Using alternative care instead of synthetically manufactured medicine has grown significantly over the years. According to statistical evidence, approximately 4 billion people living in the developing world rely on herbal medication instead of conventional medicine to treat their various ailments. These account for about 80% of the world’s population. Given this, it becomes essential to consider the effectiveness of these herbal medicines in treating the ailments they claim to treat.
One herbal medicine that gathered roots over the years is Andrographis. This article analyzes Andrographis, its possible benefits, side effects, and the special precautions you should take when using the herb as a treatment regimen.
Nature of The Andrographis Herb
If you are wondering what the Andrographis herb is, here is some background information. Andrographis, or more formally, Andrographis paniculata, is a plant that traces its origins to Southern Asia. This succulent annual herbaceous plant is part of the Acanthaceae family and commonly goes by the name creat or green chiretta, depending on what region of South Asia you hail.
The plant often grows in dark and moist places and only grows up to 43 inches tall. If you want to identify the plant in the wild, you should look for a plant with a slender dark green stem with lance-shaped leaves and solitary pink flowers. Typically, the plant flowers between September and December. However, being an annual herbaceous plant, it goes through its entire life cycle in one year.
The plant has a widely documented history in treatment, especially as part of the traditional Indian treatment structure, Ayurveda. The plant has also been used in Sri Lankan historical medicine.
Benefits of the Andrographis
The following are some of the prominent Andrographis benefits you should be aware of should you want to try out the plant as part of your herbal medicine regime.
In modern history, Andrographis is often used for treating flu and flu-like symptoms. The plant helps to inhibit the Influenza A virus which is responsible for the Influenza symptoms, including running nose, coughing, and high fever. In doing so, the plant helps grant patients quick and efficient relief. In addition, the plant helps to reduce inflammation in the nasal system, which can also cause cold and flu-like symptoms.
The plant was applied during the Influenza pandemic of 1919 in India and helped to provide relief faster than other conventional medications would at the time. To that effect, using the plant for treating Influenza is highly effective.
Gastrointestinal Issues and Digestive Tract Problems
Traditional medicine specialists in India often used Andrographis to treat digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, colic, and intestinal gas. However, these uses have transcended into modern healthcare for treating gastric ulcers and stomach cancer. Therefore, using some Andrographis can benefit your health if you have challenges with your intestinal tract and stomach.
Other Health Benefits
Aside from the two prominent uses of the plant, it also has high utility in increasing the red blood cell count, or CD 4 count, of patients with HIV/AIDS, thus increasing their immunity and providing a higher quality of life. Additionally, the plant helps treat heart concerns, including atherosclerosis.
Possible Side Effects
While many of the side effects of the plant are mild, some clinical trials have identified the likelihood of side effects such as headaches, fatigue, pruritus, diarrhea, metallic taste in the mouth, and rashes. If you experience side effects such as these, you need to reach out to your physician as soon as possible to get a quick remedy to the problem. In addition, you should stop the treatment promptly and only get back after professional advice.
Special Precautions When Using Andrographis
If you intend to serve the plant to a child, offering it in small doses is best to avoid possible side effects. Additionally, only oral supply is advisable. Further, while interactions with other herbs are rare, using the plant with other herbs can be undesirable after one month of use. Therefore, use exclusively until the dosage period ends.
For pregnant and lactating mothers, there are some precautions you should take. For pregnant mothers, the plant is generally unsafe for use and may adversely affect your health and that of the baby. There is a likelihood that the use of the plant may cause miscarriage. Thus, as a general rule, you should avoid the plant during pregnancy.
The same goes for lactating mothers. While there isn’t sufficient research on the possibility of the plant causing harm to the child during lactation, you may want to avoid it all the same.
From the onset, you should only try to use the plant for medicinal purposes after consulting with a medical practitioner that can advise on its propriety for your condition. This will help you avoid the possibility of health complications after use. From the illustrations above, it is evident that Andrographis provides a full range of health benefits as a treatment for various ailments.