Botanical Name : Andrographis paniculata
Common Names : Kalmegh, Green chireyta, King of Bitter, Bhunimba
Introduction : Kalmegh (andrographis) is an annual herb. It is extremely bitter, acrid, cooling and laxative. In India, it is sometimes called "Indian Echinacea".
Plant Description : Kalmegh grows erect to a height of 30-110 cm in moist shady places with glabrous leaves and white flowers having rose-purple spots on the petals. Flowers are small, solitary in panicles. Fruit is approximately 2 cm long. Seeds are numerous, yellow-brown in colour.
Distribution : Kalmegh is found throughout plain regions in India and other Asian countries.
History : In Ayurveda the drug has been described as antipyretic and hepatoprotective. Cold infusion of the drug is mentioned in Sushruta Samhita for fever and liver disorders and recommended in Charaka Samhita for treatment of Jaundice. This herb is used by the Chinese in extract form for diseases of the throat.
Parts Used : Mostly the leaves.
Chemistry : Kalmegh (andrographis) contains bitter principles andrographolide, a bicyclic diterpenoid lactone and Kalmeghin.