Fight Colds with Andrographis

Did You Know…that an ancient Ayurvedic herb has more cold-busting power than Echinacea?

Summer is the time for sunshine, laughter, and fun, not colds and flus, but summer sometimes forgets this.  Nothing is worse than a summertime cold, which tends to hang on longer and be more difficult to treat than colds and flus caught during more typical sick seasons.  Every year during cold and flu season, $2.9 billion is spent on over-the-counter (OTC) meds and $400 million on prescription drugs.  That’s one way to deal with a cold, but there’s a much more natural way to fortify your defenses.

Reduce Cold Symptoms Naturally 

The herb andrographis is one of the strongest cold and flu remedies in existence, but isn’t that well known outside Asian countries and Scandinavia, where it’s making a name for itself as a cold buster.  It originates from India, Sri Lanka, and other Asian countries, and its leaves and stems have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.  It’s been credited with ending the Indian flu epidemic in 1919, and is often referred to as “Indian Echinacea.”

Clinical studies have shown it significantly reduces the symptoms of a cold by as much as 90%—so you can say adios to fatigue, sleeplessness, sore throat, and runny nose quicker.  Several trials indicate that andrographis not only seeks and destroys harmful bacteria and viruses (without destroying the beneficial bacteria in our guts that antibiotics do), but also activates immune cells that help fight disease.

A meta-analysis of 7 double-blind, placebo-controlled studies made up of 896 participants showed that an extract of andrographis was far more effective than a placebo at reducing the symptoms of upper respiratory infections.  For instance, one of the trials showed that 1200 mg daily of andrographis significantly improved cold symptoms in just 2 days, particularly earache, sleeplessness, nasal discharge, and sore throat.

Three other double-blind studies with a total of 400 people showed that a combination of andrographis and eleutherococcus, an adaptogenic herb, is more effective than Echinacea when it comes to treating colds and flus.  Another study showed that 6 g of andrographis taken for 7 days is just as effective as acetaminophen (Tylenol) at reducing cold and flu symptoms.  Andrographis seems to reduce the symptoms of allergies and has also shown potential benefit for HIV patients by increasing blood counts.

The typical dose of andrographis is 400 mg 3 times a day.  It is safe for those with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, but should not be taken while pregnant.