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What are the health benefits of andrographis? Can it treat colds, help with joint pain, or other conditions, and is it safe?
Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata), sometimes referred to as "Indian echinacea," or "chiretta," is a plant native to India and Sri Lanka traditionally used to help prevent and treat colds and other respiratory infections, as well as to sooth digestive ailments and reduce joint aches and pains. It is most commonly taken as an extract, although occasionally, crushed whole leaves have been used.
Laboratory studies have shown compounds in andrographis, called andrographolides, have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. Andrographis extract has been investigated in mostly small and short-term clinical studies for reducing symptoms of respiratory infections including colds and COVID-19, as well as for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. Laboratory research also suggests andrographis may slow cancer growth, but no clinical studies have been published.
Taken at recommended dosages, andrographis is generally well-tolerated. Side effects are typically mild and include heartburn, diarrhea, headache, and skin rash. Rarely, elevated liver enzymes and anaphylactic reactions have also been reported.
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