Since ancient times, A. peniculata is used in traditional Siddha and Ayurvedic systems of medicine as well as in tribal medicine in India and some other countries for multiple clinical applications. The therapeutic value of Kalmegh is due to its mechanism of action which is perhaps by enzyme induction. The plant extract exhibits antityphoid and antifungal activities. Kalmegh is also reported to possess antihepatotoxic, antibiotic, antimalarial, antihepatitic, antithrombogenic, antiinflammatory, anti-snake venom, and antipyretic properties to mention a few, besides its general use as an immunostimulant agent. A study conducted at Bastyr University, showed a significant rise in the mean CD4 lymphocyte level of HIV subjects after administration of 10 mg/kg andrographolide, the chief constituent extracted from the leaves of the plant.
The herb has shown an ability to reduce inflammation (heat) and fight viral infection, and is used as a principal ingredient in traditional Chinese medicinal formulas for lung support from colds. 
Andrographolide is a bitter water-soluble lactone exhibiting protective effects in carbon tetrachloride induced hepatotoxicity in rats. Its LD50 in male mice was 11.46 gm/kg, ip. This bitter principle was isolated in pure form by Gorter (1911). Such other activities as liver protection under various experimental conditions of treatment with galactosamine, paracetamol etc. are also attributed to andrographolide. The hepatoprotective action of andrographolide is related to activity of certain metabolic enzymes.
Andrographis paniculata plant extract is known to possess a variety of pharmacological activities. Andrographolide, the major constituent of the extract, is implicated in its pharmacological activity. A study has been conducted on the cellular processes and targets modulated by andrographolide treatment in human cancer and immune cells. Andrographolide treatment inhibited the in vitro proliferation of different tumor cell lines, representing various types of cancers. The compound exerts direct anticancer activity on cancer cells by cell cycle arrest at G0/G1 phase through induction of cell cycle inhibitory protein p27 and decreased expression of cyclin dependent kinase 4 (CDK4). Immunostimulatory activity of andrographolide is evidenced by increased proliferation of lymphocytes and production of interleukin 2. Andrographolide also enhanced the tumor necrosis factor α production and CD marker expression, resulting in increased cytotoxic activity of lymphocytes against cancer cells, which may contribute for its indirect anticancer activity. The in vivo anticancer activity of the compound is further substantiated against B16F0 melanoma syngenic and HT 29 xenograft models. These results suggest that andrographolide is an interesting pharmacophore with anticancer and immunomodulatory activities and hence has the potential for being developed as a cancer therapeutic agent.
In one Chilean study, the herb had a significant drying effect on the nasal secretions of cold sufferers who took 1,200 milligrams of andrographis extract daily for five days. A systematic review of the literature and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials also suggested the herb alone or in combination with eleuthero may be an appropriate alternative treatment of uncomplicated acute upper respiratory tract infection.,
The herb is the well-known drug Kalmegh 'green chiretta', and forms the principal ingredient of a household medicine ('alui'), used as a bitter tonic and febrifuge.
The Tamils have been using Nilavempu - as it is called in Tamil - for centuries. In Siddha medicine, Andrographis Paniculata is used widely to treat fevers like chikenguinea, swine-flu, typhoid etc.[unreliable source?]
A recent(2011)randomised, double-blind, multicentre,study found Andrographis paniculata as effective as mesalazine (mesalamine) in ulcerative colitis. Further, andrographolide inhibits interleukin-6 expression and suppresses prostate cancer cell growth in vitro.
Andrographis has been shown to be a safe traditional botanical for supporting upper respiratory tract health, per analysis of seven double-blind controlled trials. The herb has been shown to inhibit RANTES secretion in inflamed bronchial cells. RANTES is a chemoattractant for eosinophils, monocytes and lymphocytes that is stored in, and released by, platelets and activated T-cells. In related research: Andrographolide, an active ingredient in Andrographis, has been shown to be responsible for the herb's inflammatory modulating actions, including the reduction of cytokine and peritoneal deposition of neutrophils, and modulation of lung inflammation in vivo. Extracts of Andrographis exhibit potent inflammatory modulating and antioxidant actions in mouse models.
Andrographis paniculata extracts are mosquito repellent and can also be adulticidal to mosquitoes, viz., Culex quinquefasciatus and Aedes aegypti.
Andrographolide is the major constituent extracted from the leaves of the plant which is a bicyclic diterpenoid lactone. This bitter principle was isolated in pure form by Gorter (1911). Such other activities as liver protection under various experimental conditions of treatment with galactosamine (Saraswat et al., 1995), paracetamol (Visen et al., 1993) etc. are also attributed to Andrographolide. The hepatoprotective action of andrographolide is related to the activity of certain metabolic enzymes (Choudhury and Poddar, 1984, 1985; Choudhury et al., 1987). Systematic studies on chemistry of A. paniculata have been carried out.
Some known constituents are:
5-Hydroxy-7,8,2'-Trimethoxyflavone, Tissue Culture
- GRIN Species Profile
- Sanskrit synonyms of bhunimb Amarkosha ch. 2, section - forest medicinal plants, verse - 143
- Medicinal properties of bhunimb Nighatu adarsh
- C.V., Thiyagarajan P., Deepak H.B., Agarwal A. , "In vitro modulation of LPS/calcimycin induced inflammatory and allergic mediators by pure compounds of Andrographis paniculata (King of bitters) extract Chandrasekaran" International Immunopharmacology 2011 11:1 (79-84)
- Burgos R.A., Hancke J.L., Bertoglio J.C., Aguirre V., Arriagada S., Calvo M., Cáceres D.D. "Efficacy of an Andrographis paniculata composition for the relief of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms: A prospective randomized placebo-controlled trial" Clinical Rheumatology 2009 28:8 (931-946)
- Calabrese, Carlo; Berman, Sheryl H.; Babish, John G.; Ma, Xinfang; Shinto, Lynne; Dorr, Melissa; Wells, Kameron; Wenner, Cynthia A. et al (2000). "A phase I trial of andrographolide in HIV positive patients and normal volunteers". Phytotherapy Research 14 (5): 333–8. doi:10.1002/1099-1573(200008)14:53.0.CO;2-D. PMID 10925397.
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- Poolsup, N.; Suthisisang, C.; Prathanturarug, S.; Asawamekin, A.; Chanchareon, U. (2004). "Andrographis paniculata in the symptomatic treatment of uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection: systematic review of randomized controlled trials". Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics 29 (1): 37–45. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2710.2003.00534.x. PMID 14748896.
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- Tang T., Targan S.R., Li Z.-S., Xu C., Byers V.S., Sandborn W.J. ,"Randomised clinical trial: Herbal extract HMPL-004 in active ulcerative colitis - A double-blind comparison with sustained release mesalazine." Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics 2011 33:2 (194-202)
- hun JY, Tummala R, Nadiminty N, Lou W, Liu C, Yang J, Evans CP, Zhou Q, Gao AC.,"Andrographolide, an herbal medicine, inhibits interleukin-6 expression and suppresses prostate cancer cell growth.", Genes Cancer. 2010 Aug 1;1(8):868-876 C
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