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Key Compound from Andrographis Stops Cancer

Based on past statistics and the fact that the rate of melanoma has been growing for the past 30 years, the American Cancer Association predicts that over 90,000 Americans will be diagnosed with this form of skin cancer in 2019 alone. This is a prime reason for anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors to arm themselves with supplemental andrographis.

The nature of any cancer is cellular damage over time, and melanoma is a prime example. Repeated instances of oxidative and inflammatory damage – practically unavoidable after repeated exposure to the sun – has the potential to throw DNA replication into chaos. The pathways in the body that can lead to tumor growth are varied, but the results are the same – a seemingly unstoppable expansion of diseased cells.

Similar to curcumin from turmeric, andrographis provides a primary compound called andrographolide, which is one of its most heavily researched components and is considered one of its most powerful. That’s not to say that other factors in the herb aren’t helpful, but that andrographolide is an extremely important aspect of the plant.

Recent scientific research shows that andrographolide stops the cycle of human melanoma cells and actually extinguishes them. While more work is necessary, it shows that andrographis – so revered by practitioners for thousands of years – has the potential to be a 21st century medicine.

In fact, a recent review of cancer studies investigating andrographis showed that andrographolide 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. The overall report about how well andrographis works against tumors 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.”


Liu G, Chu H. Andrographolide inhibits proliferation and induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human melanoma cells. Oncol Lett. 2018 Apr;15(4):5301-5305. doi: 10.3892/ol.2018.7941. Epub 2018 Feb 2.

Andrographolide (Andro), a natural compound isolated from Andrographis paniculata, has been demonstrated to have anticancer efficacy in several types of tumors. In the present study, the anticancer effects and mechanism of Andro in human malignant melanoma were investigated. Cell viability analysis was performed using an MTT assay and the effect of Andro on the cell cycle and apoptosis of human malignant melanoma cells was determined by flow cytometry. Western blot analysis was performed to evaluate the protein expression levels of human malignant melanoma cells following treatment with Andro. The results revealed that Andro potently inhibited cell proliferation by inducing G2/M cell-cycle arrest in human malignant melanoma C8161 and A375 cell lines. In addition, treatment with Andro induced apoptosis, which was associated with the cleavage of poly(adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase and activation of caspase-3. It was observed that Andro induced activation of the c-Jun N-terminal kinase and p38 signaling pathway, which may be connected with cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. In conclusion, the results demonstrated that Andro may be a promising and effective agent for antitumor therapy against human malignant melanoma.

Link to complete article: Andrographolide inhibits proliferation and induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human melanoma cells

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.

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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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