Kalmegha - pharmacological action, benefits and contraindications

Andrographis paniculata (Kalmegh) has been used for centuries for the treatment of various diseases. It is a great benefit to the Unani, Ayurveda, Homeopathy and household treatment.

The plant Andrographis paniculata is a drug identified as a source plant of Bhunimba often referred as Kalamegha or Yavatikta mentioned in Ayurvedic literature.

Herb - Kalmegh

Ayurvedic Action

Rasa (Taste)Tiikta
Virya (Energy)Cooling
Vipak (Post-digestive effect)Katu
Guna (Quality)Light, Dry
Doshic EffectVata increasing , K- P decreasing.

Health Benefits

Cardiovascular system 

Andrographis paniculata extract has antihypertensive properties due to the relaxation of smooth muscles in the wall of blood vessels.

It also has anti-platelets aggregation property and fibrinolysis initiating property, which helps to dissolve clots after myocardial infarction.


Chloroform extract of this plant has shown (in vitro & in vivo) antimalarial activity.

Anti inflammatory: 

Andrographolide has shown a mild anti inflammatory activity compared with corticosteroids and conventionally used NSAID.

Effects on C.N.S: 

Andrographolide is known to cross the blood brain barrier and concentrates in the brain and spinal cord.

Anti atherosclerotic activity

Animal experiments have shown anti atherosclerotic activity and it has been suggested that this plant preparations may help in preventing re-stenosis of arteries after coronary angioplasty.


Alcoholic extract shows a good anthelmintic activity against human Ascaris lumbricoides (Intestinal roundworm).

Anti malignant activity

Andrographis Paniculata extracts are known to have cytotoxic activity. A. paniculata is known to inhibit growth tumors, and also inhibits human breast cancer cells similar to the tamoxifen. A. paniculata extracts safely and effectively blocks the growth of prostate cancer and non –Hodgkin’s lymphomas. It claimed that probably A. paniculata inhibits synthesis of cancer cell DNA.

Liver diseases

Clinical study Kalmegh (Andrographis paniculata Nees) was given in the decoction form to the patients of infective hepatitis. The results were assessed on the basis of clinical and biochemical parameters. 

A marked symptomatic improvement in the majority of the cases was observed. A statistically highly significant decrease was noted in various liver function tests viz., serum bilirubin, thymol turbidity, alkaline phosphatase, S.G.O.T.; S.G.P.T. and serum globulin fraction of protein. 

Dosage and side effects (only after consultation with an ayurvedic doctor).

  • Undesirable effects: . Some people on intake of A. paniculata extract experience dizziness and palpitations. Some may develop allergic skin reactions.
  • Contraindications: The herb is contraindicated in bleeding disorders, hypotension, as well as male and female sterility.
  • Pregnancy and lactation . According to the botanical safety handbook, this plant falls in class 2b “herb not to be taken during pregnancy”.



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