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Andrographis: A Natural Approach to Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

Andrographis is certainly worth considering for helping to fight your respiratory infections.  Andrographis paniculata is an herbal medicine that has been shown to be clinically effective for such respiratory concerns.  I have been using it in my clinic for the past number of years with reliable results.

The main indications for Andrographis are as follows:

  • Colds and flu
  • Immunity
  • Infections of the GI tract
  • Diarrhea
  • Urinary tract infections

With respect to colds and infections of the respiratory tract, Andrographis has been shown to:

  • Reduce duration and severity of cold and flu symptoms
  • Help reduce frequency of infection
  • Minimize antibiotic dependency
  • Provide noticeable improvements in just 3 days

One of the reasons Andrographis may be good at fighting respiratory infections is that it contains chemicals that have valuable antimicrobial properties.  Antimicrobial means helpful against infective bacteria, such as streptococcus (strep) for example. The active ingredients in Andrographis with these antimicrobial properties are called arabinogalactans and andrographolides.(1)

This means that this herbal medicine possesses natural antibiotic properties, and may be beneficial in helping you steer clear of the need for regular antibiotics.  I have also found it good as a preventative measure to help patients minimize potential for recurring respiratory infections, especially prevalent at this time of year.

In a systematic review of its safety and efficacy, seven double-blind, controlled trials (n = 896) met the inclusion criteria for evaluation of efficacy. All trials scored at least three, out of a maximum of five, for methodological quality on the evaluation scale. Collectively, the data suggest that Andrographis is superior to placebo in alleviating the subjective symptoms of uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection. There is also preliminary evidence of a preventative effect.

Adverse events reported following administration of Andrographis were generally mild and infrequent.(2) However, it is not advised to take Andrographis during pregnancy or while breast feeding.

So if you have a post holiday cold with a cough and/or a mild respiratory infection and are looking for something new to try, may I suggest considering Andrographis .  It just may be what you are looking for!


1. Fitoterapia. 2003 Dec; 74(7-8):692-4.

2. Planta Med. 2004 Apr; 70(4):293-8.


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