Sambiloto (Andrographis paniculata) has been extensive studied, most of it in the last half of the 20th century, and much of it concentrating on Sambiloto’s pharmacological composition, safety, efficacy, and mechanisms of action. A good deal of this research has centered around a screening technique called signal transduction technology – probably best explained in a seminal work by Jean Barilla, M.S.:
”One of the criticisms made by the conventional medical and scientific community regarding dietary supplements is that their development and use have been based on folklore, not science. Using signal transduction technology to investigate the effect on a botanical or other nutrition supplement on the cell-level processes of cells is good science. This approach will legitimize the nutritional approach to the prevention and treatment of disease and speed the process of development of new and more effective supplements. Importantly, this technology avoids the use of animal testing, which often lasts for years before a supplement is approved for human use; not using animals is an additional benefit those who consider animal testing to be inhumane. In addition to saving time and animals, this technology reduces the costs involved in getting a supplement to market – a saving which will be passed on to consumers.
“Using signal transduction technology, extracts of Andrographis paniculata (Sambiloto) have been found to counteract interference with the cell cycle. Such interference is the basis for the development of cancer or infection with viruses such as HIV. Andrographolides are thought to enhance immune system functions such as production of white blood cells (scavengers of bacteria and other foreign matter), release of interferon, and activity of the lymph system. Interferon is a protein (called a cytokine) made by cells in response to viruses. It is a potent antiviral agent and is also antiproliferative (stops the reproduction of viruses).
The lymph system is an important part of the immune system. Briefly, it is another circulatory system (like the vascular system) that carries a fluid, the lymph. The lymph carries away the by-products of cellular metabolism and also acts as a shuttle for invading bacteria and viruses, taking them to the lymph nodes where the white blood cells (lymphocytes) destroy them. Sambiloto, a superb immune system enhancer, is even more effective when combined with immune stimulators, such as the herb Meniran. The theory behind the mechanism of operation also confirms that Andrographolides are also likely to be useful in conventional cancer therapy after suitable scientific confirmation.
Several studies have looked at the disposition of andrographolide in various organs of the body. Biodistribution experiments have been done in experimental animals. Following injection of radioactively labeled andrographolide, this compound appears to be widely distributed in the body. High concentrations are noted in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and other organs with high blood flow, including the colon, spleen, heart, lungs, and kidneys. Andrographolide appears to have a relatively short half-life of approximately two hours.
The term “half-life” refers to the time when the concentration of the compound in the body is half of what it originally was when it entered the body. This is what is left after the compound has been metabolized (broken down), changed into other forms (called metabolites), and excreted by one of several routes (urine, feces, exhaled air, sweat, or other body excretions). Compounds with short half-lives need to be given often since they do not stay in the body for long. Andrographolides are excreted fairly rapidly from the body via the urine and gastrointestinal tract. In some studies, 80 percent of the administered dose of andrographolide is removed from the body within eight hours, with excretion rates of more than 90 percent of the compound within forty-eight hours. A daily dose is needed for effectiveness.
The wide tissue and organ distribution and the immune-stimulating and regulatory actions of Sambiloto make it an ideal candidate in the prevention and treatment of many diseases and conditions.