Andrographis peniculata: Kalmegha is natural substitute for antibiotics
By Syed Akbar
These days everyone talks of antibiotics abuse, overdose and resistance. There are alsoreports of new strains of bacteria emerging thanks to unscientific use of antibiotics.But long before modern medicine came out with the magical powers of antibiotics, ancientIndian systems of medicine including Ayurveda and Unani have benefited from Kalmegha, anatural antibiotic. Kalmegha is technically called Andrographis peniculata. The herb is also popular by othernames like Kalpanath and Kiryat. Like the neem, Kalmegha is bitter in taste andunpalatable. But it has a myriad of medicinal properties including its ability to fightleprosy, boost immunity, kill bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, control fevers ofvarious origin including malarial and typhoid, keep the stomach in good health, andprovide relief from haemorrhoids. Of late, research has been taken up on the medicinal properties of Kalmegha. The studieswere centered around Kalmegha’s ability to kill cancer cells, reduce upper respiratorytract infections and as a general health tonic. Thanks to its antibiotic properties, itkills all harmful germs that invade the body. There are also claims of Kalmegha improvingthe immunity in people living with HIV and AIDS. ========== Home remedies ========== Kalmegha powder is available in herbal stores. It can be taken in prescribed quantitieswith honey to improve the immune system and protect the body from harmful germs. Kalmeghatea can also be prepared by using its leaves. The tea serves as a general health tonic.It is a good antibiotic too. For ages a number of tribal populations in India, Malaysia, Indonesia and China have beenusing Kalmegha decoction or infusion to treat fevers and skin diseases. Take a couple offresh or dried leaves of Kalmegha and boil them in a cup of water. Filter the decoctionand use it. Alternatively, crush the fresh leaves and soak them in water, filter thesolution to obtain infusion. Liver disorders can be treated by adding a teaspoon of honey to a teaspoon of Kalmeghadecoction. In case of extract (available in market), it should be consumed in a smallquantity i.e. about four ml or less twice daily.