Common Name : Kalmegh
Botanical Name : Andrographis Paniculata
Family : Acanthaceae
Other Names : Andrographis, Kiryat, Senshinren, Kirata.
Plant Parts Used : Fresh and Dried Leaves, Whole Plant
Habitat : The plant grows commonly in hedgerows in moist and shady places in the plains of India. It is also cultivated all over India.
Plant Description : This annual grows to a height of ½ - 1 metre with a tap root. Branching is profuse, leaves are green, lanceolate, 3-7 x 1-2.3 cm glabrous with slightly undulate margin, its apex is acuminate with a tapering base. Flowers are small and solitary; Corolla is whitish or light pink in color, hairy. Fruit is a capsule, linear, oblong and acute at both ends, seeds are numerous2.
It is a principal herb in the domestic medicine called 'Alui', which is given to infants. Both in Ayurveda and Unani. For centuries, the Ayurvedic practitioners of India have used the roots and leaves of the herb Andrographis Paniculata to treat ailments ranging from poor digestion to hepatitis. In the Chinese medical tradition, the plant has been used to treat everything from gastrointestinal complaints to throat infections. Although some early scientific studies suggested that andrographis has a direct antimicrobial action, the weight of clinical evidence now shows that the real value of this ancient herb is as a stimulant for the immune system.
Active Ingredients : Bitter diterpenoid lactones, especially deoxy-andrographolide, andrographolide and ncoandrographolide have been isolated from the whole plant and leaves.
Diterpene dimers Flavonoids available in the roots.
The main active constituents and marker compounds are considered to be the andrographolides and andrographis extracts are often standardized to these compounds. New natural flavonols viz. aroxylin, wogonin, andrographidines A,B,C,D,E & F have been isolated from the roots.
It increases biliary flow and liver weight in rat. Andrographolide produces a significant dose dependent choleretic effect, as evidence by increase in bile flow, bile salt and bile acids in conscious rats and anaesthetised guinea pigs.
It shows hepatoprotective action. It improves non-specific immune response. Although both andrographis and beta glucan effective immune enhancers, Extracts of andrographis,have been shown to stimulate powerful immune responses in living creatures. The immune response may be specific directed at a microbial invader already present in the body, or generally, strengthening the immune system in preparation against future infections. Andrographis strongly stimulates phagocytosis and the production of specific antibodies.
Digestive : Promotes digestion
Hepatoprotective : Protects the liver and gall bladder.
Vermicidal : Kills intestinal worms & support intestine
Anti-acne : Protect skin from pimples
Analgesic : Pain killer
Anti-inflammatory : Reduces swelling and cuts down exudation from capillaries
Antibacterial : Fights bacterial activity. Although Andrographis appears to have weak direct antibacterial action, it has remarkably beneficial effect in reducing diarrhea and symptoms arising from bacterial infections.
Expectorant : Promotes mucus discharge from the respiratory system.
Hypoglycemic : Blood sugar reducer.
Laxative : Aids bowel elimination
Sedative : A relaxing herb, though not with the same effect as the accepted herbal sedatives, valerian roots, hops, skullcap, etc.