Kutuka or Kutki

Botanical Name: Picrorhiza kurroa
Family: Scrofulariaceae
Synonyms: Black hellebore, black kutki, kali, kali kutki, kali-kutki, karru, katki, katukurogani, kaur, kuru, kuruwa, kutaki, kutki, picroliv, Picrorhiza kurroa, Picrorhiza kurroa extract, Picrorhiza kurroa Royle, Picrorhiza kurroa Royle ex Benth., Picrorhiza lindleyana Steud., Picrorrhiza kurroa,
Common name: Katuka
English Name: Gentian
Genus: Picrorhiza

Parts Used: Root(exceptionally bitter)

Tradition: Used in Ayurvedic medicine

Habitat: E. Asia – Himalayas from Kashmir to Sikkim.  Found in the higher mountain elevations at 2700 – 3600 metres

Description:
Kutuka is a Perennial harb.
It is hardy to zone 0. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)  The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.
click to see the pictures……….……………………………..

English: Bamboo with rhizome Français : Pousse...
English: Bamboo with rhizome Français : Pousses de bambou avec rhizome apparent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cultivation details:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain. However, judging by its native range, it is likely to succeed outdoors at least in the milder areas of the country.

Propagation:
Seed – we have no information on this species. It is likely that the best way of propagating from seed is to sow it as soon as it is ripe, preferably in a cold frame or greenhouse. If this is not possible, sow the seed in late winter or early spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant out in the summer. Division of the rhizome in the autumn or spring.

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Constituents:
*iridoid glycosides such as
*picrosides I, II, III
*kutkoside
*cucurbitacin glycosides (highly oxygenated triterpenes)
*apocycynin
*androsin

Medicinal Uses:
Antibacterial; Antiinflammatory; Antiperiodic; Bitter; Cathartic; Laxative; Stomachic; Tonic.

Kuru has a long history of medicinal use, especially in India but also in China where it is known as hu huang lian . The dried rhizome is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiperiodic, cathartic (in large doses), cholagogue, laxative (in smaller doses), stomachic and bitter tonic. The root contains a number of very bitter glucosides including kutkin and picrorhizin. It also contains apocynin, which is powerfully anti-inflammatory and reduces platelet aggregation. In trials, the rhizome was shown to boost the immune system and to have a specific action against the parasie Leishmania donovani, which causes the tropical parasitic disease called leishmaniasis. The rhizome has a very beneficial effect upon the liver and digestive system and is used in the treatment of a wide range of conditions including fevers, constipation, dyspepsia and jaundice. It is also often used in the treatment of scorpion stings and snake bites. There is also some evidence that the rhizome can be of help in the treatment of bronchial asthma and a number of auto-immune diseases such as psoriasis and vitiligo, whilst it has also been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels and reduce coagulation time. The rhizome is gathered in the autumn and dried for later use.

Immune System Conditions
*acute and chronic infections
*treatment for allergies
*treatment for autoimmune disorders
*weakened immunity

Liver Conditions
*liver infections
*toxic liver damage

Respiratory Tract Conditions
asthma
Dosage: 500mg – 2g/day of the dried root    1-4mL/day of 1:2 extract

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider .

Resources:
http://www.globalherbalsupplies.com/herb_information/picrorrhiza_kurroa.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Picrorhiza+kurroa
http://www.wellness.com/reference/herb/katuka-picrorhiza-kurroa/

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