Chinese herb seems to help fight colds, promote sleep

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

February 13, 2000|By JOE GRAEDON AND TERESA GRAEDON | JOE GRAEDON AND TERESA GRAEDON,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Q. I am curious about an herbal supplement called Kan Jang (Andrographis paniculata). I have read that it can treat cold symptoms, but I would like your opinion. What do you think of using it for prevention during the cold and flu season?

A. Andrographis paniculata is a Chinese herb (chuan xin lian) popular in Scandinavia under the brand name Kan Jang. It is used for preventing as well as treating colds and other upper respiratory infections. Double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have shown that it lowers fever and relieves symptoms such as sore throat, nasal congestion and tiredness as well as headache.

This herb stimulates the immune system. It also seems to promote sleep, which might help you feel better if you come down with a cold. We think this natural product might be one of the more interesting treatments available for colds.

Side effects are uncommon, but some people experience dizziness, hives or heart palpitations. Don't combine this herb with ginkgo or Coumadin. Like ginkgo, Kan Jang can inhibit platelet-activating factors and might interact with an anticoagulant to cause excessive bleeding.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of The Sun, Features Department, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278 or e-mail them via their Web site (www.peoplespharmacy.com) on the HealthCentral.com network.

King Features Syndicate

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.