Kalmegh or Green chirayta, Andrographis paniculata

Kalmegh or Kalomegh, Green chirayta (Andrographis paniculata, family: Acanthaceae) is a bushy herb attaining a height of 1 m. Stem and branches are quadrangular. It is well-known medicinal plant in Bangladesh as well as in Indian subcontinent. The whole plant is bitter.  

Leaves are deep green, simple, opposite, narrow, 5-8 cm long, dented; veins and midribs are clearly visible. leaves taste bitter. 

Flowers are small, white with pinkish shade; tomentose; they will be red too. They bloom from late autumn to spring (November-March). 

Fruit is a capsule. They are narrow, upwards, small in size. There are numerous seeds in a pod. It propagates through seeds.

The plant grows on fallow lands as weed in Bangladesh. Nowadays it is grown in homestead or farmland for its medicinal value. 

It is used in dysentery, fever, worm, sore and stomach disorder. Liver tonic is prepared from the plant. The leaves are used to clean rotten wounds. It is used as an alternative to Quinine in England in the recent past. 

According to some sources, the tree has come from the West Indies. Another source says, the herb is an Indian subcontinental species.      


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