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Kalmegh
Alternate Names: Andrographis penniculata
Part used:
Roots and Leaves.

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Andrographis paniculata is easily grown and considered an annual or biennial bush. It will grow in sun or partial shade to a height of 18 inches to over 4 feet. An erect shrub, Andrographis is green with sparse lanceolate leaves up to 5 inches long on green stems. The leaves are scentless. The shrub’s small flowers are tubular-shaped and white with pale violet streaks. The seeds are known to drop quickly if not harvested. The whole plant has a bitter taste due to the pungent diterpenoid lactones, hence the name “king of bitters” in some places.

It is found in a variety of habitats, such as plains, hillsides and coastlines. It is also found in disturbed and cultivated areas such as roadsides, farms and wastelands.

  • The herb has been widely used as a treatment for the common cold, flu, upper respiratory infections, and a variety of infectious diseases.
  • Herbal treatment for diseases and ailments such as diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, pneumonia, swollen lymph nodes, leprosy, bronchitis, sore throats, tuberculosis, chicken pox, coughs, headaches, ear infection, inflammation, burns and mumps.
  • Andrographis was used as a treatment for malaria, as a replacement for quinine.
  • This bitter shrub has shown immunity-boosting capabilities by stimulating the body’s natural immune systems. Japanese researchers have reported that the plant is effective in preventing the multiplication of cancer cells.
  • Andrographolides in the plant are thought to enhance immune function such as in the production of white blood cells, to support the release of interferon, and to promote healthy activity of the lymphatic system.
  • Herbalists use this medicinal herb for many conditions for its anti-inflammatory action. It is used as an herbal treatment for pain associated with conditions such as muscular pain, arthritis, rheumatism, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis.
  • Andrographis is believed to be effective in the treatment of liver and gall bladder conditions such as viral hepatitis, jaundice, drug-induced liver damage, liver congestion and sluggish liver.
  • The plant has antioxidant properties that may aid in sugar regulation in people with diabetes by reducing blood sugar concentration.
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