Kalamegha (Bhunimba) Andrographis paniculata: Uses, Side Effects

Kalamegha- Andrographis paniculata is an Ayurvedic herb, used for the treatment of diseases of the liver, skin diseases, lack of appetite, fever and purification of the blood. 

Latin name- Andrographis paniculata Nees.
Family- Acanthaceae – Vasa Kula

Names in different languages:
English  –  The creat
Hindi name- Kalamegha, Kalpanath
Bengali name- Kalamegh
Gujarathi name- Kariyathu, Litu Kariyat
Kannada name- Nelabevu
Marathi name- Kiriath
Malayalam name- Nelavepu, Nelavemu, Nilavaepu
Tamil name- Nelavemu, Nilavembu
Telugu name- Nelavemu
Urdu name- Bhooinimo

Sanskrit Synonyms of Kalmegh:
Yavatikta, Kalpanath, Yavakharaphala, Shankini, Bhunimba.

Morphology of Andrographis paniculata:
Kalamegha is a small herb growing to a height of 1- 3 feet and is found all over plains of India. The stem is weak and has small hairs at the top. The flowers are small and white or purplish in color. The fruits are small, round and the seeds are pale brown in color. The flowers and fruits are seen in spring to summer season.

Distribution:
Plant is  found  throughout  India, especially in West Bengal. Generally it is found in gardens, rural areas & waste places .
It is also found in Central India , Kerala , Assam , Andra Pradesh , Bihar , West Bengal & other provinces in India.

कालमेघस्तु भूनिम्बो यवाकारफलस्तथा ।
सुतिक्तः लघुरुक्षोष्णाः कफपित्तविनाशकृत् ||  ( द्र. गु. वि)

Bhunimba – medicinal properties:
Rasa (Taste) – Tikta (Bitter)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light for digestion), Ruksha (Dry in nature)
Vipaka –  Katu (Undergoes Pungent taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Karma (Actions) – Kaphapitta shamaka (reduces vitiated kapha and pitta dosha)

Part used- Whole plant
Dosage-
Juice- 5 to 10 ml
Powder- 1 to 3 g
Decoction- 20-30 ml

Andrographis paniculata chemical constituents:
Whole plant contains lactones – andrographolide , 14 – deoxy , 11 – oxo andrographolide , 14 – deoxy 11 , 12 – didehydro –  andrographolide  , 14 – deoxy andrographolide & meandrographolide , iridoid glucoside , 5 – hydroxyl – 3 , 78  2’– tetraancthoxyflavone, flavonoid 5- hydroxyl-7, 8 – dinecthoxy flavone glucoside ncoandrographolide,. The roots contain andrographin, panicolin, apigenin, andrographolide, flavone andrographone, flavonoid glucoside 2’5 dihydroxy-7, 8-dimethoxy flavone-2-0 ß glucoside & 3 ß hydroxy-5-stignuasa – 9 (11) 22(23) – diene.

Uses of Kalamegha:

  • In case of nausea and vomiting, the paste of Bhunimba is given with honey.
  • The decoction of Andrographis paniculata is given in a dose of 20-30 ml to treat fever, inflammation of the liver and jaundice.
  • The cold infusion of the plant is given in a dose of 40-50 ml to treat impurity of the blood and is used as blood purifier.
  • The paste of the plant is used to treat skin diseases like eczema, depigmentation of skin etc.
  • The powder of the dried plant is given in a dose of 2- 3g with hot water of juice of Shunti to improve the appetite and digestion.
  • The powder of Andrographis paniculata is given in a dose of 2-3 g with powder of black pepper to treat malaria and fever.

Uses of Kalamegha as per Ayurveda:
Yakrut uttejaka – stimulates liver
Pittasaraka – lets out Pitta from the body
Recana – useful in expelling vitiated Pitta
Krimighna – useful in worm infestation
Svedajanana – stimulates sweating, useful in fever
Kusthaghna – useful in skin disorders
Jvaraghna – useful in fever
Katupaustika – bitter pungent, yet nourishing.

Adverse effect: No adverse effect is known or reported after the normal use of Kalamegha

Formulations containing Kalamegha:
Arjin tablet: This is a proprietary ayurvedic medicine used for the treatment of hypertension.
Clearliv tablet: This is a proprietary ayurvedic medicine used for the treatment of hepatic diseases like jaundice, fatty liver etc.

Muniliv tablet: It is a medicine useful for the treatment of hepatic diseases, acts like anti- oxidant and immuno modulatory purpose.
Gopichandanadi gulika: It is a ayurvedic medicine useful to treat fever, common cold and convulsion.
Biolivac tablet: It is a medicine useful to treat liver disorders like jaundice, fatty liver and promotes digestion and appetite. 

Research articles related to Andrographis paniculata:
Anti- bacterial activity: The present study was conducted to investigate the antibacterial effect of Andrographis paniculata against selective human pathogens. The results reveal that 75μl was optimum for all the test cultures. It shows more activity in E.coli(32.3mm) followed by S. Typhi(28.1mm), Staphylococcus sp.(14.1mm) and Pseudomonas sp.(13.4 mm).

Hepato- protective action: The effect of Andrographis Paniculata extract was studied on CCL4 induced hepatic damage in rats. The degree of protection was measured by physical, biochemical changes. Pre-treatment with extract significantly prevented the physical, biochemical changes induced by CCL4in the liver. The effects of Andrographis paniculata could be useful in preventing chemically induced acute liver injury. It can be concluded that the aqueous extract of A.Paniculata almost significant effective in the standard drug.

Anti- oxidant and Anti- microbial study: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the in vitro antioxidant activity of the Hexane, DCM and Methanol extracts of Andrographis paniculata Nees. n DPPH assay, the IC50 values obtained for Hexane, DCM and Methanol extracts were 223.3μg/ml, 69.32μg/ml and 82.23μg/ml respectively. In the Total reducing capacity assay, activity increased in dose dependent manner for all the three plant extracts. The antimicrobial activity of the extracts was evaluated using the Broth Dilution Method. The results obtained in the present study indicate that the leaves of Andrographis paniculata showed the best antibacterial activity against the gram positive organisms ie; S.aureus and S. pyogenes.

Adultrants
Kalmegh is substitute of kiratatikta on account of bitterness & it is also an adulterant of kiratatikta – Swertia chirata

Systemic classification:
Kingdom – Plantae
Phyllum   – Angiopherneae
Class        – Magnatiatae
Order       – Scrophalarialus
Family     – Acanthaceae

Author:
Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: drprashanthbk@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 


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