Calotropis gigantea – Arka Uses, Dose, Side Effects, Ayurveda Details

Calotropis gigantea is known as Arka in Sanskrit. It is widely used in many Ayurvedic treatments, both externally (ksharasutra) and internally. It is a very common herb seen widely throughout India. It is called as Madar in English. Often, its another variety Calotropois procera is also used in the same name.

Calotropis procera

Botanical Name– Calotropis Gigantea (Linn). R. Brown
Family –  Asclepiadaceae (Periplocaceae) – Arka Kula

Vernacular Names

Hindi Name – Madara, Akavan, Aak (latex of Arka is called Aak ki doodh)
English Name – Madar, Crown flower, Giant Milkweed crown
Telugu Name – Jilledu, Mandaram
Bengali Name – Aakand
Marathi Name – Rui / Akamadar
Gujarati Name – Akad, Akado
Tamil Name – Pellerukku, Erukku
Punjabi Name – Ak
Arab name – Ushar
Pharsi name – Kharak


Sanskrit synonyms

Arka – arka means Sun rays. This herb is as pungent, hot and strong as Sun rays.
Toolaphala – fruit has ridges
Ksheeraparna – leaves yield milk (latex)
Arkaparna – Parna means leaf. Leaves are strong, hot and pungent.
Vikirana – its pollination is by air (spreading)
Asphota – the fruit bursts open.
Alarka, Mandara. Saapuspa, Talaphala, Krsaparna, Arkaparna, Vikirana, Asphota.

Classical categorization

Caraka – Bedaniya, Vamonopaga, Svedopaga
Susruta- Arkadi, Adhobhagahara
Vaghata- Arkadi

Major chemical constituents

Calotropis gigantea– Laurane, Saccharose, B-amyrin; a&B calotropeols; holarrhetine, Cyanidin-3-rhamnoglucoside; Taraxsterol isovalerate; Giganteol; Calotroposide;Calactin, Calotoxin; Calotropins DI &DII, Gigantin etc.

Calotropis gigantea

Calotropis procera– A&B Amyrins, Cyanidin-3-Rhamnoglucoside, procesterol,  B-sitosterol, Calactin, Caotoxin, Calotropagenin, Calotropin, Calotropain, Proceroside, Proceragenin etc.
(Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna Vijnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry)

Medicinal properties

Rasa (taste) – Katu (pungent) Tikta (bitter)
Guna (qualities) – Laghu (lightness), Ruksha (dryness), Teekshna
Vipaka – Katu – Undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion.
Veerya – Ushna – hot potency
Effect on Tridosha – Because of its hot potency, it balances Vata and Kapha.
Red type’s flower has bitter and sweet taste. Hence it balances Pitta and Kapha.

Calotropis gigantea medicinal uses

Medicinal uses

Arka ksheera – The latex of Madar plant is used in Vamana (vomiting therapy) and Virechana (purgation therapy). It is capable of inducing vomiting and purgation.
Kushtahara – useful in skin diseases
Gulmahara – useful in abdominal tumours, bloating
Udarahara – used in the treatment of ascites.

Madar plant is
Vatahrut – balances Vata
Deepana – improves digestion
Sara – eases bowel movements.
Shophahara – anti inflammatory
Vranahara – brings about quick wound healing
Kanduhara – relieves itching
Kushtahara – useful in skin diseases
Pleehahara – useful in spleen disorders
Krumihara – useful in intestinal worm infestation

Madar flower –
Vrushya – acts as aphrodisiac
Laghu – light to digest
Deepana – improves digestion strength
Pachana – carminative
Arochaka – useful in anorexia
Praseka – excessive salivation
Arsha – haemorrhoids
Kasa shwasahara – useful in respiratory disorders – cough, asthma etc. It acts as a good expectorant.

Red coloured flowers –
Tikta Madhura – sweet, bitter in taste
Kushtahara – relieves skin diseases
Krumighna – useful in worm infestation
Kaphanashana – balances Kapha.
Arshahara – useful in haemorrhoids
Vishahara – anti toxic
Raktapitta – useful in bleeding disorders
Sangrahi – useful in diarrhoea
Gulma – useful in abdominal tumours, bloating
Shvayathuhara – anti inflammatory.

Root bark is useful in cough, cold and constipation. (acts as laxative).

Snake bites – In ancient times, for poisonous snake bite, its leaves were chewed and latex was applied over the wound.
Gastritis – Its leaves are processed with Saindhava salt to prepare a medicine called Arka Lavana, widely used in the treatment of gastritis.
Its latex is applied over the gums to relieve toothache.

Part used, dosage

Part used – Root bark, flowers, leaf, latex, seeds.
Root bark, powder 0.5-1 g.
Flower powder 1-2 g
Latex – fatal dose and fatal period: 
Wikipedia lists fatal period as 6 – 12 hours. Fatal dose is unknown. Some opine anything above 500 mg of latex is fatal.

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic medicines prepared with Calotropis gigantea –
Ardraka Ghrita – used in indigestion and chronic diarrhoea
Arkadi Kashaya – used in cough, cold, back ache with stiffness
Asanadi Kashaya – used in treating diabetes, obesity etc.


Side effects and precautions

Over-dosage may cause diarrhoea and vomiting.
It is not safe to use in pregnancy or during lactation period.

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.

Fumigation in haemorrhoids

Fumigation with powder of Arka for haemorrhoids:
Arka leaves are dried and burnt. Pile masses are exposed to the fumes. It reduces pain, itching and size of the pile mass. (Charaka Samhita Chikitsa Sthana 14th chapter).

Antidote for overdose

Antidote for Calotropis over-dosage: 
Leaves of Neelini – Indigofera tinctoria are crushed and juice is extracted. It is administered in a dose of 10 ml, two times a day.
Leaves of tamarind are crushed and juice is extracted. 15 ml is mixed with 15 ml of water, administered twice a day.

Usage of leaves in Panchakarma

The calotropis leaves are used in sweating treatment, called Prastara swedana therapy. Here, the hot boiled herbs are spread over a stone bed, covered with leaves of calotropis and the patient is made to lie on it for a few minutes time.

Is Arka leaves tied to feet at night, useful in diabetes?

Use in Abhraka purification

Use in purification of Abhraka – Mica
Abraka – Mica – in its incineration procedure, it is converted into Dhanyabhraka. In the textbook of Ananda Kanda, black variety of abraka is taken in an earthen pot and heated very well. Later the Abraka layer is dipped in arka juice (Calotropis gigantea), gruel, cows urine, triphala decoction for 3 times each.

56 thoughts on “Calotropis gigantea – Arka Uses, Dose, Side Effects, Ayurveda Details”

  1. Good info about mandar plant .can we apply latex on knee joints and how to administer this drug orally?

    • You can apply latex over knee joints.
      Its oral administration requires doctor’s consultation.
      Its root bark powder, flower powder are used for oral administration. But most commonly, it is used in combination with other herbs.

  2. i am searching its latex from last six month but unable to get it. i have required it in bulk quantity. kindly send me detail where i can get it.

  3. I do not approve of that product or their tactics. Just because they advertise it to you and call and ask you to buy, you need not listen to them. You can always hang up the phone 🙂

  4. it can help you to reduce your eye number.

    give it some heat and keep it @ your stomach on daily base 4 to 5 hours

    Try it just 20 days…..Defiantly give you positive result.

  5. Dear sir we need some quantity of Madar Milk Powder can you suggest by which source
    i can get it if possible please give me the contact no. also.

  6. Abdus Sattar, Bogra, Bangladesh.Sir,for osteoarthritis pain here people used hot compression of Akanda leaf by applying few drops of mustard oil over it. May it cause any side effect?

  7. Dear sir you have mentioned a site is it alright 2 buy black cohosh and dong quai from the site. thanks

  8. Hello Dr. Hebbar I have diabetes 25 years I am all moss blind bliding in the vitral I need to no wehere I can find the aak leaf o the tree I live in canada and is hard to find but in latin america wehere to find or I can order from you ?????? My name Agustin thank you have a blessing day

  9. Dear Sir,

    My mother is diagnoised with cancer (Breast) 4th stage. But now the C. cells has spread to other upper parts of the body. Metastasis cancer. Can this Calotropis gigantea plant be usefull in the cancer treatrment.

    • If skin comes into contact directly, it does not cause burning sensation. But long exposure may cause mild irritation.

  10. Halo sir I am facing problem of breast sagging that I lost my weight of 23 kg please tell me any medicine and remedy that can solve this soon

  11. hello doctor i have heard that its root is useful in jalodhara disease is it true?Does it have any effect on periods?

  12. Ayaskriti also has arka as an indredient in it. Kindly name a few if you have in mind having arka as ingredient. Thanks

  13. hello sir
    i am dolly yaduvanshi
    i want to ask about calotropis plants side effects on human ,and the fatal dose or fatal period of this plant ?
    calotropis gignatea and calotropis prosera ,both effects are same or some may be different

    • Hi, C. procera and gigantea work similarly.
      Wikipedia lists fatal period as 6 – 12 hours. Fatal dose is unknown. Some opine anything above 500 mg of latex is fatal.

  14. Sir i have noticed only calotropis procera being used in all formulations instead calotropis gigantea. Kindly correct me if i am wrong.

  15. Hello sir,my self Kanwarpreet Singh l put latex on my skin on ringworm. It’s itching on my skin.its burnt very sevire.please tell me how I can reduce its effect

  16. What is the side effect when it is applied on protruded piles? For how many days it can be applied on piles.

    • It shrinks the pile mass. But it can cause burning sensation. Apply it. Leave it for 5 – 10 minutes, then wash off. Do this for 5 – 7 days.

  17. In fact I applied in the morning for three days u said it was burning throughout the day..on third day I felt some fluid discharge smelling like puss . after that i washed it and applied ghee .I stopped next day as I felt burning and puss may give some other problem.. Thanks for your suggestion. I wil apply and then wash..wil inform you the result..any food OR parallel medicine do u suggest?….thank you again….namaskara…

  18. Hello, my mother-in-law is going through her menopause.. her ankel pains all the time. After long standing hours or after waking up she cannot walk applying equal pressure on both feet..can arka leaves help? Please suggest some remedy

  19. Hello doctor I got head cold cos of which I get pain in my neck headache, ear pain. Pls tell me the home remedies to remove water from head.. I can feel the heaviness in head.

  20. Sir, hearing about arka leaves, used for diabetes
    put at the base of the feet with the outer surface of the leaves on the soles, I wish to ask about the veracity of the incidents.


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