Objective: To assess the efficacy of Andrographis paniculata in the symptomatic treatment of uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection.
Methods: Systematic review of the literature and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Mean difference in the reduction in symptom severity scores between treatment and control groups was calculated to obtain an overall estimate of effect.
Results: Four studies met our inclusion criteria and were reviewed. A total of 433 patients reported in three trials were included in the statistical analysis. Andrographis paniculata fixed combination with Acanthopanax senticosus was more effective than placebo. The mean difference was 2·13 points (95% CI 1·00–3·26 points, P = 0·0002) on the symptom severity score. The difference in effects between A. paniculata and placebo was 10·85 points (95% CI 10·36–11·34 points, P < 0·0001) in favour of A. paniculata.
Conclusion: Current evidence suggests that A. paniculata extract alone or in combination with A. senticosus extract may be more effective than placebo and may be an appropriate alternative treatment of uncomplicated acute upper respiratory tract infection.