Kutki – Picrorhiza kurroa is a powerful Ayurvedic herb used in treating mainly chronic fever, skin disorders and diabetes. It is also used in purgation (Virechana Panchakarma) procedure.
Botanical Name: Pichrohiza Kurroa Royle ex. Benth
Family- SCROPHULARACEAE (Tikta Kula)
Hindi Name- Kutki, Katuka
Telugu Name- Katuka Rohini
Bengali Name- Katuki, Katki
Tamil Name- Katukarogini, Kadugurohini,
Malayalam name – Kadugurohini
English Name- Picrorrhiza, Hellebore, Yellow gentian, Picroliv
Punjabi Name- Kaundd, Kaud
Marathi Name- Kali Katuki, Bala Kadu
Gujarati Name- Kadu
Arab and Farsi name – Kharabake
Katuka, Tikta (bitter in taste), Katu rohini, Shakuladani
Kandaruha, Matsya Shakala (Stem bark resembles skin of fish),
Chakrangi (has circular designs)
Krushnabheda (when broken, the root looks dark inside),
Shataparva (multi branched),
Ashoka, Katumbhara, Katvi
Bhedaniya – group of herbs that are piercing and cause purgation,
Lekhaniya – group of herbs that are scraping and cause weight loss,
Stanyasodhana – group of herbs that cleanses breast milk,
Tikta skandha – bitter tasting group of herbs
Susruta- Patoladi, Pippalyadi, Mustadi
Vagbhata- Patolyadi, Mustadi(A.H) Pippalyadi(A.S)
There are two varieties described in the nighantu work viz. Katuka rohini (P. Kurroa) and Ashoka rohini (E. Paniculata).
The kaTuki / Picrorrhiza kurroa tree is found in the Himalayan region from Kashmir to Sikkim at an elevation of 2700-4500m and in Nepal, found abundantly between 3500 and 4800 m. It is found far away from the community and takes from hours to days to walk to its growing habitat.
Pircorhiza kurroa chemical constituents
D-Mannitol, Kutkiol, Kutkisterol,Apocyanin: phenol glucosides; androsim and picein iridoid glycosides; Kutkin, picroside I, ii & iii; Kutkoside, Minecoside, Picrorhizin,arvenin iii etc.
(Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna Vijnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry)
Phyto-chemistry study reveals the chemical composition of Picrorhiza kurroa to include Kutkin, a bitter glycoside which contains two C-9 iridoid glycosides-Picroside I and Kutakoside.
Kutki medicinal qualities:
Rasa (Taste) – Tikta (Bitter)
Vipaka – taste conversion after digestion- Katu (pungent)
Guna (qualities)-Ruksa, Laghu (light to digest)
Veerya- Sheeta (cold potency)
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Pitta
Part used, dosage
Part used- Root, Underground stem (Rhizome & Roots)
Dosage- Powder 0.5-1 g (therapeutic) and 3-6 g (purgative)
Picrorhiza Kurroa uses:
Asrajit – being coolant, useful in bleeding disorders such as menorrhagia, nasal bleeding etc.
Dahajit – relieves burning sensation (as in case of diabetic neuropathy)
Arochaka – useful in anorexia
Vishamajvara – useful in chronic recurrent fever
Bhedani, Rechani – piercing, causes purgation / diarrhea
Deepani – improves digestion and metabolism
Hrudya – good for heart
Kapha Pitta Jwarapaha – useful in fever of Kapha and Pitta origin.
Prameha – useful in urinary tract disorders, diabetes
Shvasa – useful in asthma, dyspnoea,
Kasa – useful in cough, cold,
Kushtahara – useful in skin disorders
Orally, it is used in the treatment of Vitiligo, jaundice, hepatitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
It acts as a potent liver stimulant. In higher doses, it acts as purgative.
It is very useful in relieving intestinal worm infestation
It is useful in weight loss treatment.
Useful in restoration of liver functions after alcohol toxicity.
The katuki is cold in potency and has a pungent vipaaka [post digestive taste]. It possesses dryness and lightness as its attributes.
By the virtue of the presence of bitterness taste, pungent vipaka, dryness; lightness attributes and cold potency, the katuki aggravates vata dosha.
The combination of bitter taste and cold potency of katuki enacts mitigation of aggravated pitta dosha, when given in prescribed format of lower or moderate dosage.
When administered in a high format of dosage the katuki instead of mitigating the pitta, expels the pitta dosha from the body through purgation.
By the combination of bitter taste, pungent vipaka, dryness; lightness attributes, katuki helps in mitigating the kapha dosha too.
To sum up, katuki has vata aggravating and pitta, kapha pacifying pharmacological properties.
Katuki is very useful in controlling high blood sugar level, normalizing Liver enzyme levels and high cholesterol.
It has wide applications in many diseases such as obesity, gall stones, PCOD, uterine fibroid, hypothyroidism, asthma, chronic respiratory disorders etc.
Kutki in Asthma – In respiratory system disorders, Kutki has a very high significance. Ayurveda says, “Tamake Tu Virechanam” – In case of asthma, Virechana treatment is best. For daily Virechana (purgation treatment) in asthma and bronchitis, Kutki – 1-3 grams, once or two times a day is advised along with honey or any such suitable co drink.
The Ayurveda pharmacodynamic of KaTuki:
In conditions of pitta inflicting the rasa dhatu and blood – the katuki by the virtue of its bitter taste and coolant qualities, it pacifies the pitta. Simultaneously, it does prasaadana [toning and nourishing] of those dhatus too. The breast milk which is the upadhatu of rasa too gets influenced by the purification effect of the katuki upon it.
In constipated bowels, the katukii helps in splitting / breaking up [puriisham bhittvaa] the hardened fecal matters accumulated within the colon and help in getting expelled further downward. The pungent vipaka of the katukii is the reason for the splitting up of the malas which gets enacted by the aggravating vata.
As explained above, the vata aggravating within the colons is further helpful in conditions of kaphasamshlishta srotas, where in it splits / breaks up the kapha and pitta doshas adhering within the mucosal surfaces of colon, and there by helps the body in getting eliminated through the process of defecation.
A very lower dosage of katuki when prescribed augments the digestive agni; cleanses the blocked srotases within the structure of heart and expels the accumulated doshas from the system. Having thus cleared the obstruction within the srotas, katuki thus helps the rasa dhatu to freely circulate within the channels of the heart and thus the heart gets nourished in its entirety.
In conditions of jvara by the virtue of the tikta rasa, the katuki helps in the digestion of aama and mitigation of the pitta and kapha doshas. It further addresses the constipation in a subject suffering from fever by its bhedana effect.
A paste of katuki should be heated in an earthen pot for a while, and later the liquid be extracted from that paste by squeezing it. [This procedure is helpful in getting the swarasa from the dried roots of katuki]. When the above swarasa is given mixed along with ghee, the combination helps in mitigating the burning sensation experienced in subjects suffering from fever of kapha pitta origin.
The katuki is equally helpful in patients suffering from kaphaja type of cough and dyspnoea. By the virtue of clearing the dosha sanghata [accumulation of the doshas] through its bhedana and adhomaargaharana ability the katuki, helps in the chest getting decongested from the accumulated kapha dosha and thus ensues the patency of the srotases within the pranavaha pathway.
In obstructive jaundice the katuki clears the kapha and pitta obstructing the passage of duct by its bhedana action. It is equally a good choice in ascites of liver origin too. In ascites of the origin or either kapha or pitta or in cases of sarvaanga sopha kvaatha – katuki with a higher format of dosage is indicated, to induce purgation. By the purgative action, the accumulated kapha and [or] pitta gets expelled from the system eventually reducing the volume of accumulated fluid within the peritoneum.
The bitter taste of the katuki has an edge over the excessive moisture content over any pathological area, due to its prurificatory effect. Hence, it is used in ulcers of the skin which exhibits excessive moisture where in katuki dries up the moisture and helps in quicker rate of healing the ulcer.
The breast milk when vitiated by kapha or pitta, the bitter and pungent taste of katuki helps in mitigating those aggravated doshas by its purificatory effect.
Numerous animal studies demonstrated the active constituents of Picrorrhiza kurroa effective in preventing liver toxicity and improve hepatic glycogen preservation. It is effective in hepatitis B infection and promising effect on bilirubin, SGOT, SGPT. It has also cytotoxic activities against human breast, liver and prostate carcinoma cell line. It also promotes liver regenerating activities by restoring cytochrome. [Girish C et.al – Hepatoprotective activities of picroliv, curcumin, and ellagic acid compared to silymarin on carbon-tetrachloride-induced liver toxicity in mice, Rajkumar v et.al, – Antioxidant and anti-neoplastic activities of Picrorhizakurroa extracts.]
Ayurveda medicines with Kutki ingredient:
Arogya Vardhini Vati – tablet, used in treating liver disorders, skin diseases and fever
Sarivadyasava – Fermented liquid medicine, used in treating gout, diabetes, skin disorders.
Mahatiktaka Ghrita – Herbal ghee medicine used in skin diseases
Patoladi Choornam – used in digestive disorders, cardiac disorders
Mahayograj Guggul – used mainly in joint and skin disorders.
Kutki side effects
Because of its purgative action in higher doses, it should be very carefully used.
It worsens diarrhea.
It can be used in very low dose in children.
It is avoided or used under strict medical supervision during pregnancy. Safer in lactation period.
Interaction with medicines, supplements
Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.
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.
Patanjali Divya Kutki Churna – manufactured by Patanjali Ayurved Limited.