1. Andrographis paniculata (Burm. f) Nees, commonly known as 'king of bitters', is a herbaceous plant belonging to the Family Acanthaceae. It has been widely used for centuries in Asian countries like China, India, Thailand and Malaysia for the treatment of sore throat, flu and upper respiratory tract infections. 2. Andrographolide, 14-deoxy-11,12-didehydroandrographolide and neoandrographolide are examples of the major labdane diterpenoids isolated from A. paniculata. These bioactive molecules have exhibited varying degrees of anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities in both in vitro and in vivo experimental models of inflammation and cancer. 3. Extensive libraries of andrographolide analogues have been synthesised mainly by modifying the α,β-unsaturated γ-butyrolactone moiety, the two double bonds Δ(8,(17)) and Δ(12,(13)) and the three hydroxyls at C-3 (secondary), C-14 (allylic) and C-19 (primary). Many of these synthetic analogues exhibit superior anticancer activity over the naturally occurring andrographolides. 4. Andrographolide and its derivatives have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in experimental models of asthma, stroke and arthritis, as well as in patients with upper respiratory tract infections. Andrographolide reduces the production of cytokines, chemokines, adhesion molecules, nitric oxide and lipid mediators, probably via inhibition of the nuclear factor (NF)-κB signalling pathway. 5. The anticancer mechanisms for andrographolide include inhibition of Janus tyrosine kinases-signal transducers and activators of transcription, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and NF-κB signalling pathways, suppression of heat shock protein 90, cyclins and cyclin-dependent kinases, metalloproteinases and growth factors, and the induction of tumour suppressor proteins p53 and p21, leading to inhibition of cancer cell proliferation, survival, metastasis and angiogenesis. 6. Andrographolide drug discovery is a promising strategy for the development of a novel class of anti-inflammatory and anticancer drugs.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.