Right about now is the time to prepare your lungs against the bugs that attack in autumn and winter. A useful herb in this regard is andrographis. Andrographis isn’t on the radar screed of traditional American Western herbalism nor is it recorded among the formulas of Classical Chinese medicine. However, in traditional Thai, Swedish, and Indian medicines, it has quite the reputation. Andrographis has wide-ranging clinical utility. It is non-toxic, provides long-term benefits that make it ideal for personal experimentation, and can be a useful addition on complex Chinese herbal formulas.
Andrographis is effective for respiratory immunity. The Swedes are particularly keen on it for cold prevention. It also lessens cold symptoms. The nose is the orfice of the lungs. Andrographis has also been shown to improve sinusitis and rhinitis. In fact, it seems to be effective in minimising mucous, either of a thick or thin quality. This use is unknown in Chinese medicine.
Respiratory allergies involve both lung and the liver. There are some 14 different Ayurvedic formulations containing andrographis aimed at regulating liver function. In modern parlance we’d call it a good detox herb. Some of the detox effect is from its anti-inflammatory action.
Similar to Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic formulations are constructed based on balance. Among the 14 formulas for the liver/gall bladder containing andrographis, undoubtedly most contain ginger and black pepper. This is to balance what Chinese medicine would call the “cold” of the herb, which is probably an analog to “anti-inflammatory.” Cold has a tendency to damage the digestive system. Hence, the use of black pepper and ginger to balance the cold.
This foray into formula construction is just to note that though one might feel tempted to run out for a bottle immediately, it might make more sense to integrate it with a balanced approach based on your particulars. It seems that if it is taken in isolation for respiratory conditions that results might prove better than if taken for digestion or respiratory conditions with digestive issues, however.
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