Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) Remedies: Poisoning, Bleeding Wounds

This article is written by Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD.


Several herbs explained in Ayurveda are presently believed to be the original habitat of some other part of the world. But, how our ancient seers were aware of those herbs, what made them to use such herbs and how they used to procure in India are still unanswered questions. One such herb is – Tropical Milkweed. 

Sanskrit name – Kaka Nasa, Kakanasika
Botanical name – Asclepias curassavica Linn.
Asclepiadaceae family
English name – Bastard Ipecacuanha, Mexican butterfly weed, redhead, Scarlet Milkweed
Part used: Leaves, roots, whole plant.

In fact it is a well known drug in Homoeopathy where they use it in the name of Ipecacuanha. Originally from West Indies, now a days it is found throughout India as a weed.
Its main chemical constituents are –Asclepiadin and Vincetoxin.

The plant is well known for its potent vaso-dilatation (of arteries) and constriction of veins.
The plant leaves and roots are bitter – astringent in taste.
It undergoes Pungent kind of bio transformation (Katu vipaka) and is hot in potency.

It is an emetic (in larger dosage), anti inflammatory and blood purifier.
It is effective in chronic skin diseases, inflammatory disorders, and fever.

Home remedies

Asclepias curassavica remedies:


Leaf paste for arresting the bleeding :
The leaves are taken and fine paste is made. This is applied over the bleeding spots. It helps in arresting bleeding quickly.

Cough, phlegm

Leaf juice with honey for phlegm and severe cough:
Green leaves are taken and crushed well to obtain fresh juice. A teaspoon of leaf juice is added with a teaspoon of honey and administered. This helps to expel phlegm. It relieves cough and hiccup.

Fever, headache

Kaka Nasika Fine powder with warm water for fever and headache:
In case of fever and headache caused due to food poisoning,  500 mg – 1 gram of powder is consumed along with warm water.
Or in severe cases, it is administered along with decoction of Kiratatikta.
To induce vomiting, this can be given but in larger dose it is needed.
General method of preparation of decoction (kashaya) – 1 tablespoon of powder is added with 2 cups of water, boiled and reduced to 1 cup, filtered.

To induce vomiting

Decoction of the leaves or root to induce vomiting in poisoning cases:
In poisoning conditions, immediately the decoction of the roots of this plant is found to be very effective.
Sadhus/Babas of Junagadh (Gujarat) use this remedy to cure the food poisoning effectively.

Kakanasa is a less explored Ayurvedic herb. But in folklore practice the healers use the plant in several conditions effectively. As the nearby terminologies are used regarding the drug like Kakajangha, Kakajihwa, Kakamachi, Kakatunda, Kakajangha etc few of the practitioners are in dilemma about the originality of the drug. However the above said botanical identity and the characters of the Kakanasa as per classical reference match each other.
Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD

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