Thailand inmates are taking green chiretta to fight mild COVID – here’s what we know about this herbal drug

The news that inmates in Thailand are being handed capsules of a herbal medicine called green chiretta (Andrographis paniculata) to treat asymptomatic and mild COVID is unlikely to come as a surprise to the average Thai citizen.

In Thailand, healthcare professionals and the public alike are familiar with green chiretta – nicknamed the “king of bitters” – which is as popular as paracetamol for treating cold and flu.

In 1991, researchers at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, concluded after a clinical trial that chiretta (6g a day) was as effective as paracetamol (4g a day) at relieving fever and sore throat in patients with inflammation of the pharynx and tonsils (pharyngotonsillitis). Since then, several reviews have found that chiretta may be more effective than placebo at treating uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infections. Reported side-effects tend to be mild and short-lived.

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Jose Prieto Garcia