The herb, Andrographis, is being tested as a natural remedy against colds and flu—and treating common problems like these with antibiotics is bringing closer the era of the drug-resistant superbugs.
Andrographis, known as 'king of the bitters', grows in India and Sri Lanka—and was thought to be responsible for combatting the Spanish flu epidemic that had reached the sub-continent by 1919.
Researchers from the University of Southampton have recruited 20 surgeries to participate in the trial, which will be using Andrographis supplements supplied by Pukka Herbs, the tea and herbals company.
It's a placebo-controlled study—which means patients could be given the real herb or a dummy version—that will look at the herb's abilities to help treat acute coughs, sore throats and sinusitis.
The results should be announced by the summer and could form the platform for a larger study involving more patients with an acute respiratory infection.