The Government of Thailand has approved the use of the traditional herb, andrographis (Andrographis paniculata) in a pilot study aimed at reducing the initial symptoms and subsequent severity of COVID-infected individuals. Initial studies reported by the Thai government demonstrated what traditional herbalists have known for a long time; when andrographis is given within the first 72 hours of experiencing symptoms, the symptoms subside and patient conditions are improved within three days, without side effects and with reduced costs.
Thailand reported 250 new cases on Dec. 27, 2020, taking the nation’s total to almost 7,000, a rate of increase in local transmissions that alarmed government officials to urge people to stay at home to prevent the virus from spreading further. The government has also banned large gatherings in high-risk areas, said Taweesilp Witsanuyotin, a spokesperson for the national Covid-19 response center.
• The herbal treatment will be on a voluntary basis for those in the 18-60 age group with minor symptoms and should be within 72 hours of confirming infections.
• The extract from the plant, known as Fah Talai Jone in Thai, can curb virus and reduce severity of inflammation, ministry says citing studies.
• Human trials showed patient conditions improved within three days of the treatment without side effects if the medicine is administered within 72 hours of testing positive.
According to Roy Upton, president of The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, “Mobilizing immune defenses as soon as symptoms arise is critically important for management of any upper respiratory infection. It is a strategy employed by Chinese herbal practitioners for centuries and is a formal part of treatment protocols in China where more than 90% of COVID patients are treated with herbs.”
“Conversely, formal policies in the US for COVID patients is take a test, wait three days for the results as the disease progresses, stay away from everyone, wear a mask, and wash your hands. It is about time the American medical system paid attention to Asian experience.”
This approval has a strong foundation as numerous studies, including at least one meta-analysis, have demonstrated the antiviral potential of andrographis in reducing symptoms and severity of influenza in adults and children. This may be especially important considering that the new variants of COVID, unlike the original strain, reportedly is targeting children.
Andrographolide, a primary compound of andrographis, has been shown to reduce the inflammatory response associated with influenza as well as reduce bacteria that causes pneumonia, a primary need for management of COVID.
According to Upton, “COVID patients in the US are at a distinct disadvantage in not integrating herbal medicines into the management of COVID. Luckily, Americans have access to herbal supplements if they have the education of their benefits.”