Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata) is an Ayurvedic medicinal herb that is probably best known in the West for its immune-boosting properties. While this botanical, known as the “king of bitters” because of its taste in traditional preparations, does an excellent job fighting colds and flus, it also has great potential as a cancer fighter. One of the most important compounds in the botanical is andrographolide, and it is the focus of much of the plant’s research.
A recent review showed that this component of andrographis stopped tumor replication in virtually every type of cancer cell line tested and addressed virtually every mechanism, including inflammation, oxidation, cell replication, and cancer cell invasion. This impressed the researchers so much that they concluded, “After careful consideration of the relevant evidence, we suggest that andrographolide can be one of the potential agents in the treatment of cancer in the near future.”
Islam MT, Ali ES, Uddin SJ, et al. Andrographolide, a diterpene lactone from Andrographis paniculata and its therapeutic promises in cancer. Cancer Lett. 2018 Apr 28;420:129-145.
The diterpene lactone andrographolide, isolated from Andrographis paniculata, has been proven to possess several important protective biological activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, antiseptic, antimicrobial, cytotoxic, hypolipidemic, cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, and neuroprotective effects. In addition, it has been reported to play a therapeutic role in the treatment of major human diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and colitis. This systematic review aims to highlight andrographolide as a promising agent in cancer treatment. To this purpose, a number of databases were used to search for the cytotoxic/anticancer effects of andrographolide in pre-clinical and clinical studies. Among 1703 identified literature articles, 139 were included in this review; 109 were investigated as non-clinical, whereas 24, 3, and 3 were pre-clinical, clinical, and non-pre-clinical trials, respectively. Among the model systems, cultured cell lines appeared as the most frequently (79.14%) used, followed by in vivo models using rodents, among others. Furthermore, andrographolide was found to exert cytotoxic/anticancer effects on almost all types of cell lines with the underlying mechanisms involving oxidative stress, cell cycle arrest, anti-inflammatory and immune system mediated effects, apoptosis, necrosis, autophagy, inhibition of cell adhesion, proliferation, migration, invasion, anti-angiogenic activity, and other miscellaneous actions. After careful consideration of the relevant evidence, we suggest that andrographolide can be one of the potential agents in the treatment of cancer in the near future.