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Andrographis paniculata

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Andrographis paniculata
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Acanthaceae
Genus: Andrographis
A. paniculata
Binomial name
Andrographis paniculata
  • Justicia latebrosa Russell ex Wall.
  • Justicia paniculata Burm.f.
  • Justicia stricta Lam. ex Steud.

Andrographis paniculata, commonly known as creat or green chiretta,[2] 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 believed to be a treatment for bacterial infections and some diseases. Mostly the leaves and roots have been used for such purposes; the whole plant is also used, in some cases.[3]


The plant grows as an erect herb to a height of 30–110 cm (12–43 in) in moist, shady places. The slender stem is dark green, square 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 pink, solitary, arranged in lax spreading racemes or panicles. The fruit is a capsule around 2 cm (0.79 in) long and a few millimeters wide.[4] It contains many yellow-brown seeds. The seeds are subquadrate, rugose and glabrous. The flowering time is September to December.[5]


The species 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 and farms. 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 its wild habitat. The plant is categorised as Low Risk or of Least Concern by the IUCN. Under the trade name Kalmegh, on average 2,000–5,000 tonnes (2,200–5,500 tons) of the plant is traded in India.[6]


The plant 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) × 30 cm (12 in).

Vernacular names[edit]

  • creat (English)[2]
  • green chiretta (English)
  • king of bitter.[7]
  • phtuhs' (smau) (phtuhs'="explosion", smau="grass", referring to sound of its ripe fruit opening, Khmer language)[8]
  • ស្មៅប្រមាត់មនុស្ស smau prâmat' mnu:hs (="human gall grass", probably alluding to its folk-medical use, Khmer language)
  • ฟ้าทะลายโจร (RTGS: fa thalai chon) ('heaven breaks down the bandit', Thai language)
  • 穿心莲, chuan xin lian (Standard Chinese)[9]
  • roi des amers (French)[2]
  • sambiloto in Indonesian language
  • hempedu bumi (Malaysia)
  • kalmegh (Bengali)
  • kiriyathu (Malayalam)
  • nila vembu (Tamil)


Alternative medicine[edit]

Traditional Use[edit]

A. paniculata has been used in Siddha and Ayurvedic medicine,[10] and is promoted as a dietary supplement for cancer prevention and cure. There is no evidence that it helps prevent or cure cancer.[11]

In the traditional medicine of India, A. paniculata has also been used for jaundice therapy.[12]

A. paniculata has also traditionally been used in India and China for the common cold and influenza. A 2017 (pre COVID-19) meta-analysis evaluating Andrographis paniculata for acute respiratory tract infections (ARTI) indicated possible support for its efficacy and safety, but cautioned that the trials reviewed were of poor quality and thus not conclusive.[13]


Amid Thailand's COVID-19 outbreak in December 2020, the country's health ministry approved the usage of the plant extract for a pilot alternative treatment program.[14] In July 2021, the Cabinet of Thailand approved the use of green chiretta to treat asymptomatic COVID patients after the Thai Corrections Department said the drug was beneficial in prison inmates.[15] Claims as to its efficacy as a COVID therapeutic are contentious and in dispute.[16]

Safety Concerns[edit]

A 2012 review found that A. paniculata extracts could inhibit expression of several cytochrome C enzymes and thus interfere with metabolism of other pharmaceuticals.[17] A 2019 review finds that A. paniculata compounds have poor solubility and relatively low potency, and that a semi-synthetic injectable derivative can cause sometimes life-threatening allergic reactions.[18]


In Cambodia the dried root macerated in alcohol is consumed as an aperitive, while the seeds make a black jelly called chahuoy khmau.[8]


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 in 1911. Systematic studies on chemistry of A. paniculata have been carried out.[19][20]

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[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Andrographis paniculata". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Andrographis paniculata". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Traded Medicinal Plants Database".
  4. ^ Anil Kumar, Jyotsna Dora, Anup Singh and Rishikant Tripathi (2012). "A review on king of bitter (Kalmegh)". Int J Res Pharm Chem. 2 (1): 116–124. S2CID 29219947.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Board, N.I.I.R. (2003). Herbs cultivation & their utilization. Delhi, India: Asia Pacific Business Press, Inc. pp. 45–46. ISBN 81-7833-064-4.
  6. ^ "List of 178 Medicinal Plant Species in high Volume Trade (>100 MT/Year)". Archived from the original on 2015-11-17.
  7. ^ Samy, Joseph; Sugumaran, M.; Lee, Kate (2005). Herbs of Malaysia. Times Editions - Marshall Cavendish. p. 47. ISBN 9833001793.
  8. ^ a b Pauline Dy Phon (2000). Plants Utilised In Cambodia/Plantes utilisées au Cambodge. Phnom Penh: Imprimerie Olympic. pp. 14, 15.
  9. ^ Hu, Jia-qi; Daniel, Thomas F. "FOC: Family List: FOC Vol. 19: Acanthaceae: Andrographis: 1. Andrographis paniculata (N. L. Burman) Wallich ex Nees in Wallich, Pl. Asiat. Rar. 3: 116. 1832". Flora of China. eFloras.org. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  10. ^ medicinal properties of bhunimb Nighatu adarsh[page needed]
  11. ^ "Andrographis". Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. 13 February 2013.
  12. ^ Tewari, D; Mocan, A; Parvanov, ED; Sah, AN; Nabavi, SM; Huminiecki, L; Ma, ZF; Lee, YY; Horbańczuk, JO; Atanasov, AG (Aug 2017). "Ethnopharmacological Approaches for Therapy of Jaundice: Part I". Front Pharmacol. 8: 518. doi:10.3389/fphar.2017.00518. PMC 5559545. PMID 28860989.
  13. ^ Xiao-Yang Hu, Ruo-Han Wu, Martin Logue, Clara Blondel, Lily Yuen Wan Lai, Beth Stuart, Andrew Flower, Yu-Tong Fei, Michael Moore, Jonathan Shepherd, Jian-Ping Liu, George Lewith (2017). "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. 12 (8): e0181780. Bibcode:2017PLoSO..1281780H. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0181780. PMC 5544222. PMID 28783743.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ "Thailand Clears Use of Herbal Medicine for Covid-19 Treatment". Bloomberg. 30 December 2020. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  15. ^ Bangprapa, Mongkol (27 July 2021). "Cabinet approves green chiretta for Covid patients". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 31 July 2021.
  16. ^ Jack Arthur (18 July 2021). "Traditional Thai medicine 'Fah Talai Jone' gains steam as a treatment, despite shaky scientific merit". Thaiger.
  17. ^ Rammohan Subramanian, Mohd. Zaini Asmawi, Amirin Sadikun (2012). "A bitter plant with a sweet future? A comprehensive review of an oriental medicinal plant: Andrographis paniculata". Phytochemistry Reviews. 11 (1). Springer: Phytochemistry Reviews. Bibcode:2012PChRv..11...39S. doi:10.1007/s11101-011-9219-z. S2CID 18018227.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ Yan Dai, Shao-Ru Chen, Ling Chai, Jing Zhao, Yitao Wang & Ying Wang (2019). "Overview of pharmacological activities of Andrographis paniculata and its major compound andrographolide". Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 59 (sup1): S17–S29. doi:10.1080/10408398.2018.1501657. PMID 30040451. S2CID 51715899.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ Chao W-W., Lin B.-F. "Isolation and identification of bioactive compounds in Andrographis paniculata (Chuanxinlian) Chinese Medicine 2010 5 Article Number 17
  20. ^ 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: 1–28. doi:10.1155/2014/274905. PMC 4408759. PMID 25950015.
  21. ^ "Species Information". sun.ars-grin.gov. Archived from the original on 2004-11-10. Retrieved 2008-03-07.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]