The hepatoprotective activity of andrographis has been investigated using several different experimental rat models: galactosamine, paracetamol and carbon tetrachloride (Handa & Sharma 1990a, b, Rana & Avadhoot 1991). In all models, treatment led to complete normalisation of toxin-induced increases in the levels of key biochemical parameters, and significantly reduced toxin-induced histopathological changes to the liver. Andrographolide is one of the key active constituents responsible for this activity (Handa & Sharma 1990b, Rana & Avadhoot 1991). Results from animal studies suggest that the hepatoprotective effect of andrographolide is more potent than that of silymarin, from the herb St Mary's thistle (Rana & Avadhoot 1991,Visen etal 1993).

Analogous to silymarin, the activity is a result of several similar mechanisms working together. Andrographis increases liver superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase and catalase concentrations, thereby increasing endogenous antioxidant production by the liver (Trivedi & Rawal 2001). A hepatocyte cell-membrane-stabilising activity has also been observed (Puri et al 1993, Upadhyay etal 2001).


Andrographolide produces a significant dose-dependent increase in bile flow and bile salt and acid production (Shukla et al 1992).

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