Hempedu Bumi (Andrographis paniculata)
Plant Part Used: Whole Herb
A Powerful Liver Protector
Research has confirmed Hempedu Bumi’s long tradition as a liver tonic throughout South East Asia. Laboratory and clinical trials have demonstrated its effectiveness in cases of toxic liver damage, poor liver function and hepatitis. The primary active constituent, andrographolide, has been found to produce a stronger choleretic (increased bile flow, bile salt and bile acids) (9) and hepatoprotective effect than silymarin, from Milk Thistle. (10) In some tests the leaf extract showed stronger activity than andrographolide alone, confirming the benefit of using the whole herb.
A strong cellular antioxidant effect (11) was also demonstrated by the constituents, andrographisides & neoandrographolides. These showed a beneficial effects in lipid peroxidation, drug metabolising and increased enzyme activity in the liver. It also reduced the enzymatic leakage of glutamate pyruvate
transaminase & alkaline phosphatase frequently associated with hepatocellular damage. This effect was found to be as strong as silymarin.
Bitter Tonic; Digestive Stimulant
Hempedu Bumi’s bitter tonic effects on the digestive system are of use in general debility, dysentery, worm infestation and certain forms of dyspepsia associated with gaseous distension. It has been found to relieve griping, irregular stools, loss of appetite. Chinese studies of acute bacillary dysentery and enteritis have shown a positive benefit. (3)
Cardiovascular disease and cholesterol build-up
Andrographis also plays a valuable role in cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis (12). In a study (13) conducted by the Cardiology Department of the Tongji Medical University in China, Andrographis was found to significantly alleviate atherosclerotic build-up following a high cholesterol diet. This was found to be superior to the anti-atherosclerotic effects of Fish Oil (omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids over 70%). In another study conducted by theDepartment of Pharmacology, National University of Singapore (14), the aqueous extract of Andrographis was found to lower blood pressure by reducing circulating angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activities in plasma as well as by reducing free radical levels in the kidneys. Further studies in China (15,16) have demonstrated that Andrographis prevents heart attacks by reducing thrombosis potential. It was also demonstrated to protect the heart muscle from further damage following a heart attack.
Enhancing the Immune System
Clinical studies in bacterial and viral respiratory infections have demonstrated good effects, implying an immunostimulant action (7), especially on phagocytosis (3). Human trials have found Andrographis useful in pharyngotonsillitis, providing relief of fever and sore throat. Andrographis fluid extract and isolated andrographolide stimulated both antigen specific and non-specific immune responses in mice. The whole herb extract produced stronger immunostimulation. Fluid extract of Andrographis root demonstrated strong in vitro anthelmintic activity against human malarial infection.
1. Bone, K : Clinical Applications of Ayurvedic and Chinese Herbs (1996)
2. Burkhill, IH: A Dictionary of the Economic Products of the Malay Peninsular Pg. 157
3. Chang H M and But P P: Pharmacology and Applications of Chinese Materia Medica, Vol 2, World Scientific, Singapore (1987)
4. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pg.48 (1984)
5. Medicinal Plants of India, ICMR,Vol.I,Pg.64
6. Nadkarni, K.M. Indian Materia Medica, Pg.101
7. Puri, A et al: J Natural Products 56, 995 (1993) 8. Goh, SH et al: Malay Med Plants Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease (1995)
9. Shukla B et al: Planta Medica 58, 146 (1992)
10. Visen, P K et al: J Ethnopharmacology 40, 131 (1993)
11. Kapril, A et al: Biochemical Pharmacology 46, 182 (1993)
12. Guo, Z L et al:J Tongji Med University 14, 49 (1994)
13.Wang DW et al, Prevention of atherosclerotic arterial stenosis and restenosis after angioplasty
with Andrographis paniculata nees and fish oil. Experimental studies of effects and mechanisms. Chin Med J (Engl) Jun;107(6):464-70 (1994)
14. Zhang CY et al, Hypotensive activity of aqueous extract of Andrographis paniculata in rats. Nat. Uni. Singapore. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol Aug;23(8):675-8 (1996)
15. Zhao HY et al, Antithrombotic effects of Andrographis paniculata in preventing myocardial infarction. Chin Med J (Engl) Sep;104(9):770-5 (1991)
16. Zhao HY et al, Protective effects of andrographis paniculata nees on post-infarction myocardium in experimental dogs. J Tongji Med Univ 10(4):212-7 (1990)
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