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Herb Reference Guide



In Ayurvedic medicine, Andrographis, commonly known as Kalmegh or “King of Bitters” has long been used as a bitter tonic, stomachic, antipyretic, and laxative. The leaves are juiced to make some traditional Ayurvedic medicines. In traditional Chinese medicine Andrographis is considered bitter and ‘cold’ and is used to clear heat from the blood (especially in the lungs, throat and urinary tract). Since it is considered a ‘cold’ herb in traditional medicine and cultures, it is primarily suited to treating ‘hot’ conditions which may include various acute conditions.


Andrographis has been primarily studied to support immune system health at onset by supporting healthy levels of immune cells in the blood. A number of studies have been done around the globe to explore use of this botanical for various conditions. A randomized double-blind study on 152 patients with pharyngotonsilitis found 6g per day of Andrographis for a week to be as effective as paracetamol in providing relief of fever and sore throat. Investigations from the Sichuan Traditional Medicine Research Institution showed Andrographis had a beneficial effect in supporting the body's immune system when dealing with cold symptoms. The major finding in this study was a lowered body temperature after treatment with Andrographis: of 84 cases of common cold, 70 achieved a normal body temperature within 48 hours.

Uses of Andrographis


This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Andrographis contains diterpenoid lactones, collectively referred to as andrographoloides. It also contains numerous flavonoids.

Parts Used

  • leaf

Important precautions

Because Andrographis has demonstrated immune stimulating properties in various research studies, it is advised that individuals with autoimmune disease not use this product long term.

Additional Resources

Thamlikitkul V, Dechatiwongese T, Theerapong S, et al. J Med Assoc Thai 1991; 74 (10): 437-442.

Pharmacology Department, Sichan, 1975, cited in Melchior J, Palm S, Wikman G. Phtyomed 1996/7; 3 (4): 315-318.