Kalmegh / King of Bitters – Andrographis Paniculata

Kalmegh / Green Chiretta / Alui, Bhui-neem / Bhunimba / Chuanxinlian / Mahatita / King of Bitters

is an annual herbaceous plant in the family Acanthaceae, is native to Taiwan, Mainland China, India and Sri Lanka. The plant grows 30 to 110 cm in height. All plant parts have an extremely bitter taste. The leaf and underground stem are used to make medicine. All parts of this plant are used to extract the active phytochemicals, but the compositions of phytoconstituents widely differ from one part to another and with place, season, and time of harvest. Andrographolide is the major constituent extracted from the leaves of the plant and is a bicyclic diterpenoid lactone. A. paniculata might work by stimulating the immune system. It might also prevent influenza viruses from binding to cells in the body. Traditionally, andrographis has been used for liver complaints and fever, and as an anti-inflammatory and immunostimulant, for the common cold, osteoarthritis, infection of the throat and tonsils (tonsillopharyngitis), a type of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis).


  • Common cold. Taking andrographis alone or as part of an herbal combination product seems to improve cough and sore throat in some people with the common cold. Some research also shows that taking a combination product (Kan Jang, Swedish Herbal Institute) containing andrographis and eleuthero improves symptoms of the common cold when started within 72 hours of feeling sick. Some symptoms can improve after 2 days of treatment, but it usually takes 4-5 days of treatment before most symptoms go away. Some research shows that this combination product relieves cold symptoms in children better than echinacea. Also, early research shows that taking an andrographis extract (KalmCold) alone might help treat colds. Other research shows that taking andrographis alone for 2 months might help prevent colds.
  • Osteoarthritis. Some research shows that taking andrographis extract daily seems to reduce pain and stiffness in people with mild or moderate osteoarthritis of the knee.
  • Infection of the throat and tonsils (tonsillopharyngitis). Some research shows that andrographis 6 grams daily works about as well as acetaminophen (Tylenol) to reduce fever and pain from tonsillitis.
  • A type of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis). Early research shows that taking andrographis extract daily for 8 weeks reduces symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease about as well as the drug mesalamine.

Contraindications: Contraindications have not been identified. Andrographis is safe when taken appropriately for up to 12 months. It also appears to be safe when taken as a specific combination product containing andrographis extract and eleuthero (Kan Jang, Swedish Herbal Institute) for 4-7 days. Andrographis can cause side effects such as loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, headache, runny nose, and fatigue. When used in high doses, andrographis might cause swollen lymph glands, serious allergic reactions, elevations of liver enzymes, and other side effects.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Avoid use. Adverse effects, including abortifacient effects, have been documented.

“Auto-immune diseases” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Andrographis might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it’s best to avoid using andrographis.

Low blood pressure: Research suggests that andrographis might lower blood pressure. This has not been seen in humans. In theory, however, andrographis might lower pressure too much if taken by people who already have low blood pressure.

Bleeding conditions: Andrographis might slow blood clotting. This might increase the risk of bleeding or bruising in people with bleeding disorders.