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Ayurvedic Herb Tells Colds to Take a Hike

When cold and flu season seem to have no end, and over-the-counter, conventional options have either lost their effectiveness or their appeal because of side effects, there is an effective natural solution: andrgraphis.

This long-trusted Ayurvedic herb, known officially as Andrographis paniculata, has been shown to bolster your immune defenses and reduce the intensity of symptoms, including sore throat and runny nose. And it works fast.

In fact, a double-blind placebo-controlled study showed that andrographis relieved fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, and sleeplessness in just two days. By the fourth day, a significant decrease in all symptoms, which also included headache, earache, phlegm production, and frequent and intense coughing spells.

Another clinical study showed similar results. In this case, 223 patients with upper respiratory tract infection either received andrographis or a placebo. At first, the results between the two seemed about the same. But by the third day, there was a dramatic difference in cough, headache, sore throat, and disturbed sleep. People in the placebo group noticed no improvement – in fact, some symptoms got worse – while those in the andrographis group saw a major improvement in only five days. Ultimately, andrographis was 2.1 times more effective, so it was definitely making a difference.

For anyone with colds or flus that just seem to linger through the season, this is especially good news. The fact that andrographis causes no side effects, like the grogginess or jitters that you can get from conventional over-the-counter medications makes it even better.


Cáceres DD, Hancke JL, Burgos RA, Sandberg F, Wikman GK. Use of visual analogue scale measurements (VAS) to assess the effectiveness of standardized Andrographis paniculata extract SHA-10 in reducing the symptoms of common cold. A randomized double blind-placebo study. Phytomedicine. 1999 Oct;6(4):217-23.

The objective of our study was to measure the effectiveness of Andrographis paniculata SHA-10 extract in reducing the prevalence and intensity of symptoms and signs of common cold as compared with a placebo. A group of 158 adult patients of both sexes completed the randomized double blind study in Valdivia, Chile. The patients were divided in two equal size groups, one of which received Andrographis paniculata dried extract (1200 mg/day) and the other a placebo during a period of 5 days. Evaluations for efficacy were performed by the patient at day 0, 2, and 4 of the treatment; each completed a self-evaluation (VAS) sheet with the following parameters: headache, tiredness, earache, sleeplessness, sore throat, nasal secretion, phlegm, frequency and intensity of cough. In order to quantify the magnitude of the reduction in the prevalence and intensity of the signs and symptoms of common cold, the risk (Odds Ratio = OR) was calculated using a logistic regression model. At day 2 of treatment a significant decrease in the intensity of the symptoms of tiredness (OR = 1.28; 95% CI 1.07-1.53), sleeplessness (OR = 1.71; 95% CI 1.38-2.11), sore throat (OR = 2.3; 95% CI 1.69-3.14) and nasal secretion (OR = 2.51; 95% CI 1.82-3.46) was observed in the Andrographis SHA-10 group as compared with the placebo group. At day 4, a significant decrease in the intensity of all symptoms was observed for the Andrographis paniculata group. The higher OR values were for the following parameters: sore throat (OR = 3.59; 95% CI 2.04-5.35), nasal secretion (OR = 3.27; 95% CI 2.31-4.62) and earache (OR = 3.11; 95% CI 2.01-4.80) for Andrographis paniculata treatment over placebo, respectively. It is concluded that Andrographis paniculata had a high degree of effectiveness in reducing the prevalence and intensity of the symptoms in uncomplicated common cold beginning at day two of treatment. No adverse effects were observed or reported.


Saxena RC, Singh R, Kumar P, et al. A randomized double blind placebo controlled clinical evaluation of extract of Andrographis paniculata (KalmCold) in patients with uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection. Phytomedicine. 2010 Mar;17(3-4):178-85.

A randomized, double blind placebo controlled clinical study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of KalmCold, an extract of Andrographis paniculata, in patients with uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). The assessment involved quantification of symptom scores by Visual Analogue Scale. Nine self-evaluated symptoms of cough, expectoration, nasal discharge, headache, fever, sore throat, earache, malaise/fatigue and sleep disturbance were scored. A total of 223 patients of both sexes were randomized in two groups which received either KalmCold (200 mg/day) or placebo in a double blind manner. In both the treatments, mean scores of all symptoms showed a decreasing trend from day 1 to day 3 but from day 3 to day 5 most of the symptoms in placebo treated group either remained unchanged (cough, headache and earache) or got aggravated (sore throat and sleep disturbance) whereas in KalmCold treated group all symptoms showed a decreasing trend. Within groups, mean scores of symptoms in both the groups decreased significantly (p < or = 0.05) from day 1 to day 3 and day 5 while from day 3 to day 5 all symptoms except expectoration in placebo group did not improve significantly whereas in KalmCold treated group all symptoms improved significantly (p < or = 0.05) except earache. Comparing mean between both groups, all symptoms at day 1 and day 3 were found to be the same while at day 5 all symptoms except earache in KalmCold treated group improved significantly (p < or = 0.05) than placebo group. Similarly, within groups, overall scores of all symptoms in both the groups decreased significantly (p < or = 0.05) from day 1 to day 3 and day 5 while from day 3 to day 5 placebo group did not improve significantly whereas KalmCold treated group showed significant improvement (p < or = 0.05). On between groups analysis, KalmCold group showed significant reduction (p < or = 0.05) in overall symptom scores as compared to placebo group. In both placebo and KalmCold treated groups, there were only a few minor adverse effects with no significant difference in occurrence (Z = 0.63; p > 0.05). The comparison of overall efficacy of KalmCold over placebo was found to be significant (p < or = 0.05) and it was 2.1 times (52.7%) higher than placebo. The findings of this study revealed that KalmCold was effective in reducing symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection.

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Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.
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