5 Top Benefits, Uses & Side Effects of Kalmegh | Nilavembu | Siriyanangai
Kalmegh | Nilavembu is a small plant that has got wonderful medicinal uses and it has been used in home remedies for a really long time. It's botanical name is andrographis paniculata and it is called king of bitters in English. It is called nilavembu or siriyanangai in Tamil, kirayat in Hindi and kalmegh in Bengali. Nila means soil and vembu means neem, the name literally means a herb that grows close to the soil that is as bitter as neem, nilavembu is very very bitter, just like neem. The first thing that will come to anyone's mind after hearing the word nilavembu is dengue fever, nilavembu is best known for it's use in treating and preventing dengue. Here in Tamil Nadu I am sure many will be aware of nilavembu, as even doctors advise us to use nilavembu for dengue treatment. The word nilavembu has become synonymous with dengue treatment that we forget it's other wonderful uses. Two days back my mother had a sudden allergic attack. She has never got any allergic attacks before and I was very surprised when she called me about her allergic attack. Her whole body had started itching and she didn't know the cause for it and the itching was getting unbearable. There is an old person in our village who is an expert in herbs and treats everyone in the village. What moves me the most is that although she is not well off, she will not accept money from anyone and does it for the good of others. She gave a pea sized herbal paste and asked my mom to swallow it, immediately the itching started to diminish. When I asked her what herb she used, she said a name I didn't recognize and when I asked her to show the herb, it was nilavembu | kalmegh. The main problem with herb identification is the multiple names for one herb even in the same locality, but I am looking forward to learning a lot from her and hopefully with god's grace I will be able to record all of those treasures in the blog for everyone to benefit. After seeing first hand the effect of kalmegh in treating allergies, I think it will be the first herb that I will pick for allergies from now on. Kalmegh | nilavembu kudineer is very famous in Tamil Nadu for its use in treating dengue fever, but kalmegh can be used to treat all kinds of fever, for treating diabetes, for blood purification, skin diseases, allergies and kalmegh plant is also used to ward of snakes, mosquitoes. Any preparation with kalmegh is very very bitter, but it really does wonders. The best way to identify this amazing herb is by it's unique flowers and fruit capsules. The plant produces plenty of small flowers that are white in color with specks of purple. You can also use pure nilavembu powder, if you don't get the fresh herb. The fresh herb grows in any type of soil easily and here in Tamil Nadu it is not very commonly found everywhere, but of late many have started growing this plant after the dengue campaign. Side effects: Kalmegh is best avoided by pregnant women.
1.Kalmegh | Nilavembu for Diabetes, Arthritis, Liver & Cancer:
Nilavembu is one of the most important herbs that is a sarva roga nivarani meaning cure for all diseases. It lowers the blood sugar levels and is excellent for treating diabetic patients, but it is best done under medical supervision, as they have to lower the diabetic medicines that they are already taking. Kalmegh prevents cancer cells from forming and it is a powerful cancer preventive medicine. Kalmegh decoctions is a liver tonic. Many things affect the liver like too much alcohol consumption, powerful medications, eating foods sprayed with pesticide and consuming kalmegh is one of the best ways to keep the liver functioning properly. Kalmegh has got anti inflammatory properties making it ideal for treating arthritis and gout. A simple decoction made by boiling 15 to 20 leaves of fresh or dried kalmegh leaves in a cup of water till it is reduced in half can be used for treating all the above said diseases. The decoction is very very bitter and can be consumed along with palm candy or with honey. 2.Kalmegh | Nilavembu for Allergies:
This was the paste that was given to my mother for her allergies. Fresh kalmegh leaves are ground in a mortar and pestle along with very little water to get a smooth, thick paste. Take a pea sized amount of paste and make a ball and swallow it along with water. The bitterness might linger in the tongue for sometime, if you find it very uncomfortable, just take a tiny amount of honey. This has to be taken in an empty stomach for 3 days continuously. This remedy is a very good remedy for allergies that gives very good results immediately. You can also try it with good quality kalmegh powder that is sold in the shops... 3.Kalmegh | Nilavembu For All Kinds of Fever:
Kalmegh is a natural antibiotic that can be used to treat all kinds of fever, though it is best known for it's use in treating dengue fever. For treating fever, we make a decoction by pounding a tiny bit of turmeric, 4 to 5 peppercorns and 10 kalmegh leaves coarsely in a mortar and pestle and then boiling it in a cup of water till it is reduced in half. This decoction can be given to children and adults. For children around 2 tbsp of this decoction can be given, for adults around 3 to 4 tbsp will work well. 4. Kalmegh | Nilavembu Kudineer for Dengue Treatment:
Here in Tamil Nadu we get a herbal powder made out of 9 herbs in which nilavembu is the main ingredient for treating dengue. After the dengue outbreak this drink is getting very popular as it is considered the most effective remedy for dengue. This powder is sold under the name of nilavembu kudineer chooranam and you can easily order it online. If you don't want to eat the chooranam, there is an other effective preparation that is very effective and that can be easily made at home. My uncle taught me this remedy: Take 1 part of a single papaya leaf, 10 kalmegh leaves, 5 peppercorns and 1 tbsp of palm candy powder, pound it once in a mortar and pestle and boil till it is reduced to half a cup. Drink it for 3 days in an empty stomach, for children reduce it by half. Both kalmegh and papaya leaves are very effective in treating dengue fever and this decoction works very well. An article written about this treatment in a journal made me smile, it was written that finally a grandmas remedy has been proven to be the most effective for treating dengue and has been approved even by medical community. If only we listen to our grandmas, I think we will lead a much healthier life...:) 5. Kalmegh | Nilavembu for Cold:
Nilavembu can be used for treating all cold related problems.The fresh juice when taken internally is the best remedy for treating cold related problems. The only problem with nilavembu concoctions is the bitterness. There are a few things that we can follow while drinking bitter kashayam. Drink it at a go without even tasting it and drink little bit of water immediately. You can also immediately take a spoon of honey after drinking the decoction. With the nilavembu paste the bitterness lingers longer, so tilt your head up, pop in the paste and immediately swallow it with water. For treating cold, collect fresh leaves, wash them well and take them in a blender along with little boiled water, grind well and strain. You can also pound it in a mortar and pestle to get the syrup. For adults 1 tbsp can be taken and for children 1 to 2 tsp will work well. Remember to always drink the juice immediately after making it.