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[private]It is called Akar Cerita in the Malay Language, but known as the King of Bitter.  It is a kind of herbaceous plant in the Acanthaceae family. At a glance it looks like the henna plant, with dark green leaves.  Its flower bud is like the small chili, and the flower, white in colour with purple spots at one end of the petals.  It grows easily in an open area.

Known scientifically as Andrographis paniculata but also known as the ‘hempedu bumi’ or the ‘earth bile’ in Malaysia, it tastes so bitter after being rubbed with hands.  If consumed as blended juice the bitter taste can be described as of the same with the ‘petawali’ plant (Tinospora Tuberculata), and will linger at the tongue for a while.

It is widely cultivated in southern Asia, where it is used to treat infections and some diseases, often being used before antibiotics were created. Mostly the leaves and roots were used for medicinal purposes. It is used as part of the remedy to help cure high blood pressure and diabetes.  Normally the leaves, stems and roots together with the flowers of the plant are boiled and later drank to treat ailments.

The bitter taste from the mix will linger and cause the tongue to feel numb.  For diabetes the mix is usually added with the java tea or the misai kuching (Orthosiphon Stamineus).

It is also used as alternative remedy to treat cold and sore throat by simply dipping a few leaves in a glass of hot water and consumed slowly while the water turns lukewarm.  Experts however advise that the intake frequency be scheduled for controlling measures.

The plant is also used to treat insect bites including bee sting and snake bites. Simple procedure includes pounding the leaves and applying them on the part affected by insect sting and snake bites.

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