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Andrographis paniculata is an annual herbaceous plant in the family Acanthaceae, native to India and Sri Lanka.

Andrographis paniculata
Andrographis paniculata (Kalpa) in Narshapur forest, AP W2 IMG 0867.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Acanthaceae
Genus: Andrographis
Species: A. paniculata
Binomial name
Andrographis paniculata
(Burm.f.) Wall. ex Nees[1]
  • Justicia paniculata Burm.f.

It is widely cultivated in Southern and Southeastern Asia, where it has been traditionally used to treat infections and some diseases. Mostly the leaves and roots were used for medicinal purposes. The whole plant is also used in some cases.[3]



Andrographis paniculata is an erect annual herb extremely bitter in taste in all parts of the plant body. The plant is known in north-eastern India as Maha-tikta, literally "king of bitters", and known by various vernacular names (see the table below). As an Ayurveda herb it is known as Kalmegh or Kalamegha, meaning "dark cloud". It is also known as Nila-Vembu in Tamil, meaning "neem of the ground", since the plant, though being a small annual herb, has a similar strong bitter taste as that of the large Neem tree (Azadirachta indica). In Malaysia, it is known as Hempedu Bumi, which literally means 'bile of earth' since it is one of the most bitter plants that are used in traditional medicine.


Andrographis paniculata grows erect to a height of 30–110 cm (12–43 in) in moist, shady places. The slender stem is dark green, squared in cross-section with longitudinal furrows and wings along the angles. The lance-shaped leaves have hairless blades measuring up to 8 cm (3.1 in) long by 2.5 cm (0.98 in). The small flowers are borne in spreading racemes. The fruit is a capsule around 2 cm (0.79 in) long and a few millimeters wide. It contains many yellow-brown seeds.


A. paniculata is distributed in tropical Asian countries, often in isolated patches. It can be found in a variety of habitats, such as plains, hillsides, coastlines, and disturbed and cultivated areas such as roadsides, farms, and wastelands. Native populations of A. paniculata are spread throughout south India and Sri Lanka which perhaps represent the center of origin and diversity of the species. The herb is an introduced species in northern parts of India, Java, Malaysia, Indonesia, the West Indies, and elsewhere in the Americas. The species also occurs in Hong Kong, Thailand, Brunei, Singapore, and other parts of Asia where it may or may not be native. The plant is cultivated in many areas, as well.

Unlike other species of the genus, A. paniculata is of common occurrence in most places in India, including the plains and hilly areas up to 500 m (1,600 ft), which accounts for its wide use.

In India the major source of plant is procured from wild habitat.The plant is in Low Risk or Least Concerned in the IUCN category. Under the trade name Kalmegh Annually on an average 2,000–5,000 tonnes (2,200–5,500 tons) of plant is traded in India.[4]


It does best in a sunny location. The seeds are sown during May and June (northern hemisphere). The seedlings are transplanted at a distance of 60 cm (24 in) x 30 cm (12 in).

Traditional medicineEdit

A. paniculata has been used in traditional Siddha and Ayurvedic[5] systems of medicine as well as in tribal medicine in India.

Medical useEdit

According to the Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine, "A specific product (andrographis combined with Eleutherococcus senticosus) may shorten the duration and lessen the symptoms of common cold."[6] It also says, "Pregnant women shouldn't use andrographis because it could terminate pregnancy."[6] A review concluded that existing evidence from controlled clinical trials supports a role for A. paniculata in the treatment of symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.[7] It represents one of the most used plants for jaundice therapy.[8] There is no evidence of its effectiveness in cancer treatment.[9]


Andrographolide is the major constituent extracted from the leaves of the plant and is a bicyclic diterpenoid lactone. This bitter principle was isolated in pure form by Gorter (1911). Systematic studies on chemistry of A. paniculata have been carried out.[10][11]

Some known constituents are:

  • "14-Deoxy-11-dehydroandrographolide, Plant
  • 14-Deoxy-11-oxoandrographolide, Plant
  • 5-Hydroxy-7,8,2',3'-Tetramethoxyflavone, Plant
  • 5-Hydroxy-7,8,2'-Trimethoxyflavone, Tissue Culture
  • Andrographine, Root
  • Andrographolide, Plant
  • Neoandrographolide, Plant
  • Panicoline, Root
  • Paniculide-A, Plant
  • Paniculide-B, Plant
  • Paniculide-C, Plant"[12]

List of vernacular names of A. paniculata NeesEdit

Language Common name
Punjabi Chooraita
Assamese Chirota
Arabic Quasabhuva
Marathi kadu kirayata, Oli-kiryata
Bengali Kālmegh (কালমেঘ), Chirota (চিরতা)
Oriya ଭୁଇଁ ନିମ୍ବ (Bhuinimba), ଚିରେଇତା (Chireita)[13]
Chinese Chuan Xin Lian (穿心蓮)
English Green chirayta, creat, king of bitters, andrographis, India echinacea
Persian Naine-havandi
Gujarati કરિયાતુ (Kariyatu)
Sanskrit Kālamegha (कालमेघ), Bhūnimba (भूनिम्ब)[14]
Hindi कीरायत (Kirayat)
Tamil Siriyaa Nangai [சிறியா நங்கை]/ Nila Vembu [நிலவேம்பு]
Kannada Nelabevu (ನೆಲಬೇವು)
Malayalam NilavEpp (നിലവേപ്പ്), Kiriyathth (കിരിയത്ത്)
Telugu Nelavemaa (నేలవేము) or Nelavepu meaning "Neem of the ground". "Nela" = ground and "vemaa" = neem.
Malay Hempedu Bumi, Akar Cerita
Bahasa Indonesia Sambiloto, sambiroto
Tagalog Aluy, Likha, Sinta, Serpentina
Thai Fa Thalai Chon (ฟ้าทะลายโจร, Thai pronunciation: [fáː.tʰa.lāːj.tɕōːn]), literally meaning 'the heavens strike the thieves'
Khmer Smau pramat manuss (ស្មៅប្រមាត់មនុស្ស), literally meaning 'human gallblader grass', Smau phtuh (ស្មៅផ្ទុះ), literally meaning 'exploding grass'[15]
Lao La Xa Bee (ລາຊາບີ, Lao pronunciation: [láː.sáː.bìː])
Sinhalese Hīn Kohomba / Heen Kohomba (හීන් කොහොඹ), meaning "small neem", or Hīn Bīm Kohomba / Heen Bim Kohomba(හීන් බිම් කොහොඹ) meaning "small neem of the ground".
Vietnamese Xuyên Tâm Liên
Akean Marean
Konkani Kiratin

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ GRIN Species Profile
  2. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "Traded Medicinal Plants Database". 
  4. ^ "List of 178 Medicinal Plant Species in high Volume Trade (>100 MT/Year)". 
  5. ^ medicinal properties of bhunimb Nighatu adarsh[page needed]
  6. ^ a b "3". Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine (second ed.). 2010. p. 47. 
  7. ^ Akbar S (2011). "Andrographis paniculata: a review of pharmacological activities and clinical effects". Altern Med Rev. 16 (1): 66–77. PMID 21438648. 
  8. ^ Tewari D, Mocan A, Parvanov ED, Sah AN, Nabavi SM, Huminiecki L, Ma ZF, Lee YY, Horbańczuk JO, Atanasov AG. Ethnopharmacological Approaches for Therapy of Jaundice: Part II. Highly Used Plant Species from Acanthaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Asteraceae, Combretaceae, and Fabaceae Families. Front Pharmacol. 2017 Aug 10;8:519. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2017.00519.
  9. ^ "Andrographis". Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center. 
  10. ^ Chao W-W., Lin B.-F. "Isolation and identification of bioactive compounds in Andrographis paniculata (Chuanxinlian) Chinese Medicine 2010 5 Article Number 17
  11. ^ Hossain MS, Urbi Z, Sule A, Hafizur Rahman KM (2014). "Andrographis paniculata (Burm. f.) Wall. ex Nees: a review of ethnobotany, phytochemistry, and pharmacology". ScientificWorldJournal. 2014: 274905. PMC 4408759 . PMID 25950015. doi:10.1155/2014/274905. 
  12. ^ "Species Information". Archived from the original on 2004-11-10. Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  13. ^ "Ekamravan -- Medicinal Plant Garden, Odisha". 
  14. ^ sanskrit synonyms of bhunimb Amarkosha ch. 2, section - forest medicinal plants, verse - 143
  15. ^ Mathieu LETI, HUL Sovanmoly, Jean-Gabriel FOUCHÉ, CHENG Sun Kaing & Bruno DAVID, Flore photographique du Cambodge, Toulouse, Éditions Privat, 2013, p. 35.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit