Kalmegh / Andrographis
Properties /Uses : Kalmegh is a bitter annual erect herb with small white flowers. The fruit is a pod with 10-12 seeds which are yellowish brown and glabrous. The plant is found in the plains throughout India and Sri Lanka. The plant is collected from wild sources for domestic consumption.
Kalmegh is an ingredient of medicine commonly used as bitter tonic and febrifuge. The hot water extract of whole plant is used for acute jaundice and it acts as antidysentric agent. The extract of dried leaves and stem is used to treat stomach worms. The plant is used in dysentery, cholera, diabetes, influenza, bronchitis, piles and gonorrhea. Its decoction is used for sluggishness of liver in jaundice and as blood purifier.
The extract from Kalmegh has been used for liver complaints and fever, and as an anti-inflammatory and immunostimulant. In clinical trials, Andrographis extract has been studied for use as an immunostimulant in upper respiratory tract infections and HIV infection. The potential of andrographolide as an anticancer agent is being investigated.