Figuring out ways to avoid and quickly heal colds, flus, and respiratory infections is really important for two main reasons. The first is obvious: none of us want to be sick, we don’t have time to be sick, and we want to avoid any dangers that could potentially arise from being sick
The second is this: antibiotic resistance is a real problem our society is currently facing, so we need to find alternative treatments that can help us prevent and treat illness; plus, viruses like the common cold cannot be treated by antibiotics in the first place.
One completely natural option that may be able to boost our immune systems, help us avoid sickness, and heal us up more quickly/make us feel better when we do get sick is a little plant called andrographis.
As you’re about to see, not only has andrographis been a wildly popular treatment traditionally, modern science is now discovering it has real potential to protect and heal. You should know about it.
What Is Andrographis?
Andrographis is a plant that typically comes from countries in south Asia. Though it’s been used traditionally for all sorts of things from stomach issues to leprosy, one of its most popular uses was the treatment the common cold and influenza.
Interestingly enough, people say that andrographis is responsible for stopping a flu epidemic in India in 1919. Though nobody knows if that’s 100% true, we do know this about our helpful plant:
- Andrographis stimulates the immune system
- Andrographis lowers inflammation
- Andrographis protects the body against microbes
- Andrographis provides antioxidant activity
All of these abilities lead people to taking andrographis to help them with colds, flus, and respiratory infections.
Thanks to two of its most potent and powerful compounds, andrographolides and eleutherosides, andrographis has moved from traditional or alternative home remedy to the spotlight of modern scientific and medical research.
Does Andrographis for Immunity Work?
Let’s take a look at some of the research findings on andrographis.
Our first study gave andrographis to teenagers in order to see how well it can prevent colds. One group of teens were given the 5 mg of the supplement twice daily for three months. The other received a placebo. At the end of the three-month period, the andrographis group had half the number of colds that the placebo group had.
Those are odds most of us are willing to take!
A 2010 study took 223 patients who had uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infections. They evaluated them based upon 9 symptoms:
- Expectoration (coughing up phlegm)
- Nasal discharge
- Sore throat
- Sleep disturbance
The group was split into two: one received andrographis and the other received a placebo. They found that each group improved between day 1 and day 3, but that those who took the andrographis “improved significantly” when the placebo group did not.
(Note: the only one of the 9 symptoms that did not get significantly better from the andrographis was earache, so it doesn’t look like it’s a prime helper for that concern)
Then in 2017, a group of researchers looked at 33 randomized controlled trials that each studied the impact of andrographis on respiratory tract infections. They found that this ingredient had successfully improved:
- Sore throat
- Overall symptoms of an acute respiratory tract infection
- Recovery time (even lessened sick leave)
In this review, andrographis was compared to placebo, regular care, and other herbal remedies and came out on top each time.
There are so many more studies. Here is a short overview of some other results:
- Common cold symptoms can improve more quickly with 48 to 60 mg a day (divided by three doses) as long as its given right when the symptoms start showing up
- The onset of a common cold may be able to be prevented by andrographis
- It may be able to treat influenza
How to Take Andrographis
If you’re wanting to take advantage of this immune-boosting natural alternative, it’s easy: just take the pill supplement.
Studies have shown it to be quite safe when taking it short-term to boost your immune system or ward off a cold or flu (can be safe long-term, but you should consult your doctor first!). It may also be safe short-term for your children, but that’s another area where you should consult a pediatrician before starting treatment.
But who shouldn’t take andrographis?
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Those trying to get pregnant: There are no human studies that suggest andrographis harms fertility, but there are a few animal ones. If you’re struggling to get pregnant, it may be worth avoiding this supplement for a little while to see if it helps
- Those with autoimmune diseases: You may be able to take this immune-boosting supplement, but you need to talk with your doctor to avoid over stimulation depending upon your condition
- Those with low blood pressure: Like those with autoimmune diseases, you may be just fine – but a doctor will need to watch over you to make sure it doesn’t lower it too much
- Those with bleeding conditions: It’s possible this supplement could slow down the blood clotting process, so check with your doctor first.
A few people may experience some side effects when using andrographis. If you experience any of the following side effects, you should stop use and talk to your doctor:
- Lost appetite
- Stomach upset
If you’ve taken too high of a dose for too long of a time, it is possible to get more serious side effects like elevated liver enzymes or swollen lymph glands. This is easily avoided by taking the recommended dosage for the recommended period of time.
Boosting Your Immune System Naturally
The research and history of this natural herb are so impressive; it’s definitely worth trying!
Andrographis is just one of many different natural herbs and supplements that can help boost your immune system and keep you healthy – or help you fight off a bug you’ve already caught. Echinacea and astragalus are two other fantastic choices, and when you use all three together, you are priming your immune system to work its best!