The bitter taste is said to be cleansing, reducing, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitical and essential for our liver and digestive health. Since we tend to not get enough of the bitter taste in our daily diet, we can easily make up for it by adding some bitter herbs to our herbal regimen. Kalmegha is one of the most bitter of the bitter, and its potent taste is reflected in its powerful healing potential. It is a great herbal option for pacifying both Pitta and Kapha dosha and is perfect in times of illness, cleansing, allergies, weight loss and digestive disturbances.
Kalmegha may be less commonly used than its bitter colleague neem, but in my option it is equally as powerful and possesses its own unique health benefits. In the classical texts, Kalmegha’s main use is seen in treating liver disorders and is an essential herb to take during times of low liver energy, hepatitis, ascites, jaundice, liver enlargement, fatty liver, alcoholism, high toxins and low bile production.
Although Kalmegha is a liver tonic essential, its healing potential does not stop there. Kalmegha is considered one of the best herbs to take during fever, illness and infection as it kills off unwanted microbes (bacteria, fungus, viruses, parasites, etc) while simultaneously stimulating the immune system. As a natural antihistamine, it is great during times of allergies and has been known to alleviate a runny nose and eliminate sinus issues (infection, headache, congestion).
Kalmegha is one of the best herbs to take during times of cleansing and detoxification. Its properties are so strong it is said to have the ability to remove poison from the body and was traditionally used to treat snake and scorpion bites. It is most effective on releasing toxins from the liver and blood, although it is also great for flushing out the GI tract due to its cleansing, laxative properties.
Kalmegha reduces both Kapha imbalances as well as Pitta. However due to its bitter, light and dry nature it will very quickly provoke Vata potentially causing anxiety, insomnia, dryness, restless mind and spaciness if used improperly. Being of a very potent nature, this bitter tonic is only needed to be taken in small dosages and excessive intake should be avoided by any and all body types.
Health Benefits of Kalmegha
- Liver tonic: cleanses, strengthens, improves function and heals
- Increases bile flow
- Treats all liver disorders such as hepatitis, low liver energy and jaundice
- Beneficial for gallbladder and spleen disorders
- Detoxifies the system, purifies the blood
- Stimulates the digestive fire (Agni)
- Alleviates gastritis, stomach ulcers, colitis and inflammatory bowel disease
- Kills of Candida overgrowth
- Antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, anti-parasitical
- Immunostimulant (increases the immune system)
- Treats herpes and mouth sores (can be used internally and externally as paste)
- Treats cold, flu, fever, sinus infection, runny nose and sore throat
- Treats respiratory infections
- Alleviates shortness of breath
- Natural antihistamine, reduces allergy symptoms
- Scrapes accumulated toxins, fat and cholesterol from the channels
- Aids in weight loss
- Reduces sugar cravings
- Reduces high blood pressure
- Treats skin disorders such as acne, rash, eczema and psoriasis
- Relieves thirst
- Promotes elimination, relieves constipation
- Natural blood thinner
- Anti-cancer properties (for prevention only, please do not use for treatment!)
- Treats urinary tract infections (UTI)
How to Use Kalmegha
For liver disorders and general detoxification:
For weight loss:
Mix 1/4 tsp of kalmegha with 1/2 tsp of trikatu churna in 1 tsp of honey. Take this three times daily before meals. Follow with a few sips of hot water.
For general sickness or infection (cold, flu, fever, etc):
Take 1/4 tsp of kalmegha with 1/4 tsp of neem and 1/4 tsp of ginger in 1 cup of hot water. Steep for 5 minutes, stir well and drink. Take this blend every 2-3 hours for treatment of sickness and three times daily for the prevention (meaning if symptoms are just beginning).
For Parasitical Infection:
Take 1/4 tsp of kalmegha with 1/2 tsp of vidanga in 1 cup of warm water. Steep for 5 minutes, stir well and drink. Take this twice daily, once in the morning on an empty stomach and again before bed.
For slow, sluggish digestion:
Take 1/4 tsp of kalmegha with 1/4 tsp of chitrak and 1/4 tsp of ginger in 1 tsp of honey. Wash down with a few sips of hot water. Take this blend three times daily before each meal.
For respiratory disorders:
Mix 1/4 tsp of kalmegha with 1/4 tsp of vasa, 1/4 tsp of bibhitaki and a pinch of black pepper in 1 cup of hot water. Take this 3-5 times daily until the infection has subsided.
For skin disorders:
Mix 1/4 tsp of kalmegha with 1/4 tsp of manjishta and 1/4 tsp of turmeric in 1 Tbsp of aloe vera juice. Follow with a few sips of hot water. Take this blend twice daily, once between breakfast and lunch and again between lunch and dinner.
Take 1/4 tsp of kalmegha in 1 cup of CCF tea. Drink this 3-4 times daily until symptoms have cease. Once the symptoms have been alleviated, continue to take this same amount 1-2 times daily for 3-7 days to prevent reoccurrence.