Nilavembu which goes by the botanical name, Andrographis paniculata, belongs to the Acanthaceae family. The annual herb that grows to a height of 30-110 cm is cultivated mostly around the autumn season and is widely cultivated throughout Asia. The herb bears dark green, quadrangular stems with longitudinal furrows and winged angles at the younger parts and slightly enlarged nodes. The leaves are usually dark green, glabrous, lanceolate, pinnate, and arranged in an opposite decussate manner on the stems. The flowers of these plants are usually small, whereas they have linear-oblong capsules as fruits that enclose numerous yellowish-brown, sub-quadrate seeds.

Being a potent Siddha and Ayurvedic herb, nilavembu is widely used in almost all ayurvedic formulations that are directed towards shielding the immune system and getting rid of harmful toxins. Apart from alleviating different types of infectious fever, the bitter herb also provides a traditional remedy for improving physical debility or fatigue, promoting liver functions, enhancing appetite, boosting digestion, improving metabolism, and stimulating kidney functions. Be it blood disorders, skin diseases, loss of appetite, fatty liver, intestinal parasite, constipation, or hepatomegaly, this extremely powerful bitter herb provides a noteworthy remedy for all.

Synonyms Of Nilavembu

This potent immune strengthening herb is also known by several vernacular names. It is known as Andrographis in English, Kirata in Sanskrit, Kriate in English, Nilavembu in Tamil, Nelavemu in Telugu, and Kiryat in Unani scriptures. Other names of this bitter plant include Kalmegha, Kalmegh, Green Chirata, Kirata Tikta, Vishwambhar, Hempedu Bumi, Alui, Bhumi nimbak, Yavtikta, Kalpanatha, and Bhu Nimba.

What Are The Ayurvedic Indications Of Nilavembu?

The holistic science of Ayurveda knows this rejuvenating herb as Kalmegh. Time and again, this potent herb has been mentioned in several ayurvedic scriptures and journals for various indications which include Jvara (useful in fever), Kasahara (Relieves cough), Deepana (enhances stomach fire), Pachana (helps in digestion), Rochana (stimulates appetite), Anulomana (improves breathing), Vamana (prevents nausea and vomiting), Vayasthapana (prevents ageing), Shwasha (relieves breathing difficulties),  Amahara (treats indigestion), Dahahara (relieves burning sensation), Mehahara (treats urinary tract disorders), Prameha (manages diabetes), Trutahara (relieves excessive thirst), Rasayani (rejuvenates the whole body), Balya (improves muscle strength), Hikkanigrahana (controls hiccups), Kantya (relieves sore throat), Triptighno (relieves pseudo-satiation), and Vamanopaga (treats emesis) Shonitasthapana (prevents bleeding), Pandu (treats anemia), Sangrahini (treats diarrhoea), Kustha (treats skin disorders), Kamala (prevents jaundice), Varnya (improves complexion), Krimihara (relieves intestinal worms), Hridaya (treats heart problems), Kanthya (improves voice), Arsha (treats piles), and Krichra (treats painful micturition).

What Are The Chemical Components Of Nilavembu?

Famed as a potent antipyretic and expectorant herb, nilavembu exhibits a rich concentration of diterpenoids, lactones, diterpene glycosides, flavonoids, and flavonoids glycosides. The main active component is considered to be andrographolide and Andrographis extract that possesses numerous therapeutic properties like an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, vermicidal, laxative, hypoglycaemic, hepatoprotective, digestive, and cholagogue.

Ayurvedic Formulation Of Nilavembu:

Nilavembu Kudineer Churnam

Touted as Nilavembu Kashayam, this powdered formulation is a well-known Siddha medicine in the southern states of the Indian subcontinent. The powerful therapeutic indications of the nine herbal components present in the Churnam offer management and prevention of different types of infections. It is also used in most ayurvedic therapeutic preparations that not only help in boosting immunity but also help in providing relief from headache, muscle aches, body aches, loss of energy, fatigue, weakness, etc. It is also extremely beneficial for reducing joint pain, muscle pain, joint swelling, and rashes associated with certain infectious diseases like chikungunya.

How To Make Nilavembu Kudineer Churnam?


1 part of Nilavembu (Kalmegh) – Andrographis Paniculata

1 part of Vetiver (Ushira or Khas) – Vetiveria zizanioides

1 part of Vilamichai Ver – Plectranthus Vettiveroides

1 part of Mustak (Nut Grass) – Cyperus Rotundus

1 part of Safed Chandan (White Sandalwood) – Santalum Album

1 part of Sonth (Dry Ginger) – Zingiber Officinale

1 part of Kali Mirch (Black pepper) – Piper Nigrum

1 part of Chichonda (Snake Gourd) – Trichosanthes cucumerina

1 part of Parpadagam – Mollugo Cerviana


Obtain fresh parts of all the above-given herbs.

Wash them properly with water to remove soil and other impurities.

Drain the supernatant liquid containing the impurities.

Keep the herbs under the sun for a week or so until there is no moisture left.

Ground and mix the dried herbs in a grinder until it becomes a fine powder.

Air-dry the powdered mixture to remove any extra moisture.

Pass it through sieve no.100 to remove fine impurities.

Store it in cool places in airtight containers for future use.

Directions To Prepare Nilavembu Kashayam From The Churnam:

Boil approximately 2-3 tbsp i.e. 10 gms of the herbal powder in 240 ml of water until the decoction reduces to ¼ of its original quantity. Strain the concoction and keep it for future use. Consume 30 to 60 ml of this warm decoction twice a day on an empty stomach. One can add palm jaggery, mishri, or honey to the aqueous decoction to enhance the taste.


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