The wide range of both traditional and modern applications of andrographis is surprising, with mounting evidence that it benefits the immune system, cardiovascular system, liver and...the list goes on. Can one herb really do so many things?

This question is not just limited to andrographis but extends to many herbs. The reason seems to be that we have become accustomed to looking at herbs just like we look at allopathic medicines. We are used to thinking that A is for B and C is for D, and that there is a one-to-one relationship between a medicine and a condition.

Yet, for two significant reasons, this allopathic perspective does not truly transfer to the natural pharmacy of herbal medicine.

The first is an herb's biochemistry. Herbs are made up of hundreds of different chemical constituents, each having its own unique effect on the body, with the potential of it being able to synergistically affect more than one organ, system, condition or symptom. The second is the traditional view of its energetics, which is an important quality in healing systems like Traditional Chinese Medicine. For example, according to Matt Ferguson, LAc, andrographis has cold and bitter qualities; clears heat and dispels toxins; and enters the lung, stomach and large intestine areas. Hence, we can see how, from this perspective, it has far-reaching applications in supporting health.

By looking at andrographis or other traditionally used herbs with a different paradigm than we apply to allopathic medicine, we can better appreciate and benefit from the healing power of nature's pharmacy.