Karpasa – Cotton Plant Uses, Dose, Research, Side Effects

Levant cotton plant, called Karpasa in Sanskrit is used in Ayurvedic treatment. Cotton seeds are an excellent aphrodisiac and nerve tonic. Its root bark decoction is used in amenorrhea. 

Botanical name- Gossypium herbaceum Linn. (Gossypium barbadens Linn), Gossypium indicum
Family- Malvaceae (Karpasa kula)

Plant Cotton - Gossypium  herbaceum

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Kapasi
English name- Cotton Plant, Levant cotton 
Kannada Name- Hatti
Gujarati name – Kapas, Von
Punjabi name – Kapas
Marathi name – Kapsi
Telugu name- Pratti Chettu, Karpasimu
Tamil & Malayalam Name- Panji

levant cotton flower - Gossypium arboreum

Sanskrit synonyms

Karpasi,  Tundikeri
Samdranta – Cotton prepared is stored in pots to export
Marudbhava – Cultivate in dry region
Vatya – It is a source of clothes
Tuntikeri – It has round fruit


Some use Gossypium arboreum and Gossypium barbadense Linn in the name of Karpasa.

Chemical composition

Cotton plant chemical composition:
Root- Hemigosypol, Quercimetitrin(flowers)
Seed-(-) Gossypol
Essential oil- Caryophyllene, Pinene, Limonene
(Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna Vijnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry)
Gossypin has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Classical categorization

Charaka – Brimhaneeya – Strength and bulk promoting group of herbs
Sushruta – Vata Samshamana – Vata pacifying group of herbs
Bhava Prakasha Nighantu – Purva Khanda, Mishra Prakarana, Guduchyadi Varga
Raja Nighantu – Shatahvadi Varga


Leaves – reniform shaped cordate leaves with long stipules
Inflorescence – Proliferous, clustered flowers
Flowers – Yellow with purple claws
Fruit – Dehiscent, capsule

Medicinal properties

Cotton plant medicinal properties:
Root bark –
Guna (qualities) – Laghu – light to digest, Teekshna – strong, piercing  (Seed-Snigdha)
Rasa (taste) – Katu Pungent (Root bark- Kashaya – astringent)
Vipaka- Katu – Root bark undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion.
Veerya – Ushna – Hot potency
Karma- Vata-pitta hara,

Cotton seed

Quality- Snigdha – Oily, unctuous
Vipaka – Madhura – Undergoes sweet taste conversion after digestion
Veerya – Sheeta – coolant
Kaphakara – increases Kapha Dosha.
Prabhava – Seed – Vrushya – aphrodisiac, improves vigor

Part used, dosage

Part used- Root, flower, seed
Dosage- Decoction 50-100 ml, seed powder 3-6 g

Sanskrit verse

levant cotton benefits

Seed is Vatanashini – useful in treating disorders of Vata Dosha imbalance  such as neuralgia, paralysis, constipation, bloating, etc
Seeds promote lactation
Indicated in –
Shrama – tiredness, fatigue
Bhranti – dizziness, insanity
Murcha – fainting, loss of consciousness
Hrudbala karini – cardiac tonic.
Root and Root barks are indicated in –
Karnapeeda – earache
Nada – Tinnitus
Puyasrava – Wounds with pus
Trushna – excessive thirst
Daha –  burning sensation, as in gastritis, neuropathy, burning sensation in eyes etc

Root bark contracts the uterus and its decoction (Kashaya) in a dose of 30 – 50 ml, in divided doses per day, is used in treating amenorrhea.

External application

Seed paste is applied externally to treat inflammation, pain, poisonous bites, wounds and ulcers.
Oil prepared with seed is used in treating headaches.

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic medicines with Karpasa as ingredient:
Karpasasthyadi Thailam –
Cotton seed is used as the main ingredient. used in the treatment of  paralysis, facial palsy, spondylosis and other neuro-muscular conditions caused due to Vata imbalance.
MakardhwajIt is used in Ayurvedic anti-aging and aphrodisiac treatment. Root juice extract is used for Bhavana (grinding till dryness).
Gorochanadi Gulika – Root is used. This medicine is used in Ayurvedic treatment of fever, pneumonia, cough, cold etc.
Karappan Thailam – used mainly in the treatment of skin disorders.

Side effects

Gossypium herbaceum side Effects:
Root bark decoction is contraindicated. during pregnancy because it can contract the uterus. Soon after delivery, this decoction is administered to induce contractions to expel out placenta easily.
It is quite commonly used in children and in lactating mothers.

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 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.


Levant cotton seed extract – Gossypol has shown male contraceptive properties in animal experimental studies.
Reference: Grieve, M. “Cotton Root”. A modern herbal. Botanical.com. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
Wound healing property of methanolic extract

Cotton fruit collyrium

Collyrium prepared by rubbing Rasanjana (extract of Berberis aristata) in the juices of cotton plant fruit, jamun seeds and mango mixed with honey should be applied to the eyes of the patient suffering from eye discharges (netra srava).

Cottonseed flour / meal

Seeds, cottonseed flour, partially defatted (glandless)

Taste – sweet
Properties – unctuous
Potency – cold
After digestion taste transformation ( Vipaka ) – sweet
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing
Pitta balancing
Kapha increasing

Seeds, cottonseed flour, low fat (glandless)

Taste – sweet
Properties – not very unctuous (low fat)
Potency – cold
After digestion taste transformation ( Vipaka ) – sweet
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing
Pitta balancing
Kapha nourishing (low fat)

Seeds, cottonseed meal, partially defatted (glandless)

Cottonseed meal is the by-product remaining after cotton is ginned and the seeds crushed and the oil extracted.
Taste – sweet
Properties – dry
Potency – cold
After digestion taste transformation ( Vipaka ) – sweet
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing
Pitta balancing
Kapha neutral

Seeds, cottonseed kernels, roasted (glandless)

Rasa – sweet
Guna – not very unctuous (roasted)
Veerya – cold
Vipaka – sweet
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing
Pitta balancing
Kapha nourishing (due to decreased unctuousness)

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Systemic Action (Sthanika Karma)

External – Analgesic, promotes wound healing. External application of its seed paste is indicated in inflammatory conditions, animal or plant poisoning, burns, wounds etc. Seed oil is indicated in joint pain and in headache. Leaf juice can be used as ear drops in ear diseases.

Nervous system – Seed acts as a nervine tonic and is indicated in Epilepsy, Insanity etc. Flower is a nervous system stimulant and mind calming. Infusion prepared out of its flower can be given in mental disorders.

Digestive System – Seed is useful in constipation. Leaf juice is indicated in constipation, Flower infusion is beneficial in jaundice and in liver disorders. Seed has purgative action, leaves are liver stimulant.
Excretory System –Both leaf juice and seed powder is indicated in dysuria.
Reproductive System – Root bark powder and decoction is indicated in Amenorrhea and in Dysmenorrhea. This also helps for uterine contraction, so indicated for post natal care. Seed is Aphrodisiac and promotes breast milk production.
Satmikarana – Seed is indicated in general debility, Animal poisoning etc. Leaf juice can be administered in Anemic patients. Hot infusion of seed and flower is indicated in datura poisoning.
Tapakrama – Hot infusion of the seed is indicated as a preventive measure of getting fever. 

3 comments on “Karpasa – Cotton Plant Uses, Dose, Research, Side Effects

  • Prabhat

    17/07/2017 - 10:35 am

    Dear Dr. Hebbar pl help us to know that cotton root is really useful to get Pregnant?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      18/07/2017 - 12:14 pm

      Cotton root is contra-indicated in pregnancy. Not useful.

      Reply to comment
  • Dr Neelam Valhekar

    09/02/2021 - 1:45 pm

    Sir , can you please elaborate on fuctions of root of karpasa

    Reply to comment

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