Andrographis paniculata, Kalmegh, medicinal herb

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Andrographis paniculata seeds



Andrographis paniculate (Burn.f) belongs to the Nees family of Acanthaceae and genus Andrographis. It is a widely cultivated medicinal plant species native to Sri Lanka and India. Plant species are similar to justicia stricta lam. Ex steud, justicia paniculata Burm.f.a and or Justicia latebrosa Russell ex wall. In north eastern Indian the plant is well known as Maha-tikta, meaning “King of bitters.” The plant is also referred by different vernacular names such as Ayurveda herb in Malaysia. Being traditionally used, the plant has distributed widely to the south-eastern part of Asia especially to isolated areas. For instance, the variety of this species has been discovered geographically in coastlines, doorsteps of the mountain, disturbed areas such as roadsides and bear land.

Stems of A. paniculata are dark green with a slender shape. The stems have cross-section surface that form furrows and corresponding angles. Leaves have hairy blades which measure around 8cm by 2. 5cm. Flowers are small, unbranched with pedicellate. Capsules grow into fruits and are 2cm long and with undetermined width. The plant produces many seeds which are yellow-brown.

Andrographis paniculata grows to a height of 30-110cm in a slightly wet but full of shade. The plant thrives well in brilliant sunlight. Seeds are planted during northern hemisphere which occurs between May and June of every year. Once seedlings have matured and reached a point of transplant, they are planted at 60cm by 30cm spacing.

This bitter shrub has various health benefits; for instance, it is used in boosting immune functions, especially the production of white blood cells as well as a natural body stimulant. A. paniculata is used to relieve muscular pain, arthritis and fibromyalgia. It inhibits oxidation compounds which regulate blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. Traditionally, the plant was also used for the treatment of flu and the common cold. In Malaysia, Ayurvedic has been widely promoted as a product consumed orally to supply vitamins associated with cancer cure and prevention. Dried plant materials are usually crashed into powder substance, tea or tinctures. Other traditional uses included treating snakebites, sore throat and stomach ache.

Kalmegh can directly be sown into the garden.

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