Andrographis paniculata | How The “King of Bitters” Supports Immune Health And Pain Management

Andrographis paniculata | How The "King of Bitters" Supports Immune Health And Pain Management


The “King of Bitters”, otherwise known as Andrographis paniculata, is quite a unique plant. Its popular name, “King of Bitters”, speaks for itself as Andrographis paniculata is incredibly bitter! Andrographis paniculata is very widely used in South East Asia and is native to India and Sri Lanka. Traditionally, Andrographis is used to promote immune function (specifically to support the respiratory system). Another common traditional use is for supporting balanced inflammation levels which goes hand-in-hand with the immune-promoting effects. More modern research has confirmed these effects have shown that Andrographis may be a promising immune health promoter and inflammation balancer. Furthermore, some modern research has suggested that Andrographis paniculata may help attenuate inflammation in the brain. However, research results are still lacking overall on this specific effect.


As is common with many plants that have a wide variety of effects, Andrographis has quite the assortment of bioactive compounds! These fall into three distinct categories:

– Diterpenoids
– Flavonoids
– Polyphenols

One of the most important compounds in Andrographis, andrographolide, falls into the first category of diterpenoids and appears to be by far the most bioactive compound in Andrographis paniculata. However, Andrographis paniculata also contains a large variety of compounds closely related to andrographolide such as:

– Isoandrographolide
– Bisandrographolide A
– Neoandrographolide
– 14-deoxy-11,12-didehydroandrographolide
– 14-deoxyandrographolide

These all appear to be very active too and may contribute to the overall effects of Andrographis paniculata. With this in mind, we did not just standardize for andrographolide. We instead standardized to all the major diterpenoids that are closely related to andrographolide as described above. We refer to these as the andrographolides and our Andrographis paniculata extract is standardized to an impressive 50% andrographolides! Better yet, every batch of Andrographis paniculata is meticulously tested in our state-of-the-art in-house lab so you can be assured that our Andrographis paniculata is the real deal and always potent!

So with all of that said, what can a high potency Andrographis extract do for you?


– May help support immune health
– May help support pain management
– May help support digestion



Andrographis paniculata is a fantastic immune support supplement, especially considering that it goes after some very unique pathways which many immune supplements do not. Many immune supplements, such as Immuse, help promote the strength of our overall immune system which helps us to stay healthy all year round. We view these immune supplements as general health support supplements too due to their holistic effects. Andrographis paniculata, on the other hand, helps target specific transporters and replication mechanisms within our cells which may help lighten the overall load on our immune system. Specifically, Andrographis paniculata targets 3 distinct enzyme systems that are highly involved in our immune function. They are as follows:

– RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP)
– Papain-like protease (PLP)
– 3-Chymotrypsin-like protease (3CLpro)

All of these enzyme systems function as replication mechanisms for various stressors to our immune system and an Andrographis supplement may be able to help downregulate the activity of these enzymes by binding to their catalytic sites. By binding to the catalytic sites of RdRP, PLP and 3CLpro, Andrographis paniculata may be able to help slow down these replication mechanisms thereby helping to support a lighter load on our immune system.

Due to the unique effects of Andrographis paniculata on our immune system, it also makes for a great component in an immune health support stack. Since in certain scenarios an Andrographis supplement may be able to help lighten the load on our immune system, it means that our immune system can work more efficiently. This would be ideal if our immune system function is already being supported with an immune supplement like Epicor or Immuse, as the combination would help promote the effects of both supplements. We will touch on this a little bit more in our stack section at the end of this blog!


Most supplements that have effects on our immune system also tend to have positive effects on inflammation, and so not surprisingly, Andrographis also has some fairly pronounced effects on inflammation! These effects extend mostly towards pain management and Andrographis appears to have fairly significant pain management support effects. Unlike other supplements that help promote balanced levels of inflammation and pain management, Andrographis works on more upstream mechanisms. Most inflammation-balancing compounds act on cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes, specifically COX-1 and COX-2. COX-2, in particular, is highly involved in pain because it triggers the synthesis of a compound called Prostaglandin E2 (PGE-2). PGE-2 is involved in the perception of pain. To explain this, we have to take a brief deep dive into a bit of science!

Pain is, in many ways, a warning mechanism to tell us something is not completely right in our bodies. It is a neurological signal that actually makes us perceive this pain. PGE-2 can bind to two different receptors: Prostaglandin E2 receptor 1 (EP1) and Prostaglandin E2 receptor 4 (EP4). When PGE-2 binds to either EP1 or EP4, it increases the excitability of our peripheral nerve endings through cation channels and by slowing the activity of hyperpolarizing potassium channels. This increase in excitability then makes it more likely that our peripheral nerve endings will send out pain signals to the brain, which is what eventually leads to us perceiving a feeling of pain. By regulating the activity of COX-2, we can support lower levels of PGE-2 synthesis, thereby supporting pain management. However, let’s move upstream a bit more!

Upstream from COX-2, we find another enzyme called Interleukin-2 (IL-2). This particular enzyme controls the expression of COX-2. Thus, regulating the activity of IL-2 can also regulate the expression of COX-2. Putting two and two together, this means that lower IL-2 activity is correlated with lower COX-2 activity. Thus, regulating IL-2 may help support pain management. However, let’s move upstream further yet again! From IL-2, we have one other enzyme called nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB). NF-κB can be seen as the master regulator here. This is because NF-κB controls the activity of IL-2, COX-2, and PGE-2 synthesis. This is where Andrographis paniculata exerts its effect. Yet, it gets even a little bit more complex!

When compared to other compounds that regulate the activity of NF-κB, Andrographis paniculata had a superior pain management effect. This means that it is likely that Andrographis paniculata also signals through another NF-κB related pathway separate from the IL-2 -> COX-2 -> PGE-2 system. This system has not yet been identified by researchers studying the effects of Andrographis, but it has been proposed and indicates that the pain management effects of Andrographis may be quite comprehensive!


Andrographis paniculata has also been traditionally used to promote digestion and overall metabolic health as it appears to regulate the activity of various digestive enzymes such as:

– Maltase
– Sucrase
– Lactase
– α-glucosidase
– α-amylase

The first three enzymes (maltase, sucrase and lactase) are referred to as intestinal disaccharidases. As the name may suggest, these enzymes exist in the intestine and help break down dissacharides (carbohydrates). Specifically, maltase helps break down maltose into glucose, sucrase helps break down sucrose into fructose and glucose, and lactase helps break down lactose into galactose and glucose. Taken together, this means that Andrographis paniculata may help promote carbohydrate digestion!

Andrographis paniculata may not only help with the digestion of carbohydrates, as it may also help minimize the impact of glucose on the body by helping to support blood glucose levels that are already in a healthy range. Andrographis achieves this through the last two enzymes on the list, α-glucosidase and α-amylase. These enzymes also help break down carbohydrates and improve glucose absorption. However, instead of acting on disaccharides, these enzymes mainly focus on breaking down starches into disaccharides. Whereas Andrographis paniculata appears to promote the digestion of disaccharides through maltase, sucrase and lactase; Andrographis appears to slow the breakdown of starches into disaccharides by slowing the activity of α-glucosidase and α-amylase. Through this mechanism, Andrographis appears to limit the total absorption of glucose, thereby helping to promote metabolic health!

Andrographis also appears to help with glucose metabolism and distribution after it has been absorbed. Andrographis may help promote glucose uptake and subsequent oxidation by peripheral tissues. Andrographis likely achieves this effect by promoting Glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT-4) activity while also promoting islet and beta-cell activity. Taken together, Andrographis paniculata could be a great option for helping to support overall metabolic health and digestion!

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