While fasting, the body has the opportunity to flush out toxins that it may have been sluggishly trying to move out through respiration, excretion, sweating and other innate physiological processes. This can temporarily increase activity on the organs of detoxification, particularly the liver. To support this increased activity and to bolster immunity, holistic practitioners may suggest taking Andrographis.
An essential remedy used for centuries by practitioners of both Ayurvedic Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Andrographis paniculata is known to help protect the liver and supports the production and movement of bile. The active compound in the plant is a group of plant chemicals called andrographolides, which have several mechanisms of action in the body. Research has shown these actions to include:
- Stimulating the body’s innate and adaptive immune defenses when foreign invaders are identified in the body
- Supporting a healthy inflammatory response and mitigating excessive inflammation by blocking free radical activity in the body
These powerful actions come from a plant that produces unassuming, delicate white and purple flowers that bloom from the ends of tiny stems attached to tall, skinny stalks. The herb is quite bitter, so it is not often used in teas unless carefully blended with other herbs to improve the flavor profile and medicinal benefit. A capsule or tincture is the most common way to use Andrographis.
Andrographis may be used preventatively, as well as during active infection. It is best to use Andrographis while under the care of a holistic health practitioner who can make appropriate recommendations for how much and how often to take this botanical medicine. Persons who are pregnant or lactating, or who are in treatment for other medical conditions, should not take Andrographis without first speaking with their healthcare provider.
Engels, G., and Brinckmann, J. “Andrographis paniculata.” Herbal Gram, no. 105, p 1-5. Retrieved 16 Nov 2021: https://www.herbalgram.org/resources/herbalgram/issues/105/table-of-contents/hg105-herbpro-andro/
Materia Medica (adaptation): Andrographis. Retrieved 13 Nov 2021: https://adaptationsaloha.com/andrographis-materia-medica/
Gaia Herbs Plant Intelligence Guide vol 6. (January 2016)