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King Of Bitters ~ Therapeutic Powers ~ 27/04/08

(Andrographis paniculata)

King Of Bitters is a herb with many therapeutic powers and actions: antibacterial, antibiotic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, anti-thrombotic, anti-viral, anti-microbial, digestive, blood purifier, prophylactic, vermicidal and adaptogen (helps to normalise a physical function, depending on what the individual needs, eg it will lower high blood pressure, or raise low blood pressure).

It is a very bitter herb  no wonder it has been called King of bitters . The bitterness has not deterred people who seek out the herb for protection from the Avian Flu.

I find that chewing 3-4 leaves and then following it with something sweet, like fruit, helps the medicine go down  and the bitterness is only on the taste buds for 30 seconds. Some people make the leaves as a tea. The tea can be sweetened with licorice root.

King of bitters has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, revered for infectious diseases and for its preventative action. The Spanish flu of 1919 was a global epidemic that killed millions of people, worldwide, causing grief and hardship to many families. In India, where the benefits of this herb were well known, andrographis was credited with stopping the deadly virus.

Today, many people find it is valuable as an infusion of 2-4 leaves in boiling water (or the fresh leaves are chewed) to prevent the common cold, flu, viruses and bacteria. The herb in studies, has shown solid evidence of success in treating colds during the first stages of a cold, and can reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.

This herb assists the body to make antibodies to counteract invading microbes and to act as a scavenger to destroy invaders and cancer cells. Research scientists have found that the andrographolides in the plant can cross the blood-brain barrier, and it is also of benefit to the central nervous system. Some of the therapeutic uses of king of bitters include: fevers, fibromyalgia, edema, headaches, inflammation and muscular pain, fatigue, hepatitis; respiratory, skin and lymphatic conditions; multiple sclerosis, lupus, candida, diabetes, diarrhea, thrombosis, and malaria. With scientists saying the super-bugs  of our present age are becoming resistant to the most powerful antibiotics, the therapeutic powers of king of bitters could help to give us protection.

Isabell Shipard

Shipards Herb Farm News

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