Andrographis paniculata is a medicinal herb cultivated in South Asia. In the United States, supplements made from this herb are used to relieve respiratory infections and inflammatory conditions.

Extracts and powders from the andrographis plant may help treat a variety of conditions, including symptoms of the common cold.

The active or potent part of the andrographis plant — extracted from the leaves and stem — is called andrographolide. Research has found that andrographolide contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

Although the medicinal uses of andrographis are well researched, its medical benefits and effectiveness require more evidence-based research.

In this article, we take a closer look at andrographis supplements, and what studies have found to date about their potential uses, benefits, and side effects.

Andrographis supplements are made from the active part of the andrographis herb, called andrographolide. Medicinal use of this herb originates from Ayurvedic herbalism and Chinese medicine. In Asia, the name for this herb is Chuān Xīn Lián.

The most common use of the supplement in the United States is for reducing symptoms of a cold. It has also been used to relieve inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis.

Researchers believe it may work by activating your immune system and increasing your T cell count. However, more research is needed to prove this theory.

You can purchase andrographis supplements online or over the counter at natural remedy stores, as a concentrated liquid (tincture), or as dosed tablets.

Where to find information about natural remedies

If you’re interested in finding natural ways to help relieve health conditions, it’s best to seek guidance from a doctor or a licensed herbal practitioner. You can look for licensed herbal practitioners in the American Herbalists Guild. To find an herbalist qualified in Chinese medicine, you can visit the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

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Andrographis has been used for centuries across Asia to treat a variety of illnesses, from diabetes and high blood pressure to influenza and malaria.

In the United States and other Western countries, andrographis supplements are used to treat the following conditions:

  • Respiratory health: The most effective use of andrographis may be to relieve symptoms of the common cold and other respiratory infections, such as coughing and a sore throat — andrographis was used as a treatment during the flu epidemic of 1919 in India. Researchers have found that taking a high dose of andrographis for 3 days was just as effective at relieving signs of tonsilitis as paracetamol (acetaminophen).
  • Anti-inflammation: Andrographis has anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers think it works by reducing the number of cytokines in your body. (Cytokines are chemicals that trigger inflammation around the affected area.) Researchers think that this may be able to help reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, a condition caused by inflammation in the joints.
  • Osteoarthritis: A study from 2019 confirmed that after 28 days of taking a supplement containing andrographolide, men and women with mild to moderate osteoarthritis in their knee joints saw significant reductions in pain. The presence of a placebo group in this finding means the result is reliable, and suggests the supplement is an effective therapy for the condition.

Other medicinal uses

Research has shown that andrographis may also help treat the following conditions:

  • Ulcerative colitis: The anti-inflammatory properties of andrographis have been shown to significantly limit the inflammatory proteins responsible for the condition. However, these findings were in-lab experiments, and its use as a medicinal therapy requires more research.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): RA is an autoimmune condition. The anti-inflammatory properties of andrographis help to get rid of the immune cells that attack your joints, in laboratory conditions. More research could show the supplement as being a possible therapy for RA.
  • Protection from hepatitis C infection: Andrographis may help protect your liver during infection of hepatitis C. The active part of andrographis, andrographolide, helps to limit the growth of a virus, reducing the rate at which the infection develops. This helps to prevent damage to your liver that can be seen as an effect of hepatitis C infections.

Are andrographis supplements effective?

Most of the research on andrographis supports its ability to boost the immune system.

A recent study done in 2021 found that within 30 days of taking the supplement, 21 out of 30 healthy adults saw increased immune cell counts, specifically lymphocytes and T cells. This meant their disease-fighting immune system will respond faster to possible infections like the common cold.

One study found that the active component, andrographolide, increased white blood cell production by 14%. White blood cells are part of the immune system; they help fight infection and other diseases.

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Andrographis is safe to be taken up to 600 mg per day for a temporary period. There are side effects to consider if you take a higher dose of the supplement. These can include:

Who should not take andrographis supplements

Andrographis may be unsafe if you are:

  • Pregnant: There’s concern that the andrographis supplements may cause miscarriage if taken while pregnant.
  • Breastfeeding: There’s no reliable information about whether andrographis supplements are safe for babies if passed through the milk during breastfeeding.
  • About to undergo surgery: Due to the possible blood thinning properties of andrographis, you must stop taking the supplement at least 2 weeks before your procedure.
  • Have an autoimmune disease: Andrographis supplements may increase the activity of the immune system which could lead to symptoms of autoimmune diseases.

In addition, a recent study found that of a sample of 810 people who were taking andrographis supplements, 44% saw an increase in the amount of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) in their bloodstream.

High levels of ALT can indicate that something is wrong with your liver, which may show that taking this supplement can place unnecessary stress on the organ.

More research is needed to fully understand the connection between andrographis and liver issues. So, it may be a good idea to avoid the supplements if you already have problems with your liver.

Interaction warnings

Be cautious of taking andrographis supplements if you’re taking the following medications:

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You can choose the way to take the supplement that works best for you. The recommended dose for andrographis supplements to relieve symptoms of a cold or respiratory infection is:

  • Pre-dosed capsules: 300 mg, four times daily
  • Bitter liquid tincture: 3 g to 6 g, once a day

You should start to feel your symptoms fade after 5 to 14 days.

You’re likely to see the quantities of the active component, andrographolide on the packaging of tinctures, the most common is 30%, or 1:3.

Don’t take high strength andrographis indefinitely. It’s a strong substance and you may experience side effects if taken for too long. However, taking it a few months before flu season may boost your immunity.

Where to find andrographis supplements

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When should you start taking andrographis supplements for the common cold?

Start a course of andrographis when you first experience the first symptoms of a cold. You may see improvements within 2 days, but most often it takes 3 to 4 days to have any effect.

Extract of Andrographis paniculata is available as capsules from

Can andrographis supplements help relieve symptoms of COVID-19?

Anti-inflammatory properties of andrographis supplements that are effective against other respiratory viruses, such as the common cold, mean that it likely helps to relieve similar, mild symptoms of COVID-19 like a light cough.

In fact, injections of the active component of the herb, andrographolide, were used to relieve people of mild COVID-19 symptoms in Thai hospitals during the pandemic.

However, there’s not enough research-based evidence to claim it’s an effective cure when taken as a supplement.

What are the best andrographis supplements to take?

If you’re sensitive to taste, capsules will be best due to the bitter taste. Otherwise, taking the liquid form may be easier to figure out the dosage.

For children with symptoms of a common cold, echinacea may be a better alternative due to the bitter taste of andrographis.

Andrographis is a traditional medicinal herb used to treat many health conditions, such as the common cold, osteoarthritis, and ulcerative colitis. Researchers theorize the herb has both immunity-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties.

Andrographis is considered safe for most people, however, it may not be appropriate for everyone.

If you’re considering taking andrographis supplements, it’s important to talk with a medical professional first before adding it to your routine.