Q. Dear Terry, “I read online that andrographis is good for the immune system. I’m interested in trying it, but I have a few questions. Is it something I should take when I’m feeling unwell or can I take it daily? How much should I take?” – Payton F., Oshkosh, WI
A. Dear Payton, Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata) is an herb that has been widely used in Ayurvedic medicine in India since ancient times, where it is known as the “King of Bitters” because of its bitter taste in traditional preparations. Like boswellia, or curcumin from turmeric, andrographis is one of nature’s great multitaskers.
Andrographis has been traditionally used to fight colds and flus, safely and effectively. Additionally, andrographis may also help open new paths toward fighting cancer, heart disease, arthritis, Lyme’s disease, and more. In 2020, andrographis was studied for its ability to stop colon cancer cells. Andrographis proved superior to the chemotherapy drug, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), and when andrographis was combined with 5-FU, the results were even better than 5-FU alone. Additional research has found that andrographis helps preserve cognitive health, protects the heart and arteries, protects the liver, stops pain and preserves joints, boosts immune defenses, and soothes digestive symptoms.
While andrographis provides a full spectrum of compounds that prevent or stop disease, andrographolide is considered the most beneficial. You’ll find that research on the herb – no matter what disease it is studying – focuses primarily on that compound.
I believe that taking 400 mg of andrographis per day would be an excellent choice. Look for an andrographis standardized to twenty percent andrographolide.
For additional immune benefits, you could consider taking andrographis in combination with other immune supportive nutrients. I would take 15 mg of zinc (as zinc bisglycinate chelate), 65 mcg of selenium, 300 mg of andrographis (providing 60 mg of andrographolides), and 5 mg of melatonin. You could take this combination one to two hours before bedtime.
Terry . . . Naturally