King of bitters

Benefits of King of Bitters

Commonly known as King of Bitters, Indian Echinacea or cold and flu plant of South Asian Countries grows abundantly in parts of India and Sri Lanka. Andrographis paniculata is the scientific name for the plant. Stem and leaves of the plants are used in traditional medicines and in Ayurveda.

Andrographis plant parts –stem, leaves, flowers and root are useful for many conditions. Both leaf and stem taste bitter and hence the name King of Bitters! Degree of bitterness almost matches Indian bitter gourd fruits. This herb believed to prevent and used in treating flu and common cold. It is believed that during 1918-1920 flu epidemic in India, medicine and home remedies prepared using this plant helped to cure many.

The main chemical constituent that is responsible for medicinal properties of Andrographis is andrographolide. It’s main application and use is in controlling cold and fever. Research say that it is as good as Tylenol (acetaminophen) tablet.

Kirta, Chirreta, bhunimba are other names for Andrographis. Plant is used for many conditions including;

  • Digestive conditions – Intestinal gas, diarrhea and stomach pain, loss of appetite, cure for intestinal worm condition
  • Liver conditions- Jaundice and enlarged liver
  • Infections – Pneumonia, gonorrhea, syphilis, malaria, leprosy, cholera, rabies, sinusitis
  • Skin conditions- Ulcer, itchiness and wounds.
  • For cold – sore throat, fever, tonsils problems, bronchitis and related allergies
  • Heart conditions – such as atherosclerosis where arteries harden
  • Diabetes – for high blood sugar problem and reduces high cholesterol
  • Apart from above mentioned conditions Kirta is used for insect and snake bite cure.
  • Plant is an immune system booster and improves white blood cell count and help fight above mentioned several conditions. It builds resistance to infections and cold.  It is also recommended for urinary tract infection, women UTI, herpes and inflammatory bowel syndrome.

Plant parts used:

  • Whole Plant is used for snakebite and insect sting treatment, to treat influenza, dysentery, malaria and for respiratory infections.
  • Leaf for: Fever, colic pain, loss of appetite, diarrhea, cold, cough, fever, hepatitis, tuberculosis, mouth ulcers, bronchitis, gastro-intestinal disorder and throat sore
  • Aerial part: both leaf and young stem for Common cold, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, malaria and snakebite, urinary tract infection.            
  • Root is for stomach problem and fever.

Home remedies of Andrographis:

  1. Whole plant either fresh or dried form can be used for treating fever.
  2. Fresh leaves cut and soaked in overnight water is useful in controlling cold.
  3. Plant khashayam helps to control burning sensation in palm and sole of the feet.  
  4. Paste of stem and root with mustard added to milk taken internally controls intestinal worms infestation.
  5. Powdered herb mixed in oil can be applied externally for gonorrhea.
  6. External application of leaf and stem paste on wounds cures wounds and prevents infection.
  7. Herbal paste prepared with turmeric powder is also effective in external application, on skin.

If you are pregnant, because of the bitterness of leaves and stem, before consuming or using Andrographis seek your doctor’s advice. Those who suffer from high blood sugar condition must consume this plant part carefully as it can result is low sugar. It is not good for people who suffer form autoimmune diseases as it boosts immune system.

Image Attribution: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Andrographis_paniculata_001.JPG

 H. Zell / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)


Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: August 14, 2020

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