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Great for diabetes, even better for a sore throat! 12 things the bitter herb kalmegh can do for you

Updated on:30 October 2020, 14:31pm IST
Kalmegh or andrographis paniculata might taste bitter, but the kind of health benefits it offers is unmatchable.
Dr Vijay Kamat
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Kalmegh is the answer to all your health problems. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

You might not have heard of the kalmegh before, but let us tell you: it is loaded with so many benefits that by the time you get done with this article, who will fall in love with it!

Scientifically known as andrographis paniculata, it is a seasonal herb native to India and Sri Lanka. It is one of the most popular medicinal plants used traditionally for the treatment of diseases such as cold, fever, diabetes, hypertension, ulcer, bronchitis, skin diseases, diarrhea, and malaria. In the Indian system of medicine, kalmegh is also widely used for its anti-fertility, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and immuno-stimulatory properties. 

This herbal formulation is also traditionally used to help in the maintenance of a healthy immune and respiratory function, and also regulates body temperature.

Health benefits of kalmegh

Kalmegh comes in the form of yellowish-brown seeds with a very bitter taste. It is used in about 26 Ayurvedic herbal formulations. This herb has been potentially used to treat many conditions. Some of its benefits include:

1. It helps with the common cold

It is believed that taking andrographis alone, or as part of a herbal combination product is likely to improve cough and sore throat in some people.

Kalmegh
No more cold, thanks to kalmegh. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
2. It can ease osteoarthritis

Taking andrographis extract daily helps to reduce pain and stiffness in people with mild or moderate osteoarthritis of the knee.

3. It is loaded with antioxidants

Kalmegh is loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols that may help to fight the harmful free radicals in our body. This, in turn, seems to protect the body cells from harmful bacteria and viruses.

4. Kalmegh has anti-inflammatory properties

The anti-inflammatory properties of kalmegh potentially allow the body to fight infections effectively. Moreover, this herb may also help the body to repair tissue damage, and thus proves to be extremely useful. Kalmegh also helps to reduce swelling and pain caused by inflammation in the body.

Kalmegh
Kalmegh helps in reliving pain, naturally. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
5. It aids the digestive system

Kalmegh helps to effectively manage digestive problems like loss of appetite. It may also help to improve the digestive fire as well as liver functions, due to its ushna (hot) nature.

6. It’s also great for the liver

Kalmegh also helps in the management of liver problems. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective properties, and may help to prevent the damage of liver cells caused by free radicals.

7. Oh, and it kills intestinal worms

It is believed that kalmegh helps in killing intestinal worms and supporting good intestinal health.

8. It can even keep acne away

The Ayurveduc herb also helps to treat skin ailments with its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Loaded with antioxidants, kalmegh also helps in fighting harmful free radicals that are responsible for various health and skin ailments.

Kalmegh
Kalmegh is great for your skin. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
9. It has antibacterial properties

The anti-bacterial properties in kalmegh may allow the body to fight bacterial infections. Although andrographis appears to have weak direct antibacterial action, it may possibly have beneficial effects in reducing diarrhea and symptoms arising from bacterial infections.

10. Can help with diabetes management

Andrographolide in kalmegh helps reduce blood glucose levels. It may help in the release of insulin from the pancreatic cells, thus promoting the utilisation of glucose. Since it is loaded with antioxidants, kalmegh could also help in lowering the risk of diabetic complications.

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11. It’s great for detox and skin cleansing

Studies suggest kalmegh has blood purifying properties. It may help remove toxins from the blood, and manage skin diseases. This is due to its tikta (bitter) taste and pitta balancing properties.

12. It has antiviral properties

Studies suggest that andrographolide in kalmegh has antiviral properties. In fact, China mandated the use of andrographis by all doctors to overcome coronavirus, regardless of their training. However, there is no clinical proof that this herb can help combat the deadly disease.

The bottom line

Today, kalmegh is used all over the world. The plant still grows natively in India and is useful for more than just immune support. The dry and penetrating properties of the herb help to break through dense phlegm caused by increased kapha, and it also reduces pitta and kapha in the head and chest, helping to maintain a normal body temperature.

In addition, it potentially promotes a healthy respiratory tract, sinuses and throat, and may also be used externally to help balance excess pitta in the skin. Owing to the bitter and calming qualities of kalmegh, it possibly helps to regulate increased pitta in the blood and stagnant pitta in the liver, to enhance liver function and to stimulate bile production.

With these amazing benefits, kalmegh’s bitter taste just got sweeter! Whether you choose to use kalmegh on its own or as a supplement, you’ve got an ally to help you maintain your health throughout the season.

Dr Vijay Kamat Dr Vijay Kamat

Dr Vijay Kamat is the medical director of Biogetica, which specialises in natural and bio-energetic medicines.