Nilavembu Benefits, Uses, Dosage, Side Effects and Contraindications

Nilavembu (Nila Vembu, king of bitters, Chirayetah, Andrographis paniculata) is extensively used Siddha and Ayurvedic herb for treatment of variety of diseases namely skin diseases, allergy, respiratory infections, ulcerative colitis, rheumatic problems, dengue, chikungunya, fever etc. It has significant blood purifying action and therefore used in cases of leprosy, gonorrhea, scabies, boils, skin eruptions, and other chronic skin conditions.

Nilavembu helps in digestive problems such as griping, irregular bowel habits, and loss of appetite. It is also given in case of general debility, during convalescence after fevers, dyspepsia associated with gaseous distension, and in advanced stages of dysentery. Nilavembu is shows beneficial effects in sore throat, diarrhea, dysentery, cough with thick sputum, carbuncle, sores, and snake bites.

Nilavembu works well in innumerable conditions due to its detoxicant, aperient, anti-inflammatory, emollient, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, gastric and liver tonic, carminative, anthelmintic, and antipyretic properties. It detoxifies body and works from within removing the root cause of the disease. It protects the liver and supports its proper functioning.

The aerial parts are Nilavembu Plant, containing a large number of chemical constituents, such as lactones, diterpenoids, diterpene glycosides, flavonoids, and flavonoid glycosides, are most commonly used. The above ground parts of plants are used as infusion, decoction, or powder. Such medicinal preparations can be used alone or with other medicines depending on disease.

Nilavembu Medicinal Properties

  • Alterative: alters the morbid or unhealthy processes of nutrition and excretion and restores the normal functioning.
  • Anti-allergic: Prevents or relieves an allergy.
  • Antibacterial: Active against bacteria.
  • Anti-diabetic: Blood sugar lowering.
  • Anti-hyperglycemic: Counteracting high levels of glucose in the blood.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms.
  • Antioxidant: neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals and other substances.
  • Antipyretic/antifebrile/febrifuge: Effective against fever.
  • Anti-viral: Effective against viruses.
  • Cholagogue: Promotes the discharge of bile from the system, purging it downward.
  • Detoxifier: It is a natural blood detoxifier and anti-microbial which helps alleviate skin diseases and enhances the complexion.
  • Hepatoprotective: Prevent damage to the liver.
  • Immunity-boosting: Increases immunity.

Chemical Composition

  • Nilavembu contains diterpenes, lactones, and flavonoids alkanes, ketones, and aldehydes and other Phytoconstituents.
  • Followings are isolated from the aerial parts of plant:
  • 2 bitter principles: andrographolide and a compound named kalmeghin are present in leaves
  • 4 lactones: chuanxinlian A (deoxyandrographolide), B (andrographolide), C (neoandrographolide) and D
  • (14-deoxy-11, 12-didehydroandrographolide) diterpene glucoside

Nilavembu Medicinal Uses in diseases

  • Bacillary dysentery
  • Chikungunya
  • Chronic fever
  • Common cold, coughs, sinusitis, thick phlegm
  • Dengue fever
  • Enteritis
  • Fatty liver syndrome
  • Hepatitis
  • Hepatomegaly
  • Herpes zoster, hiv
  • Inflammatory skin conditions, sores and eczema
  • Intermittent fever
  • Jaundice
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lowered immunity
  • Malaria
  • Parasite infestation
  • Post fever debility
  • Snakebites
  • Sore throat
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Urinary infections with dysuria, pyuria, hematuria and proteinuria

Health Benefits of Nilavembu

Nilavembu is a bitter tonic. It is used traditionally for treating fever, liver problems, jaundice, respiratory illness and skin diseases.  It `is effective in diseases of liver such as jaundice, slanginess, enlargement of spleen etc. Nilavembu is used as a preventive and curative measure for chikungunya, dengue, undetermined fevers and other viral fevers.

Appetite Loss, digestive weakness, constipation

Nilavembu is safe and effective for digestion problems. In case of chronic constipation, indigestion, abdominal gas, Nilavembu(2 gm), Amla powder (2 gm),, mulethi (2 gm) are taken and boiled to make decoction by boiling in 400 ml water till water reduces to 100 ml. Filter and drink.

in case of diarrhea, loose motion, abdominal gas and low appetite th leaves of Nilavembu are cooked in water till it thickens. Then jaggery is added. When it cools down small pills are rolled and taken.

For griping, irregular stools and loss of appetite, the expressed juice of the Nilavembu leaves is given the addition of powdered cardamoms, cloves and cinnamon etc.


Nilavembu is effective against fever due to variety of reasons. It is useful in fever due to its febrifuge, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, depurative, sudorific, anthelmintic, digestive, stomachic, tonic, febrifuge, antiviral and antiperiodic properties.

  • Chikungunya
  • Dengue fever
  • Intermittent Fever
  • Malaria

It is also reported to have some anti-typhoid and antibiotic activity.

Nilavembu Kudineer, which is combination of Nilavembu with Vettiver, Vilamichai ver, Chukku, Milagu, Korai Kizhangu, Santhanam, Parpadaagam and Pei pudul, is given in case of mosquito borne diseases such as malariya, dengue, chikunguniya due to antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Diseases of Liver

Nilavembu is useful in treating liver related diseases. It exhibits protects liver from chemicals inside body and stimulates liver.

The aqueous extract of Nilavembu leaves is given for jaundice.

For treating liver problems, jaundice, take leaves of Nilavembu (1 gm), Bhumi Amla/Tamalki (1-2 gm powder), Mulethi / Liquorice (2 gm) in 200 ml water. Boil till water reduces to 50 ml. Then filter and drink.

Nilavembu decoction/Kwath or infusion is givens in case of sluggish liver, indigestion, bowel irregularity, anorexia, abdominal gas and diarrhoea.

The infusion of leaves is given in general weakness and indigestion.

Respiratory ailments

Clinical studies done on Nilavembu, reports it is safe and effective for reducing symptoms of cough with thick sputum, uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infections. It is also indicated in prevention and treatment of the common cold.

Heart diseases

Nilavembu has antithrombotic actions. It reduces the formation of blood clots (thrombi).

Skin diseases

Nilavembu removes toxins from blood. It is bitter and detoxifying. Due to significant blood purifying property it works excellent in conditions caused by blood abnormalities such as eczema, burns, skin eruptions, boils, scabies, etc.

Weakness after Fever

Nilavembu increases bile flow and clears liver infections and inflammation. It removes sluggishness of liver after fever. It hot in potency, burns ama, improves liver function, stimulates bile flow, treats liver-spleen disorders, and bacterial-viral infections. It cleanses body, improves appetite, and decreases Kapha. All these helps in recovery after fever.

Dosage of Nilavembu

Nilavembu Fresh juice Dosage

  • Adult: 5-10 ml before meal.
  • Children above the age of 7: half of the adult dose.
  • Frequnecy: 2 to 3 times a day.

Nilavembu Powder Dosage

  • Adult: 1-3 grams before meal with warm water.
  • Children above the age of 7: half of the adult dose.
  • Frequency: 2 to 3 times a day.

Nilavembu Plant Decoction or Nilavembu kadha

  • Adult: 50-100 ml
  • Frequency: 2 to 3 times a day.

Safety Profile

  • It is safe for most of the people.
  • Person taking oral blood sugar lowering medicines should take this herbal powder under medical supervision.
  • Stop taking 2 weeks before any scheduled surgery.
  • It reduces Pitta and Kapha but increases Vata. So, Vata prakriti people need to take it cautiously.
  • No negative drug–herb interactions known.

Pregnancy & Lactation

  • Do not use in pregnancy. It is UNSAFE.
  • Avoid in lactation without consulting doctor.

Nilavembu Side Effects

Overdose can cause GI distress, anorexia, and emesis.


  • Bleeding disorders
  • Duodenal ulcers
  • Hyperacidity
  • Hypotension
  • Male and female sterility (It has shown anti-fertility effect in laboratory animals)
  • Oesophageal reflux etc.

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