Colocynth: Citrullus colocynthis Uses, Dosage, Side Effects

Colocynth is an important Ayurveda herb. It is also known as bitter apple. Its botanical name is Citrullus colocynthis and it belongs to Cucurbitacae family. 

Vernacular names, Sanskrit synonyms

Hindi name: Indrayan, Indrayan ki jad (root)
Telugu name: Chedu Puccha, Cinna Papara, Kuturu budama
Malayalam and Tamil name: Pikkumutti.
Kannada name: Tamate Kayi, Tamte Kai
Bengali name: Rakhale Shasa
Punjabi name: kaudatumma
Telugu name: paparabudam
English name: Colocynth, bitter apple, bitter cucumber, desert gourd, vine of Sodom.

Sanskrit Synonyms:
Gavakshi – fruit is spherical in shape, similar to eye of cow
Chitra – fruit contains lines
Pita pushpa – Flowers are yellow in colour
Vishaghni – Alleviate poison
Varuni – It has purgative action

Indravaruni – Classical categorization

Charaka Samhita:
Moolini Dravya – Group of herbs, where root is the part used.
Virechana Dravya – group of herbs used for the purpose of purgation Panchakarma therapy.
Sushruta Samhita: Shyamadi Gana, Adhobhagahara
Vagbhata: Shyamadi Gana
Bh. Pr – Guduchyadi varga


Dha. Ni – 2 types
1. Indravaruni – Citrullus colocynthis
2. Visala – Tricosanthes palmata

Medicinal qualities, Effect on Doshas

Rasa (taste): Tikta (bitter)
Guna (qualities): Laghu (light to digest), Rooksha (dry), Teekshna (piercing, enters deep tissues)
Vipaka (taste conversion after digestion): Katu (pungent)
Veerya (potency): Ushna (hot)
Effect on Tridosha: Balances Kapha and Pitta.

Colocynth uses

Colocynth is very hot in nature and is a potent purgative.

It was used to initiate abortion.
In therapeutic doses, it is used in the treatment of
Kamala – jaundice
Pleeha – splenomegaly
Udara – ascites
Shwasa – Asthma, COPD, wheezing, breathing difficulty
Kasa – cough, cold
Kushta – skin diseases
Gulma – Abdominal tumor, bloating
Granthi – boils, nodules
Vrana – wounds
Prameha – diabetes, urinary tract disorders
Moodagarbha – malformed fetus

Part used, Dosage

Part used: Fruit, root, Leaf
Dose: Fruit powder – 125 – 500 mg
Root Powder – 1 – 2 grams per day.

Side effects

In people with sensitive stomach, it may produce severe purgation.
It is contra indicated during pregnancy, lactation and in children.
It should only be used under medical supervision.
Take this herb only up till the prescribed time period in the prescribed dosage.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurveda medicine with Colocynth as ingredient:
Maha Manjishtadi kashayam – Used as blood purifier in skin diseases.
Abhayarishta – used in hemorrhoids, constipation etc.
Maha Vishagarbha Taila – used in sciatica and joint disorders with stiffness as a symptom.
Mrita Sanjeevani Sura – An alcoholic Ayurveda preparation.


Perennial twinning herb or climber, usually spreads on ground
Stem – Slender with hairy tendrils
Root – Deep, branched, Cylindrical, and yellow coloured
Flowers – Pale yellow, axillary and solitary
Fruits – Globose, glabrous, pulp is very bitter, white or brown coloured seeds


Cucumis callosus
Cucumis pseudocolocynthis
Cucumis hardwickii
Cucumis prophetarum
Trichosanthes palmata

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