Botanical Name(s): Andrographis Paniculata
Species: A. paniculata
Popular Name(s): Creat, Kariyat
Parts Used: Whole plant leaves
Habitat: Cultivated throughout India
Indian Echinacea is a traditional Indian herb, historically used as support for a healthy immune system. The main compound found in the herb is a diterpene lactone called andrographilide B. It grows vertically to a height of 30-110 cm. The plant thrives in moist and shady places, and grows along glabrous leaves and white flowers, with rose-purple colored spots on the petals. Its stems are dark green in color and have a height of 0.3 - 1.0 m and a diameter of 2-6 mm. Indian Echinacea is found in isolated patches in the tropical Asian countries. It is a versatile medicinal herb, known for its many positive uses for human health.
- Bitter diterpenoid lactones, especially deoxy-andrographolide, andrographolide and ncoandrographolide have been isolated from the whole plant and leaves.
- Diterpene dimers
- Flavonoids, which are available in the roots.
- The main active constituents and marker compounds (considered to be the andrographolides and andrographis extracts) are often standardized to these compounds.
Uses & Benefits of Indian Echinacea
- Indian echinacea has been found to be an effective anti-biotic, anti-viral, and anti-parasitic and immune system stimulant.
- It is used in viral hepatitis, children's bowel complaints, gastric acidity; drug induced liver damage, liver congestion and flatulence.
- The herb is being increasingly used as treatment for cold. Reasonably good evidence tells us that it can reduce the severity of cold symptoms. It may also help prevent the occurrence of colds.
- It is also known to promote digestion and serves to protect the liver and the gall bladder. It kills the intestinal worms and supports the intestine.
- Indian echinacea promotes a healthy heart by preventing blocked arteries and blood clots. It has a bitter taste, which has a cooling effect on the body, good enough to bring down a temperature.
- In case of a loss of appetite in children, the plant is used to promote hunger. It is also used as a febrifuge, stomachic, tonic, alterative, anthelmintic, antispasmodic etc.
- The plant is capable of working as an expectorant, serving to promote mucus discharge from the respiratory system.
- Indian echinacea is a known to be a relaxing herb, though it may not have the same effect as that the accepted herbal sedatives, valerian roots, hop, skullcap, etc.
- Indian echinacea plant contains some toxic materials, though the level of toxicity is very low.
- In some instances, consumption of the plant has resulted in dizziness and heart palpitations.
- Allergic reactions are also associated with the plant, as put forward by some studies.