Andrographis for colds?

rusty_blackhaw(6a)October 2, 2008

What's the experience of forum participants been with using Andrographis paniculata (sometimes sold as Kan Jang) to shorten the severity and duration of colds?

There's somewhat limited but encouraging evidence that this herb is effective and relatively safe to use. More limited data suggest it may (as with echinacea) act to prevent an upper respiratory infection from developing.

Some of the advertising hype seems over the top, but it sounds like this could be worth a try.

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I haven't tried that yet--is there a reliable source of it?

Really, it is almost a non-issue for me, now that I use zinc gluconate every time I might have been exposed to cold germs. One spritz in each nostril before bedtime in such cases has kept me cold-free for almost three years now. However, I also have a reduced sense of smell, since the zinc gluconate is hard on the little fibers that assist one to smell things.

I used to get very ill every time I had a cold, so a backup plan is still of interest to me.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 11:29PM
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Chuan xin lian not only works for common colds. It increases white blood cell activity with few side effects. The Chinese use it "to clear heat and toxins", and you can find it in a number of formulas for both bacterial infections like strep,staph,Pneumococci,spirochetes,T.B.,typhoid;as well as viral formulas for colds, chicken pox,herpes zoster,and encephalitis. It is used for Trichomonas,eczema, and cobra venom. It is usually considered a cheap substitute for huang lian; it cannot be taken well with some antibiotics. It is good for ear infections and enteritis as well.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 9:13PM
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While there's some evidence that this herb may be useful in lessening the impact of colds, I'm leery of sweeping claims that it's good for a wide spectrum of infections caused by different kinds of agents (for one thing, if the Chinese had such success with it, what explains the massive death toll in the country due to successive waves of pandemic illness in the 19th and 20th centuries, from diseases like plague, cholera and influenza?).

For those preferring to avoid Chinese herbal products and the risk of adulteration, there's an Andrographis supplement exported from Sweden.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 3:20PM
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First,I didn't list plague,cholera, or influenza for this herb;Second, what are broad spectrum antibiotics to you, if they can make broad sweeping claims and herbs supposedly cannot? People died from influenza here during the great epidemic as well. And people who get plague here, even though our strains of it are less virulent,die; but I digress. For instance many herbs have berberine as a constituent; this chemical is strongly antibiotic. As I stated, this herb increases white cell activity. White blood cells are the immune system's fighters of infections of a wide range of types. Also note I did not say this herb is used by itself for these infections. The Chinese combine herbs in different formaulas to get the effects they want. I have tried Chaun xin lian with other anti-viral herbs for colds. I still like bi yan pian best for sinus problems of most kinds. And if we want to use the Chinese as an example, why do you think China is and has been the most populated country on the planet? Even considering the fact they have not been a rich country, even considering the fact their government has a bad record when it comes to health care, and even considering the fact they are in an area of the world that is rich in diseases.
As an aside, one thing you might want to know, is not to take Andrographis if you are pegnant. It can be an abortifacient in large doses. I do not have any personal experience with this, but better safe than sorry.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 12:38AM
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oakleif(z6 AR)

Taiwan has the oldest living people on earth. I saw a film today of a 90 year old woman climbing a tree to pick fruit. They lack modern health care using alternative medicine mostly,eat right
(no american type food)only what they grow.
Don't beleive any western type medicine can make that claim. ERIC, This was on the history channel.

France uses 10.6% of their gross domestic product on health care and have the #1 rated all around health care system in the world. They use medicinal herbs too. The US uses 15.3% of their GDP and are ranked #37 all around health care in the world. They don't use herbs. France is improving ever year. The US is not. With our new president, things will now change hopefully.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 12:59AM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Broad spectrum antibiotics are tested rigorously on a number of bacteria before they are marketed as such, they aren't just making the claims, they are backing them up. There are literally thousands of studies done on the effectiveness of antibiotics in people with the ailments that are being treated. That is why they can make the claim, also only doctors get to prescribe them, which is important to reduce the misuse of them. China's large population is something that didn't really happen until they adopted western medicine, they continued to have large families even after the infant mortality rate plummeted. Most of this was probably due to the Germ theory of disease, and the accompanying sanitation, along with dental work and antibiotics and pure drugs (reduced mortality from accidental overdose/underdose) but still you have to test in a double blind manner the preparation in order to tell if it actually functions, but even testing in vitro will go a long way towards seeing if the preparation actually works.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 1:10AM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

The US also sinks a whole lot more in to doctor salaries, and in to diagnostic equipment, and in to drug development, and in to higher insurance rates, and in to medical aid to third world countries. Incidentally The french have herbalism and other Supplements, complimentary, and alternative medicine quardoned off just like the US. Academics everywhere dislike the idea of using ancient knowledge over modern day double blinded placebo controlled trials. In France more people get treated with Western Medicine, and more people eat better, and fewer people are murdered, and more people use safer forms of transportation. Once you take out death by accidents the US healthcare system actually does very well for populations with medical coverage, and once you keep in mind that our trauma centers are by far and away the most effective in the world it seems only fair that the medical community should not take the rap for the detramental effects of gasolean.

OakLeif, why do you keep bringing up issues with the politics surrounding access to health care with out actually doing anything to show that Herbs would improve the situation. Yes there are major problems with our system, no that does not mean that any possible other syste will fix them.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 1:23AM
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The antifertility effect of Andrographis that's been noted in mice appears to be the reason for the caution against using it in pregnancy. I haven't heard that it has a documented effect as an abortifacient in humans.

The claim that Andrographis or any other drug is effective against such a wide range of organisms (fast-growing bacteria, slow reproducers like TB, viruses) should be viewed with skepticism. It's just not realistic to expect that any product will be a panacea, "good for what ails you", although that view still is popular in alternative medicine (just look at all the posts on apple cider vinegar, to provide one example).

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 1:34AM
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oakleif(z6 AR)

The Chinese have had a huge population for centurys(must be their herbal medicine and way of life) You really should educate yourself before you post here bren. Your knowledge of history and geography is pathatic and typical of young americans. The reason i keep bringing up the AMERICAN HEALTH CARE is because you said you were a biology cell researcher and thus a product of AHC system. eric says he is a doctor. You are both so anti herbalism and negative you should'nt even be here. Thats why i defend herbalism. eric could'nt even bring himself to let mullen(a perfectly innocent herb with no known side effects) slip by without a negative statement that it does little or no good) I put that herb out just to see what you'd say and to prove you could find no good in herbs. So just why are you here eric?
bren, no america does not help other countries as much as european countries do even tho they prey off of other americans to make money hand over fist. Try another tactic. France has the best known medical research in the world(Who beat the americans out in an AIDS drug?) There is also a well known research center with a large atomic microscope in the small town my ancestors came from. You could spend your time studing geography and get a little much needed education. people who live in a bubble never get far in life. You know bren there is hope for you
ever now and then i see a spark of humaness in you. OH HERBS are much cheaper than drugs so people who can't afford the medical quacks or herbal quacks, can use herbs. Since there is no cure for the comman cold(as it is virus caused) herbs does much better and cheaper than drugs.Specially if you grow your own.
Has anyone ever grown or taken or heard of Andographis?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 4:23AM
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"You are both so anti herbalism and negative you should'nt even be here."

Check out the opening post in this thread, which says "There's somewhat limited but encouraging evidence that this herb (Andrographis) is effective and relatively safe to use. More limited data suggest it may (as with echinacea) act to prevent an upper respiratory infection from developing."

That sounds positive to me, and certainly does more for herbalism than posting unrelated rants about the U.S. medical system.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 1:03PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

The population of China first began to grow during the Qing dynasty back in the mid 1700's and that was not due to a longer life expectancy or higher birth rates, but rather it was because China grew as an empire, encompasing more territory. The Chinese had a very high mortality rate, their Herbal medicine gave them an average 32 year lifespan. But there is plenty of food and China is a big place, so people could be fairly spread out and have very high birthrates. Western medicine also began to creep in around this time, most notably the germ theory of disease, which lead to a huge leap forward in sanitation in many places, which allowed for denser cities and that allowed the Chinese population to grow with out covering farm land (we always build houses over the best farm land, the Babylonians did it, the Mesopotamian did it, the Romans, Carthaginians, Egyptians, British, Aztec, Dutch, Americans, everyone, Han, Sui, Ming, Tang, Ming, Song, and Quing Chinese) but now with out giving up all of there farm land they could house most of there people in large cities. Following that the Chinese still had a low life expectancy but that has been climbing steadily for the last hundred years or so as western drugs and surgical practices gain wider spread use.

As for the French, I'm not sure which AIDS drug you are talking about, AZT was the first AIDS drug and it was invented in Michigan, Abacavir was made by GlaxoSmithCline (and the patent is up the day after christimas), I think that the Cocktail was a concepts that the American National Institutes of Health came up with too.

Water is cheaper than Herbs, and Air is even cheaper than water, Why not just breathe to make our selves healthy again? Being Inexpensive and not having negative side effects is not the only thing to take in to account, efficacy is a big one too.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 1:22PM
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oakleif(z6 AR)

Darling bren, Wrong on all counts. Though i do give you credit on doing some research on line for once But i do it forever like. In the mid 1700s wer'nt nobody in the know in western medicine Our death rates were much more miserable than chinas.
Actually France discovered the cure and it was stolen by some American doctor crook. You were still in diapers when that big fight brokeout.I was'nt and was going to college. Did a research paper on it bren. It ended in a tie but everyone knew the americans cheated.

China was a large country since time immorial and all asians had the basic medical knowledge when Western medicine and europeans came out of the caves. In the 1700s our main medical practice was mostly witchcraft. The Catholic monks were just beginning to use herbal medicines which they learned from arabic sources from the Holy Land and the Arabs learned it through the spice and silk routes from (HANG ON TO YOUR HAT) China. Oh and of course from local witches. They used herbs. Do you know the history of why so called witches came to be villified? Be glad to tell you if you ask nicely.
We would not have modern medicine without the knowledge of herbalism and folklore as a solid foundation to build on. So give credit where credit is due. There are some great things in modern medicine but there are also great fallacys. Mankind has a long way to go to completely come down from the trees(or savannah) Or from a christian point of view. Do you really think you'll ever know as much as God?
Actually air is not cheap and have you paid a water bill lately? Obiviously Not!!! We must not overlook the fact that if clean air and water were available without all the chemicals and ithout all the humans polluting everything (americans too) We'd be in great shape. Did you know the Native americans were very healthy before the white man came along and destroyed everything natural and spread disease. Of course they managed a little revenge they gave us sylphyllus. I can hear you say "not in america." Read about the polution spill in Tenn this week?

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 3:51AM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

I actually do not recall mentioning the state of medicine in the 1700's, what I was talking about in the mid 1700's was the expansion of the borders of China, I think we can all agree that that is not a matter of medical knowledge but rather a political and military issue. However the average European lifespan at that time was much better than the lifespan of the Chinese (think somewhere around 38 years, a relative difference equal to the relative difference between Andora which has the longest average lifespan at birth of any country at 82.67 years and Guatemala which is 111th on the list with 69.69 years, Of course the scale is not linear, and the difference between 38 and 32 is probably a whole lot more like the different between 85 and 50 when you look at relative medical knowledge), in fact the Chinese traditional medicine system really was one of the worst medical system ever, the european medical system at the time was probably a close second, but it held the seeds that lead to today's medical system, which has doubled life expectancy, which is really quite nice.

You are talking about the isolation of the virus, A story I am familiar with actually, and it did not end in a tie, the Nobel comity actually settled the issue in favor of the french team. Neither team was working on drugs, or cures, No one has discovered a cure yet although one man was functionally cured when he recieved a bone marrow transplant from a donor who had the CCR5x-Mu35 mutation which renders the Chemicine receptors that HIV attaches too unreceptive to the viral particle, accounting for a sizable percentage of the individuals who are immune to HIV.

Your view of history is quite skewed, when Europeans were mostly living in caves was long before the modern Asians (the round skulled "mongaloids") even existed, It is a very impressive feat to have any kind of medical system tens of thousands of years before you are born I will grant you that. The Geography of the asian continent is favorable for a unified china, its a great place to take over, so it can't help but be big, because if you manage to take a third you are going to take the whole thing, In 1 AD the roman empire actually had more people than china, this does not reflect on the medical systems nearly as much as it does the military.

I also find the claim that Catholic monks learned herbalism from the Arabs, The herbs that grow in the desert are quite distinct from the herbs that grow in the mountains, and the lowlands, and forests. Instead the European herbal traditions were developed by Europeans, and transient groups that moved about Europe such as the Gypsies. The Herbs that grow in china do not grow in the middle east either, although dried herbs were passed along the silk road for certain. I write as I read so I wrote the last bit before reading the witches part of your post, on that we agree, obviously, although I wouldn't necessarily call them witches.

The witch hunts were probably fueled largely by "Physicians" however, and all of this took place well before modern medicine, but many a midwife was treated as a witch and driven out of practice.

I will also agree that Modern medicine grew out of the folklore that preceded it, just like modern astronomy grew from astrology and chemistry from alchemy; but those prescientific endeavors are not what I would call the "a solid foundation" they were rotting wooden foundations stuck into the earth, and it was only through carefully going in and cutting out the rot and replacing it with solid knowledge that we were able to build great things where those failed attempts stood (that is assuming that we can all agree that 35 year lifespan after tend of thousands of years is a failure, if you consider that success then speak up, personally I like that we have doubled the average lifespan in the last 200 years using increasingly modern medicine).

I'm not sure what you are getting at with the Christian point of view issue, Did I claim to know more than God? (Or, dare I say it, to be a Christian? Are you going to attack me for my lack of Christian beliefs? I certainly hope that you will not, and think that I can expect that much from you) Did the Christian God ever claim to have provided Herbs for medicine? Or that we would never advance or skills beyond pure herbal medicine? Would you care to quote me some scripture or a precedent or are we working off of a revelation that happened directly to you? Incidentally (although I'd rather not make this a religious thread) do you put up and decorate a Christmas tree every year? Jeremiah 10:2-4 might be something for you to take a look at if that is the case.

When was the last time you paid for Air? Compressed air perhaps, or a can of air, or O2, CO2, or N2 gas, but no one gives you a bill for breathing. As for water yes you pay a big bill, especially if you live in an arid place, but really for ounce of water you are paying a negligible amount, its just that you use so much water, and you have to pay for it to be cleaned and pumped too you, and for the infrastructure that is used to do that. If you have a well no one charges you for it (although electricity for a well pump is not cheap).

I'm not really sure how pollution came in to this argument either, but I'll address the issue. It is absolutely undeniable that pollution from chemical spills and power plants and fires and the like are horrible for our health, Coal fired power plants are responsible for about 60,000 American deaths each year because they are such a large source of particulate pollution (we would need a Chernobyl sized accident every three weeks in the US to match that death toll, probably the environmental damage too) that is why I donate money to the green party, but this is all industrial pollution. If we look back to the Native Americans yes the diseases we brought over did major harm, and slaughtering them probably didn't help their numbers either, but they killed many Europeans and diseases spread both ways as you mentioned (Montezuma revenge?), The Native Aericans did not live in a garden of Eden however (well if you are Mormon I guess you think that some of them lived where the garden of Eden used to be somewhere in Missouri), They still had indoor fires (and they did not use chimneys to evacuate the smoke, which exposed them to a large number of carcinogens and particulate materials) and they had the same problems dealing with feces as the rest of humanity, the flush toilet is truly fantastic, The europeans just brought different germs (and possibly more, africa and eurasia and australia had traffic between them, spreading the disease around among a lot of people) the diseases were not necessarily worse.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 5:46AM
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Firstly, penicillin when it was first discovered, did not undergo "years of rigorous testing". Secondly, the point I would like to make is that broad spectrum antibiotics are, many of them, derived from natural substances that are made by bacteria and/or fungi; these are not the only living things making antibiotics. Other antibiotic sources are out there, and they work against a number of bacteria, etc. because of the type of chemical action the main constituent has. These are only recently being studied due to the western world view that no one else can do anything right. As to the population of China, it is currently not expanding and its population still is. Western medicine is still not really affordable in most areas to most people there. On the subject of affordable, Africans are now planting and using a Chinese remedy for malaria because it is affordable to grow.
On the subject of Andrgraphis, my information is from Charles Boulanger's "Chinese Herb Selection Guide". I have tried Andrographis for several problems and found it to be cheap (4.50/100 tabs) and effective. I have not, however, tried it for colds. I rarely get colds, and for most respiratory illnesses, as I have said before, I use Bi Yan Pian.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 1:42AM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Penicillin did not enter widespread use for many years after it was discovered, it did however undergo rigorous trials before being released for widespread use. In addition to that Penicillin was a home run drug, its effect were and are huge and very noticeable at every level. Many other drugs have more subtle effects, and when the effect it subtle it takes larger more rigorous trials to determine that they actually work. The western medical system has just recently started looking for other sources of antibiotics, just in the last two generations of doctors, but no one else was looking before the western medical system, so you can't play the game where you claim that the chinese are showing us the light; western medicine has been exploring all claims since the beginning.

On the subject on affordability that is a very nice thing, but really all the affordability in the world doesn't mean jack squat if the remedies do not work. In the west there is a medical paradox that we see. When ever a hospital sets out to drive down costs the costs go up, when ever a hospital sets out to improve outcome (through use of the best procedures and interventions) the costs fall, we need to focus on getting the best procedures and the means of production for these procedures into African hands, but that is a political issue and not an herbal versus non-herbal issue. X-ray machines can be built in Africa too.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 2:41AM
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"...the western world view that no one else can do anything right."

There is no "western world view" when it comes to medicine, rather an emphasis on evidence-based medicine (EBM) as opposed to relying on folklore and anecdotes. EBM is increasingly being adopted by the Chinese.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 9:07AM
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this thread has died too soon! Everyone, just google 'andrographis for cancer' 'andrographis treatment for influenza' 'andrographolide cancer cell death'. Basically, in its nature, it promotes the death of cancer cells, has been shown to cause protection of cells from certain cancers, anti-bacterial and anti-viral.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 6:45AM
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From your last link:

"Dietary supplements containing Andrographis are promoted for cancer prevention, cancer treatment, and to counter the toxicity of chemotherapy in humans, but clinical evidence is lacking."

The problem with andrographis (and many other herbs, supplements, organic and inorganic compounds and would-be prescription meds) is that while they may have shown anti-cancer activity in tissue culture or maybe rodents, that hasn't yet translated into safe and effective anti-cancer drugs in humans.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 8:28AM
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i wrote my herb school thesis on the ayurvedic herb andrographis, an amazing plant!

WHO is encouraging its cultivation globally for use as both folk medicine and as raw material for the pharmaceutical industry.

andrographis has proven its efficacy against cold/flu, cancers, serious febrile disease, etc. over and over again.

i use it daily as part of a formula starting in fall and going all winter as preventive medicine.

its nasty tasting, very bitter (it is a standard by which other bitters are measured) use the tincture instead of the tea.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:53AM
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Andrographis does not have proven efficacy against cancer. While it is promoted for this purpose, clinical evidence is lacking.

There are uses in herbal medicine (mostly for prevention/treatment of upper respiratory infections); on the other hand, a review by Memorial Sloan-Kettering describes side effects such as headache, fatigue, nausea and diarrhea as common. Other cautions: the herb may interact with numerous drugs and it is not recommended for use in pregnant or lactating women.

This post was edited by eric_oh on Thu, Jan 30, 14 at 12:39

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 12:37PM
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andrographis is used for cancers very effectively, its one of the fastest growing uses of this herb actually.

side effects arise when the herb is used in a reductionist fashion as is done in western modern medicine...hence you'll find many warnings in their literature.

when used energetically and holistically (as is done in the east where this herb is native) these side effects do not appear.

many things including herbs interact with rx drugs, andrographis is one because it makes the liver work so efficiently that rx drugs are processed very fast when for best action they need to remain in the body longer.

anytime a woman is pregnant or nursing she should be very careful with everything she ingests.

and finally, just because someone in an herbalism forum is ignorant or dismissive of a thing doesn't mean it doesn't exist or isn't real.

This post was edited by kaliaman on Thu, Jan 30, 14 at 17:01

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 4:06PM
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There's a very long list of supposed alternative cancer remedies, all with backers who swear up and down that their favorite works (but without anything more than anecdotes or just their say-so in support of their claims).

Responsible herbalists demand the same standards of evidence for their treatments as mainstream physicians.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 1:46PM
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responsible herbalists demand higher standards of most everything than mainstream physicians. its no coincidence that in this country our docs have the highest status and pay of docs anywhere, yet we have one of the sickest populations on the planet. whatever our docs are doing, it isn't working.

i've been to the CDC site and looked at mortality rates and causes, mistakes by hospitals and docs rank right up there. visit the site yourself and see.

one example of an herbalist's higher standards, there are LOTS more.

med students in the u.s. receive less than 24 hours of nutrition training throughout the course of their study.

an herbalist with my creds has over 1200 hours of nutrition training from a fully accredited nutrition school.

we know simplistically that food is medicine and you are what you eat. would you rather get your nutrition info from a doctor in the 7-11 minutes you're allowed into his office or from an herbalist who spends two hours on the first appointment getting to know who you are as a person over a cup of tea before making any recommendations? yeah, me too.

having said all that if i am in a serious accident, have an emergency like a heart attack or need surgery i want to be taken to a modern hospital fast! its what they do best. my mom was a nurse, my brother is a surgeon, my sister is an ob/gyn and i respect their work...but for wellness or preventive care advice, i want someone with a more expansive and holistic knowledge base.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 5:26PM
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We are getting far afield from Andrographis and suggesting people use it for cancer without valid evidence.

More than any other bad advice that's appeared in this forum over the many years I've posted, here, inappropriate claims for herbal or other alternative cancer therapy have the capacity to harm people and steer them away from treatments that actually have been shown to work.

If I have to see a physician with a serious medical complaint, I want to know that his/her suggested treatments have a sound evidentiary basis. I will not accept them if he/she says "trust me, I'm a doctor".

Similarly, people who consult a herbalist with a serious complaint deserve more than to hear "trust me, I'm a herbalist".

As for nutrition, physician education in nutrition could probably use improvement. They do however get far more than 24 credit hours in the course of their training (which includes practical exposure to nutrition-related issues during residency, fellowship, clinical practice and continuing medical education, as well as learning about diet-related issues through related courses in biochemistry, human physiology, pharmacology etc.

It is also worth noting that even limited coursework based on sound nutritional principles is far better than a slew of courses based on inaccurate nutritional woo.

To recap, Andrographis may have valid uses to prevent/treat some complaints including upper respiratory infections. But it is downright irresponsible and dangerous to suggest that it is appropriate to prescribe for cancer, without the person first having consulted a physician to get a proper diagnosis and learn about potentially curative treatment options (and whether any alternative remedies might interact negatively with those treatments).

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 11:15AM
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some people are so arrogant they call oncologists using andrographis irresponsible.

an oncologist friend laughed hard about that and instead warned folks from visiting the doctor who'd say something so obviously uninformed.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 3:12PM
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I did not call oncologists using andrographis irresponsible. Here's what I said:

"it is downright irresponsible and dangerous to suggest that (andrographis) is appropriate to prescribe for cancer, without the person first having consulted a physician to get a proper diagnosis and learn about potentially curative treatment options (and whether any alternative remedies might interact negatively with those treatments)."

If any practitioner (physician, herbalist or other) treats a cancer patient solely with andrographis when an effective evidence-basis remedy exists, then yes, that practitioner is irresponsible (at the very least).

Do feel free to post any verifiable evidence that andrographis is effective against cancer, and to list any oncologists who believe it is appropriate stand-alone cancer therapy.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 5:02PM
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