Purpose: To characterize the aerial parts of Andrographis paniculata, a bitter Indian herb grown in Nigeria, for the purpose of quality control. Methods: The determination of bitterness value and of various physicochemical characteristics; tests for key phytochemicals; and thin layer chromatography (TLC) of the air-dried herb, were carried out as prescribed in standard texts. Results: The mean bitterness value of the herb for both men and women was 2.86 +- 1.74 x 103 units per g. The male value (2.07 +- 1.42 x 103) appeared to be lower than the female's (3.52 +- 1.82 x 103) but the difference was not statistically significant. The results (% w/w) of loss on drying (10.64 +- 0.36), total ash (14.10 +- 4.49), water extractive value (30.37 +- 2.63) and acid insoluble ash (1.00 +- 0.06) were similar to those reported for the Asian plant. The phytochemical tests revealed the presence of glycosides, saponins, tannins and alkaloids, but not of anthraquinones. Normal phase TLC of the drug yielded 5 spots as against 6 spots yielded by reverse TLC. Conclusion: The results provide useful quantitative and descriptive data that are essential for identifying and characterizing the Nigerian grown herb for the purpose of quality control; and confirm key similarities between the Nigerian and the Asian plant. Keywords: Andrographis paniculata, Quality control, Bitterness value, Physicochemical, Phytochemical, Chromatography.
Trop J Pharm Res, August 2010; 9(4)