely used in China and southeast Asia for treating sore throat, flu, and upper respiratory tract infections.
Andrographis is highly anti-inflammatory and has been found effective for treatment of asthma, stroke, and arthritis. Among its other known uses for human health:
- cardiovascular disease
- fertility (14)
- kidney and liver function
Andrographis interacts dynamically with the human immune system, behaving differently as the need presents itself, which explains its applications for such diverse diseases. It does this by regulating macrophage polarization and stimulating the production of antibodies. Macrophages are immune cells disbursed throughout the body that maintain balance (homeostasis) and provide the primary defense mechanism against pathogens. Depending on the antigen, andrographis reacts appropriately as an immune system booster, signalling the necessary cells to go to work. (15)
One hundred two complex phytochemicals have been identified in andrographis, including five rare noriridoid antioxidants. (16) A member of the Acanthaceae family of plants, it is considered the most important in the context of its benefits to human health:
“Extract and pure compounds of the plant have been reported for their anti-microbial, cytotoxicity, anti-protozoan, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, immunostimulant, anti-diabetic, anti-infective, anti-angiogenic, hepato-renal protective, sex hormone/sexual function modulation, liver enzymes modulation, insecticidal and toxicity activities.” (17)
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