Andrographis paniculata

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

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

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.


It 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.


It 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 the Philippines, 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).

Alternative medicine[edit]

A. paniculata has been used in Siddha and Ayurvedic medicine,[5] and is promoted as a dietary supplement for cancer prevention and cure. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has stated that there is no evidence that it helps prevent or cure cancer.[6] Other uses of A. paniculata are linked to its antibacterial and antioxidant properties, largely derived from the one of the active phytochemicals andrographolide.[7] Research shows andrographolide is also anti-inflammatory and modifies the toll-like receptor (TLR) TRIF-dependent pathway which is part of the body's innate immune response to bacterial and viral infection, and it also suppresses NF-κB activation and COX-2 molecules as further illustration of its anti-inflammatory potential.[8]

There is a growth in interest in A. paniculata as it might provide a safe and effective alternative to the prescription of antibiotics, as antimicrobial resistance from the over-prescription of these drugs is a major threat to global public health.[9] In a systematic review that identified and analysed 33 randomised controlled trials of 7175 patients with upper respiratory tract infections, the use of the herb Andrographis reduced the severity of cold and flu symptoms compared to a placebo (4 studies) and was more effective than the patients normal care regimen in other studies (12 studies). Out of 7175 patients identified in this review, there were 7 individual cases of adverse events including constipation or headache, although it must be noted many trials do not report these events at all.[10] In a study of patients with mild to moderate ulcerative colitis, andrographis extract was as effective and offered a safer treatment option for patients after eight weeks of use compared to standard medication.[11]

Treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis with the active component andrographolide (28 patients) compared to a placebo (30 patients) for 14 weeks saw no significant difference in overall measures of pain intensity (by VAPS, visual analogue pain scale), but there were improvements in the grading of the tenderness of joints and reductions in other biological measures including rheumatoid factor and immunoglobulin A. The authors concluded that A. paniculata could be a "natural complement" for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis but a larger study of longer duration would be a logical next step.[12]


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.[13][14]

Some known constituents are:

  • "14-Deoxy-11-dehydroandrographolide, Plant
  • 14-Deoxy-11-oxoandrographolide, ahhiajajaiop.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"[15]

List of vernacular names of A. paniculata Nees[edit]

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)[16]
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)[17]
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, Pokok Cerita, Empedu Tanah
Bahasa Indonesia Sambiloto, sambiroto
Brunei Malay Daun pahit
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'[18]
Lao La Xa Bee (ລາຊາບີ, Lao pronunciation: [láː.sáː.bìː])
Sinhalese Kiratha (කිරාත), 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
Burmese Say gah gyi, nga yoke gah

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Andrographis paniculata". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  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)". Archived from the original on 2015-11-17.
  5. ^ medicinal properties of bhunimb Nighatu adarsh[page needed]
  6. ^ "Andrographis". Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. 13 February 2013.
  7. ^ Malahubban M, Alimon AR, Sazili AQ, Fakurazi S, Zakry FA. "Phytochemical analysis of Andrographis paniculata and Orthosiphon stamineus leaf extracts for their antibacterial and antioxidant potential". Tropical biomedicine. 2013 Sep 1;30(3):467-80.
  8. ^ Kim AY, Shim HJ, Shin HM, Lee YJ, Nam H, Kim SY, Youn HS. "Andrographolide suppresses TRIF-dependent signaling of toll-like receptors by targeting TBK1". International immunopharmacology. 2018 Mar; 57:172-80.
  9. ^ World Health Organisation (5 June 2018). "Antimicrobial resistance: key facts". World Health Organisation. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  10. ^ Hu XY, Wu RH, Logue M, Blondel C, Lai LY, Stuart B, Flower A, Fei YT, Moore M, Shepherd J, Liu JP. "Andrographis paniculata (Chuān Xīn Lián) for symptomatic relief of acute respiratory tract infections in adults and children: A systematic review and meta-analysis". PLOS One. 2017 Aug 4;12(8):e0181780.
  11. ^ Tang T, Targan SR, Li ZS, Xu C, Byers VS, Sandborn WJ. "Randomised clinical trial: herbal extract HMPL‐004 in active ulcerative colitis–a double‐blind comparison with sustained release mesalazine". Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 2011 Jan 1;33(2):194-202.
  12. ^ Burgos RA, Hancke JL, Bertoglio JC, Aguirre V, Arriagada S, Calvo M, Cáceres DD. "Efficacy of an Andrographis paniculata composition for the relief of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms: a prospective randomized placebo-controlled trial". Clinical Rheumatology. 2009 Aug 1;28(8):931-46.
  13. ^ Chao W-W., Lin B.-F. "Isolation and identification of bioactive compounds in Andrographis paniculata (Chuanxinlian) Chinese Medicine 2010 5 Article Number 17
  14. ^ 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. doi:10.1155/2014/274905. PMC 4408759. PMID 25950015.
  15. ^ "Species Information". Archived from the original on 2004-11-10. Retrieved 2008-03-07.
  16. ^ "Ekamravan -- Medicinal Plant Garden, Odisha".
  17. ^ sanskrit synonyms of bhunimb Amarkosha ch. 2, section - forest medicinal plants, verse - 143
  18. ^ Mathieu LETI, HUL Sovanmoly, Jean-Gabriel FOUCHÉ, CHENG Sun Kaing & Bruno DAVID, Flore photographique du Cambodge, Toulouse, Éditions Privat, 2013, p. 35.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]