Kalamegha (Bhunimba) Andrographis paniculata: Uses, Side Effects

Kalamegha- Andrographis paniculata is an Ayurvedic herb, used for the treatment of diseases of the liver, skin diseases, lack of appetite, fever and purification of the blood. It is called Nilavembu in Tamil. 

Latin name- Andrographis paniculata Nees.
Family- Acanthaceae – Vasa Kula

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
English  –  The creat
Hindi name- Kalamegha, Kalpanath
Bengali name- Kalamegh
Gujarathi name- Kariyathu, Litu Kariyat
Kannada name- Nelabevu
Marathi name- Kiriath
Malayalam name- Nelavepu, Nelavemu, Nilavaepu
Tamil name- Nelavemu, Nilavembu, Nilavempu, Nilavembu kudineer
Telugu name- Nelavemu
Urdu name- Bhooinimo

Properties, part used, dosage

Bhunimba – medicinal properties:
Rasa (Taste) – Tikta (Bitter)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light for digestion), Ruksha (Dry in nature)
Vipaka –  Katu (Undergoes Pungent taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Karma (Actions) – Kaphapitta shamaka (reduces vitiated kapha and pitta dosha)

Part used- Whole plant
Juice- 5 to 10 ml
Powder- 1 to 3 g
Decoction- 20-30 ml

Uses of Kalamegha

  • In case of nausea and vomiting, the paste of Bhunimba is given with honey.
  • The decoction of Andrographis paniculata is given in a dose of 20-30 ml to treat fever, inflammation of the liver and jaundice.
  • The cold infusion of the plant is given in a dose of 40-50 ml to treat impurity of the blood and is used as a blood purifier.
  • The paste of the plant is used to treat skin diseases like eczema, depigmentation of skin etc.
  • The powder of the dried plant is given in a dose of 2- 3g with hot water of juice of Shunti to improve the appetite and digestion.
  • The powder of Andrographis paniculata is given in a dose of 2-3 g with powder of black pepper to treat malaria and fever.

Uses of Kalamegha as per Ayurveda:
Yakrut uttejaka – stimulates liver
Pittasaraka – lets out Pitta from the body
Recana – useful in expelling vitiated Pitta
Krimighna – useful in worm infestation
Svedajanana – stimulates sweating, useful in fever
Kusthaghna – useful in skin disorders
Jvaraghna – useful in fever
Katupaustika – bitter pungent, yet nourishing.

Side effects

It is a very bitter herb and lowers blood sugar levels. Care should be taken while prescribing this to diabetic patients who are under treatment. This, along with their regular diabetes medicine can lower the blood sugar level drastically.
No other adverse effect is known or reported after the normal use of Kalamegha

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Differences between Kalamegha and Chirata

Chirata is Swertia chirata, Swertia chirayita. It is also called KirataTikta. These two herbs are often used interchangeably. KirataTikta is a highly bitter herb, used in fever, cold, cough and Asthma. Mainly Kapha disorders.

Ayurvedic medicines

Formulations containing Kalamegha:
Arjin tablet: This is a proprietary ayurvedic medicine used for the treatment of hypertension.
Clearliv tablet: This is a proprietary ayurvedic medicine used for the treatment of hepatic diseases like jaundice, fatty liver etc.

Muniliv tablet: It is a medicine useful for the treatment of hepatic diseases, acts like anti- oxidant and immuno modulatory purpose.
Gopichandanadi gulika:  It is an ayurvedic medicine useful to treat fever, common cold and convulsion.
Biolivac tablet: It is a medicine useful to treat liver disorders like jaundice, fatty liver and promotes digestion and appetite. 

कालमेघस्तु भूनिम्बो यवाकारफलस्तथा ।
सुतिक्तः लघुरुक्षोष्णाः कफपित्तविनाशकृत् ||  ( द्र. गु. वि)


Plant is  found  throughout  India, especially in West Bengal. Generally it is found in gardens, rural areas & waste places .
It is also found in Central India , Kerala , Assam , Andra Pradesh , Bihar , West Bengal & other provinces in India.

Chemical constituents

Andrographis paniculata chemical constituents:
Whole plant contains lactones – andrographolide , 14 – deoxy , 11 – oxo andrographolide , 14 – deoxy 11 , 12 – didehydro –  andrographolide  , 14 – deoxy andrographolide & meandrographolide , iridoid glucoside , 5 – hydroxyl – 3 , 78  2’– tetraancthoxyflavone, flavonoid 5- hydroxyl-7, 8 – dinecthoxy flavone glycoside ncoandrographolide,. The roots contain andrographin, panicolin, apigenin, andrographolide, flavone andrographone, flavonoid glucoside 2’5 dihydroxy-7, 8-dimethoxy flavone-2-0 ß glucoside & 3 ß hydroxy-5-stignuasa – 9 (11) 22(23) – diene.

Research articles

Research articles related to Andrographis paniculata:
Anti- bacterial activity: The present study was conducted to investigate the antibacterial effect of Andrographis paniculata against selective human pathogens. The results reveal that 75μl was optimum for all the test cultures. It shows more activity in E.coli(32.3mm) followed by S. Typhi(28.1mm), Staphylococcus sp.(14.1mm) and Pseudomonas sp.(13.4 mm).

Hepato- protective action: The effect of Andrographis Paniculata extract was studied on CCL4 induced hepatic damage in rats. The degree of protection was measured by physical, biochemical changes. Pre-treatment with extract significantly prevented the physical, biochemical changes induced by CCL4in the liver. The effects of Andrographis paniculata could be useful in preventing chemically induced acute liver injury. It can be concluded that the aqueous extract of A.Paniculata is almost significantly effective in the standard drug.

Anti- oxidant and Anti- microbial study: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the in vitro antioxidant activity of the Hexane, DCM and Methanol extracts of Andrographis paniculata Nees. in the DPPH assay, the IC50 values obtained for Hexane, DCM and Methanol extracts were 223.3μg/ml, 69.32μg/ml and 82.23μg/ml respectively. In the Total reducing capacity assay, activity increased in dose dependent manner for all the three plant extracts. The antimicrobial activity of the extracts was evaluated using the Broth Dilution Method. The results obtained in the present study indicate that the leaves of Andrographis paniculata showed the best antibacterial activity against the gram positive organisms ie; S.aureus and S. pyogenes.


Morphology of Andrographis paniculata:
Kalamegha is a small herb growing to a height of 1- 3 feet and is found all over plains of India. The stem is weak and has small hairs at the top. The flowers are small and white or purplish in color. The fruits are small, round and the seeds are pale brown in color. The flowers and fruits are seen from spring to summer.


Kalmegh is a substitute of kiratatikta on account of bitterness & it is also an adulterant of kiratatikta – Swertia chirata

Systemic classification

Kingdom – Plantae
Phyllum   – Angiopherneae
Class        – Magnatiatae
Order       – Scrophalarialus
Family     – Acanthaceae

Sanskrit synonyms

Yavatikta, Kalpanath, Yavakharaphala, Shankini, Bhunimba, Mahatikta

Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: drprashanthbk@gmail.com

Sthanika Karma (Systemic Action)

Internal administration

Digestive System – Carminative, liver stimulant, Purgative, Anti helminthic actions. Indicated in loss of appetite, low digestive fire, constipation, Hepatomegaly, Helminthiasis etc.
Circulatory System – it helps to purify blood. Indicated in generalized edema.
Satmikarana –indicated in post viral body weakness
Tvak (Skin) – Indicated in skin diseases, stimulates sweat production.
Tapakrama – Indicated in fever (Vishamajvara pratibandhaka – can be used as a preventive medicine in viral fever). Along with pepper powder it can be used in Malaria

9 comments on “Kalamegha (Bhunimba) Andrographis paniculata: Uses, Side Effects

  • Joe Rathinam

    13/10/2017 - 1:09 pm

    a very good detailed report about Kalamegha (Bhunimba) Andrographis paniculata: Uses but its side effects are found missing.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      19/10/2017 - 2:43 pm

      Hi, Thanks for bringing this to our notice. In higher dose, it lowers blood sugar level drastically. Hence, care is required. Other than this, it is very safe herb to use.

      Reply to comment
      • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

        20/10/2017 - 6:28 pm

        In a small dose for 5 – 10 grams per day for a short period of 6 – 8 weeks time, it does not cause any infertility issues.

        Reply to comment
        • Joe Rathinam

          20/10/2017 - 6:36 pm

          Thanks Dr. J V Hebbar for your prompt repy.

          Reply to comment
        • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

          23/10/2017 - 6:32 pm

          It means, Nilavembu is a good anti oxidant, it is a good anti hypertensive and a good anti coagulant.
          Similar accusations are also there on all Ayurvedic herbs such as Ashwagandha, to even simpler ones such as ginger and pepper.

          Reply to comment
  • Amritesh

    18/07/2018 - 11:14 pm

    It also protect hair fall

    Reply to comment
  • Shaan

    24/03/2020 - 3:22 pm

    Hello doctor,
    Is KALMEGHA and CHIRAYATA both are Same or not?

    Which is better for Chronic Viral Fever.?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      25/03/2020 - 11:10 pm

      Both are different.
      If the virus is attacking liver, then Kalamegha is better.

      If the virus causes high fever, then Chirayata is better.

      Reply to comment

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