Herbs for Every One
Botanical Name: Andrographis paniculata (ACANTHACEAE)
English Name: Indian echinacea, andrographis
Hindi Name: Kalmegh
Introduction: The controvery in the identity of
Kalamegha and Kiratatikta is similar to that between Brahmi
(B.monnieri) and Mandukaparni (C.asiatica). Now, there is no
more controversy since the former is identified as A.
paniculata while the later is identified as Swertia chirata.
Both the plants are often called by a common name Bhunimba.
This plant is traditionally used for the management of
fevers and wound healing. In the recent years it is well
known for its hepatoprotective activity and anti-hepatitis
Distribution: It is an erect annual herb found
throughout the hotter and tropical parts of India from UP to
MP, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamilnadu, Punjab, Haryana etc.
Chemical Constituents: Andrographolides, kalameghin,
andrographin, andrographidine A, B, C, D, E & F,
andrographoside, neoandrographolide, paniculides etc.
Parts Used: Whole plant.
Properties: Febrifuge, bitter, alterative,
anthelmintic, digestive etc.
Indications: Hepatitis, fevers, diabetes, worm
infestation, jaundice, anemia, wounds etc.
Dose: 2-3 g of powder & 30-60 ml decoction.
- Vomiting: Paste of kalamech (5g) is mixed with
sugar+honey and given orally.
- Diabetes: Powder is taken twice daily with water (2-3g).
Anti-snake venom activity: It is used as curative or
preventive in snake bite (I.M.J. 1963, 57, 307).
Heptatoprotective activity: It increased biliary flow and
liver weight in rats and decreased hexabarbital-induced
sleeping time ( Ind.J. Exp. Biol. 1978, 6, 830).
Hepatoprotective activity of andrographolide was reported in
acute hepatitis in rats ( IJMR, 1990, 92, 284).
Cardiovascular activity: Pretreatment with a single dose of
kalamech leaf ( 500 mg/kg p.o) or andrographolide (5ml/kg
p.o.) prevented CCI4-included increase of SGOT and SGPT but
decreased liver levels of these enzymes in dog ( IRCS Med.
Sci. 1984, 12, 466). Total root flavonoids effective against
experimental myocardial ischemic necrosis induced by
isoprenaline in rats and by ligation of left descending
coronary artery in rabbits; decreased infarction size and
pathological changes in ST segment and Q wave inhibited (
Zhongcaoyao, 1987, 18, 315).
Anticancer activity: Leaf extract showed significant
cytotoxicity against KB and P388 cells ( J.Sci.Res; Thailand
1992, 18, 187).
Cultivation Technology: The plant is cultivated on
wide range of soil from loam to lateritic soils with
moderate fertility. Seeds are sown in nuesry beds during
April-May under irrigated and July-August under un-irrigated
conditions. 15-20 cm long seedlings are transplanted to the
main plots at the distance of 30x30 cm. Irrigate the field
immediately after transplanting and later as and when
Harvesting: The crop becomes ready for harvest in
100-150 days after planting on the initiation of flowering.
Entire plant is cut at the base with the help of a sickle
and dried in shade.