Kalmegh is a Hindi language word for the Green Chiretta plant. It is rightly named ‘King of Bitters’ owing to the bitter taste the herb leaves in the mouth of anybody who consumes it. Despite this characteristically unpleasant taste Kalmegh is highly sought after, owing to its numerous medicinal properties.
This herb is known by various names in different languages; like Nelaberu (Kannada), Nelavepu (Malayalam), Nilavembu (Tamil and Telugu). However, for the universal identification of Kalmegh in the botanical world, its Latin name Andrographis Paniculata is used.
Kalmegh is widely used in Ayurvedic medicines, Chinese traditional medicines, Unani medicines, and even by medicines prescribed by Siddha practitioners. Let us find out more about the widespread utility of this bitter herb.
Getting To Know Kalmegh
Kalmegh is botanically classified as a herb that bears flowers only once a year. The leaves of this herb are known to bear many medicinal properties. The herb yields a bitter extract which is used in various medicinal preparations made from Kalmegh.
Kalmegh is a herb native to Asia and South East Asia and is therefore found growing abundantly in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Philippines, Java Islands, and Indonesia. It flourishes in a tropical climate and is also found in West Indies and the Americas.
You will find Kalmegh to be an average appearing plant growing in clusters. The herb typically grows in the wasteland or on roadsides. Many people have taken to cultivating their own Kalmegh plantation due to its medicinal utility.
Medicinal Benefits Of Kalmegh
Kalmegh extracts obtained using the leaves or the entire herb is used in several pharmaceutical preparations. Various parts of the plant are known to have therapeutic actions on various parts of the body.
The medicine was predominantly used as a home remedy prescribed by the local doctor in several regions of Asia. Due to its excellent therapeutic effects, scientists began studying Kalmegh and using it as a pharmaceutical agent.
Kalmegh is known to have the following medicinal properties:
Due to the anti-inflammatory actions of Kalmegh, it has a therapeutic action on several intestinal disorders like Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Gastritis, Enteritis, Piles etc. Kalmegh is also known to have an inhibitory action over ulcers developing on the tongue, inside the stomach and intestines. Kalmegh has a protective action over the liver which is very important for smooth digestion. Kalmegh preparations are known to act like magic for treatment of jaundice.
action over the liver which is very important for smooth digestion. Kalmegh preparations are known to act like magic for the treatment of jaundice.
The anti-oxidative properties of Kalmegh lead to a protective effect over heart muscles and blood vessels,. Kalmegh prevents the accumulation of plaque within blood vessels, thereby keeping medical emergencies like myocardial infarction at bay. Kalmegh is also useful in lowering blood pressure.
The anti-inflammatory properties of Kalmegh make it very useful in treating diseases like COPD, emphysema, pneumonia, asthma, during which the inner airways within the lungs develop inflammation. It also has expectorant properties which makes it very useful to expel phlegm from the lungs and throat. People often take Kalmegh as a wellness drug to maintain a strong and healthy respiratory system.
The detoxifying action that Kalmegh has on blood allows it to heal skin infections, acne, scabies, and skin allergies. It is also a useful herb in treating dermatitis that is associated with redness and swelling of the skin.
Kalmegh is very useful in treating arthritis, myositis, and other inflammatory disorders of muscles, bones, and joints. This is due to the property of the herb that allows it to reduce pain and swelling. Patients of rheumatoid arthritis find long-lasting relief by the regular usage of Kalmegh.
Any naturally obtained substance that has anti-oxidant properties, has a rejuvenating effect on the mind and body. Regular consumption of Kalmegh helps to boost physical stamina and prevention of fatigue. Kalmegh has a therapeutic effect over nervous tremors, tremors occurring due to alcoholism, migraine, and other nerve-related disorders.
Bacteria, viruses, fungus, parasites, almost every type of infection is treated with preparations made using Kalmegh. Bacillary dysentery, scabies, infected acne, dengue are some infections which respond well to treatment with Kalmegh. HIV positive patients also are benefited from regular consumption of this herb. It helps to boost immunity, regain physical strength and stamina in patients who have suffered from debilitating infectious disorders in the past.
Kalmegh is not only a highly effective medicinal drug but also an excellent prophylactic herb. It helps to keep several infectious and allergic disorders at bay. It also acts as a wellness tonic when consumed regularly. It helps to detox and rejuvenates the mind and body when consumed regularly.
The therapeutic properties of Kalmegh have been studied in the field of modern medicine as well. The use of Kalmegh as a medicinal herb is gaining rapid popularity in the western world as well.
Side Effects Of Kalmegh
Even a medicine when taken in excess will show some side effects. Similarly, Kalmegh also has side effects that will develop if it is consumed in a wrong way or in excess. Some of the side effects associated with this herb are mentioned below:
- Skin rash
- Increased tendency of blood loss in patients suffering from bleeding disorders
- Possible Male Infertility
- Possible miscarriage if consumed in excess during pregnancy
These are some of the ill effects that Kalmegh is likely to cause. Not everybody who consumes Kalmegh experiences all these side effects. These are mentioned to caution patients who use the herb regularly.
How Should Kalmegh Be Consumed
The use of Kalmegh for its medicinal properties began in Asia years ago. Centuries ago, crude methods were used to prepare therapeutic versions of this herb. But these methods were refined over the years. Extensive research on Kalmegh and the availability of new technology paved the way for refining the ways in which the herb was potentized.
Today, medically potent preparations of Kalmegh are available in the following forms:
- Mix Kalmegh powder with honey and consume directly
- Prepare Kwath by adding 2 teaspoons of Kalmegh powder to 2 cups of water and boiling the mixture till it reduces to half the volume. Kwath should be further diluted before drinking it
- Kalmegh powder mixed in coconut oil is good for skin disorders
One whole or crushed tablet can be consumed daily with water
1-2 teaspoons of Kalmegh juice, diluted in half a glass of water can be consumed daily
Kalmegh leaves can be crushed with black peppercorns and the preparation can be consumed once daily or every alternate day.
Kalmegh And Ayurveda
The southern part of Asia has always been blessed with abundant growth of the Kalmegh herb. Therefore it has always been a part of traditional and folk medicine. Ayurvedic scholars studied this drug and discovered their various medicinal properties.
Ayurvedic science believes in the principle of Doshas, Vaata, Pitta, and Kapha which are essential abstract components of every human being. Kalmegh is known to balance these Doshas and act as a preventive agent for many health disorders.
Ayurvedic physicians prescribe Kalmegh for the treatment of liver ailments, skin diseases, and as an immunity booster.
Kalmegh is a herb which when used appropriately can transform the human body and mind to a healthier and better state. Along with an effective medicine against several diseases, it is also an excellent health tonic and wellness herb.