The Herbal Uses of Andrographis

Thriving throughout many different habitats in Southeastern Asia is an herbaceous plant known as Andrographis. Known for its powerful medicinal purposes, this plant is native to India and Sri Lanka. The plant has been introduced and later widely cultivated in other countries as well. Some of these countries include Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Brunei, Singapore, and the Americas.

Andrographis usually grows to about 3 to 11 mm high. Its parts that are most commonly used for medicinal purposes include the leaves and roots. Note that these are the bitterest parts of this plant. Well, it was never really considered as a flavorful herb to begin with.

In fact, with its extremely bitter taste, it became known as “Maha-tita,” meaning “king of bitters,” in Northeastern India. Furthermore, in Malaysia, it has been given the name “Hempedu Bumi,” meaning “bile of earth.” In other countries, the herb is also known as “Kalmegh” and “Bhumi-neem,” both describing its bitter taste.

The other names of Andrographis are the following:

  • Andrographis Paniculata
  • Andrographolide Bhunimba
  • Bidara
  • Carmantine
  • Chiretta
  • Chirette Verte
  • Chuan Xin Lian
  • Fa-Tha-Lai-Jone
  • Gubak
  • Herba Andrographitis
  • Indian Echinacea
  • Justicia paniculata
  • Justicie
  • Kalmegh
  • Kalmegha
  • Kariyat
  • King of Bitters
  • Kirta
  • Mahalita
  • Nabin Chanvandi
  • Poogiphalam
  • Roi des Amers
  • Sadilata
  • Sambilata
  • Shivaphala
  • Supari
  • Takila
  • Vizra Ufar
  • Yavatikta

Medicinal Benefits

This herb is used as a treatment for many common problems. They include the following conditions:

  • digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, intestinal gas, colic, and stomach pain
  • skin problems such as wounds, ulcers and itchiness
  • liver problems and damages
  • common cold
  • cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and heart diseases
  • diabetes; and
  • insect bites

Early research indicates that ingesting a mixture of Andrographis and Siberian ginseng may be effective in curing common colds. These are usually taken three days after the first occurrence of the symptoms.

There are several research studies that supported this claim. Some even note that the mixture is even more effective compared to other known medicines. Also, in Chile, a study found that this plant seems to be quite effective in drying the nasal secretions. Research shows that it may be reduce the duration of a cold.

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