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Picrorhiza kurroa

English Name: Picrohiza root, kurroa
Synonym: Neopicrorhiza scrophulariiflora (Pennell) Hong
Nepali Name: Kaduki
Sanskrit Name: Katuka

this herb is perennial, more or less hairy. Stem is hard; leaves have teeth-like margin, round at the top and 5-10 cm in length. Roots are 15-25 cm in length. When dried, the outer skin of the root is brown and it remains loose. The pith of the root is black. Roots available in the market are 1-2 inch long and very bitter in taste. Flowers and fruits appear in the summer.


Distribution: Rocky slopes, gravelly areas, shrublands; 3500-4800m, WCE Nepal. Also distributed in N India, Bhutan, S Tibet, China and Myanmar.

Parts used: dried rhizome.

Phytochemical properties:
Its constituents are Flavone, saponin, alkaloids and sterols. Root contains a glucoside called 'Picrorrhizin" and kutkin, a fairly large percentage of soluble bitter substance with an acid reaction. Androsin isolated from the plant, acts as active compound which prevents allergies and platelet activating factor-induced bronchial obstruction in guinea pigs in vitro. The herb also contains other substances such as glucose, wax, cathartic acid etc.

Medicinal Properties:
stomachic, laxative, cathartic, cholagogue, antiperiodic (acting against the periodic recurrence of a disease), emmenagogue, emetic and abortifacient. Liver and related diseases, skin diseases, constipation, bronchial asthma, dyspepsia and fever. It improves eye sight.

Powder: 1 teaspoonful three times a day (5gm).
Decoction: 1 teaspoonful three times a day (5ml).

Ayurvedic preparation:
Arogyabardhini wati, Katukadya lauha. Tiktadi kwath etc.

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