Herbs & Plants

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

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.

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.

*iridoid glycosides such as
*picrosides I, II, III
*cucurbitacin glycosides (highly oxygenated triterpenes)

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
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 .


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Herbs & Plants



Botanical Name : Aconitum heterophylum
Family: Ranunculaceae
Subfamily: Ranunculoideae
Tribes: Aconiteae
Genus: Aconitum
Species: Aconitum heterophyllum

Common Name: Atees
Other Names: Indian Atees, Atis, Ativisha, Ataicha, Atavasa, Ateicha, Athivisha, Atirasa, Ativadayam, Ativasu, Bhangura,  Pankura, Sitashringi, Upavishaaka, Vajji-turki; Vaj-turki, visha.

Part-Used : Tuberous root

Habitat:This herb is found in hills of India , Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Jammu & Kashmir , Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. It is usually found on humus-rich soils in the alpine and subalpine zones, and in forests, 2300 – 2900 metres.

Description :
Perennial, aesthetic herb containing tuberous roots and standing 1-3 ft tall. Roots biennial, paired, tuberous, daughter tuber cylindrical to cylindrical, oblong or conic, long, thick, bearing few root fibres which are friable, bark very thin. Stem erect, simple or branched, high, glabrous below internodes short. Leaves are mainly heteromorphous, glabrous, Inflorescence a slender raceme, leafy panicle or in alpine specimens reduced to a few flowers, crispo-pubescent. Sepals blue or violet, Nectaries, glabrous. Seeds obpyramidal, long blackish brown.


It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. and are pollinated by Bees.

Cultivation: Sandy loam and acidic soil is best for seed germination, survival, better growth and yield. In general, cultivation up to 2200 m, elevation having sandy textured soil with rich organic matter is recommended for cultivation.
Propagation :  Seeds

Chemical Constituents : Diterpene Alkaloid- Heteraticine.
* atisine – an intensely bitter alkaloid that is also non-toxic
*aconitinic acid
* tannic acid
* pectous substance
* starch
* fat
*a mixture of oleic, palmitic, stearic glycerides
* vegetable mucilage
*ash (2%)

Active Compounds:
Atisine – an intensely bitter alkaloid that is also non-toxic aconitinic acid, tannic acid, pectous substance, starch, fat, a mixture of oleic, palmitic, stearic glycerides, vegetable mucilage, sugar, ash (2%)

Medicinal Properties & Uses:
The roots are acrid, bitter, thermogenic, expectorant, stomachic, digestive, antiperiodic and tonic. they are useful in dysentry, diarrhoea, stomach disorders fever, malarial fever, vomiting, helminthiasis, haemorrhoids, haemorrhages, internal inflammatory conditions and genaral debility. They are highly recommended for diseases in children. It reduces arrhythmia and hypertension.

They are highly recommended for diseases in children. It reduces arrhythmia and hypertension.

This is useful for a cute inflammations, chronic fevers, convalescing after fever, cough, debility, diarrhea, dysentery, edema, Hemorrhoids, indigestion, liver disorders, vomiting.

It is used in India in the treatment of dyspepsia, diarrhea and coughs. It is also used in Tibetan medicine, where it is said to have a bitter taste and a cooling potency. It is used to treat poisoning from scorpion or snake bites, the fevers of contagious diseases and inflammation of the intestines.  The dried tuberous roots are used for hemorrhoids, vomiting, edema, liver disorders, Kapha and Pitta diseases; convalescing after fever, debility, diarrhea, dysentery, acute inflammations, cough, indigestion, chronic fevers. Even though Aconitum heterophyllum belongs to the aconitum family, it is non-toxic if used properly. In Ayurvedic medicine it is used for children experiencing fever and diarrhea. It does slow the heart rate.  It is also used to treat headaches caused from eating excessive amounts of greasy foods, thirst associated with fever, yellowish sclera, nausea, vomiting, throat pain, and lung and eye inflammation. This herb is also used for treating digestive disorders such as anorexia, piles, and worms. It is said to help revitalize sexual desire and reduce obesity. Mitigates breast milk in lactating mothers.    The recommended doses of Aconitum heterophyllum depend on the condition that is being treated. Different formulations of Aconitum heterophyllum can be toxic, therefore, strict supervision by a qualified herbalist or physician is advised before using this herb. Do not use old herbs as they lose their potency. Historically before using the root it would be purified by being kept in cow’s urine for one night and then dried in sunlight and ground into powder.

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Known Hazards  : The whole plant is highly toxic – simple skin contact has caused numbness in some people.    One report says that this plant does not contain the toxic alkaloid aconitine, and so is not poisonous. It does, however, still contain an intensely bitter alkaloid.

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.


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Herbs & Plants

Desert date (Indian Soapberry Tree Or Thorn Tree)

Botanical Name:Balanites aegyptica (L.) Delile ( Balanitaceae)

Syn : Balanites roxburghii Planch, B. aegyptica var. roxburghii Duthie.

English names: Desert date, Soapberry tree, Thorn tree.

Sanskrit name: Ingudi.

Vernacular names: Ben and Hin : Hingan; Mar: Hinganbet; Tam: Nanjunda; Tel: Gari.

Trade name: Hingan.
Habitat: In India :Bihar, Deccan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh (Kanpur) and Sikkim.

Description:Spiny tree, about 6 m high; branches glabrous or puberulous and ending in very strong ascending spines; leaves alternate, bifoliate, ashy green, leaflets coriaceous; cymes axillary, 4- to 10-flowered; flowers green, velvety pubescent; fruits ovoid, about 5 cm in length, fleshy drupes, 1-seeded; seed oily but exalbuminou8.

You may click to see  pictures:

Flowering: November, also during February to May; Fruiting: Winter.

Ecology and cultivation: Xerophyte, found chiefly on black cotton soil; does not thrive in rocky areas.

Chemical contents: Plant: diosgenin and yamogenin; Root: steroidal sapogenin, diosgenin, yamogenin; Stem-bark: steroidal sapogenin, nitrogen glucoside, sesquiterpene, balanitol, bergapten; Leaf: 6 diosgenin glucosides; Fruit: steroidal sapogenin, yamogenin, 5 diosgenin glycerides, 6 diosgenin glucosides, diosgenin, balanitisins A, B, C, D & E; Seed: a saponin of diosgenin, non-edible fatty oil.

Medicinal uses : TRIBES OF PANCH MAHAL (Maharashtra) and RURAL FOLK: Bark, Leaf, Fruit and Seed: as anthelmintic and purgative; Fruit: in boils, leucoderma and other skin diseases; Fruit-pulp: in whooping cough.

Modern uses: Plant: cytotoxic and antitumour principle isolated; Bark: bactericide; EtOH (50%) extract of bark: spasmolytic; Seed-kernel oil: antimicrobial, useful in burns and ulcers, spermicidal.

Other Uses:
Fruit-pulp is edible and used for cleansing silk and cotton. Fruit-shell is used in fire-cracker industry. Wood is chiefly used for making walking sticks and as fuel.

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

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Herbs & Plants

Rough Chaff

Biological Name: Achyranthes aspera
Other Names: Rough Chaff Tree, Prickly Chaff Flower, Apamarga, Apamara, Adharajhada, Aghada, Aghata, Antisha, Apamarga, Apamargamu, Apang, Atkumah, Chirchira, Duk.-Agari, Kadaladi, Katalati, Kharamanjari, Khare-vazhun, Kune-la- mon, Kutri, Latjira, Nayuruvi, Pan- dhara-aghada, Safed hedo, Shiru-kidaladi, Uttaraene, Uttaranee
Scientific Name: Achyranthes aspera var. perphyristachya Hook F.
Family: Amaranthaceae
English Name: Prickly Chaff-flower.
Hindi Name:
Chirchita, Latjira, Onga.
Habitat: Sub-tropical Himalays from Kishwar tio Sikkim and Khasi hill to Bihar, Konkan, Nilgiris, and Travancore hills.

Flowering & Fruiting: Aug.-Dec.

Parts Used: leaves, seeds and root.

Description: This small herb found all over India. It grows as wasteland herb every where. Since time immemorial, it is in use as folk medicine. It holds a reputed position as medicinal herb in different systems of medicine in India.It is an erect and stiff annual herb. It has numerous branches ,almost round the slightly ribbed stem,light green or light pink in colour and covered with short,stiff and little rough hair.The leaves of the plant are simple egg shaped and green . The flowers are small and faced downwards.Its seeds and dried plants are available with grocers and dealers of Raw herbal drugs all over India.The leaves are testless but assume a mild bitter taste after cooking.They have soft cellulose.


Plant yields achyranthine. The fruit contains a large percentage of alkaline ash containing potash. It has an important constituents of alkaline mrdicine which is very useful in counteracting acidity.

Traditional Medicinal Uses: According to Ayurveda, it is bitter, pungent, heating, laxative, stomachic, carminative and useful in treatment of vomiting, bronchitis, heart disease, piles, itching abdominal pains, ascites, dyspepsia, dysentery, blood diseases etc.

Ayurvedic Preparation: Apamarga Taila, Agnimukha etc

Astringent, alterative and antiperiodic, antibilious, diuretic, expectorant, purgative.

Uses and Dosage:

For Renal Dropsies

Make a decoction by adding 2 oz. of the plant to 1.5 pints of water. Boil for 20 – 30 minutes. Strain. This is a good diuretic. Useful for renal dropsies.

Dose: one to two ounces of the mixture two or three times daily.

For stomach ache and bowel complaints, piles, boils, skin eruptions etc.

Use the leaf juice.

For diarrhea and dysentery

A decoction of powdered leaves with honey or sugar candy is useful in the early stages of diarrhea and dysentery.

For Fevers:

Grind fresh leaves into a paste. Mix it with jaggery or black pepper and garlic. Form it into pills. This is a good antiperiodic especially in quartan fevers.

For dropsies such as ascites, anasarca

Mix the ashes from the roots of the herb with water and jaggery. This is said to cure dropsies such as ascites, anasarca etc.

For Cough:

A pinch of the root-powder with a pinch of pepper powder and honey is a remedy for cough.

For bites of poisonous insects, wasps, bees etc

Rub the leaves into a paste with water. Apply this into the affected area.

Grind the flowering spikes of the seeds into a paste with water. Apply externally to the affected region for bites of poisonous snakes and reptiles.

Asthma: Rough chaff is benefically used to treat asthma. According to the Ayurvedic method, the leaves of the plant should be plucked in pitch darkness. As because the presence of light destorys the curative effect on them.After that they are ground with two grams of ground paper on a stone. Six pills can be made by the preparation and should be dried in a dark room on that night . Asthma patient has to take one pill with water on the ninth night of the second half of the lunar month, and continue to follow the procedure for six days up to new moon day.

Spleen enlargement: The herb is specific for the spleen enlargement. The powder of the whole plant is used twice daily with a little bitten yogard (curd).

Easy delivery:Rough chaff seeds are very useful in facilitating easy and painless delivery.The seeds are ground well with lillte water to form a fine past, and applied on the navel, pubis and vulva.

Cholera: The powdered root of the herb, mixed with water gives good result in cholera.

Renal dropsy: The decoction of the plant is beneficial in renal dropsy as its use increases the secretion and discharge of urine.The decoction is made by boiling the plant in water for half an hour . About 30 to 50 gms. of strained mixture should be taken twice daily.

Stomach disorders: Juice of rough chaff leaves are very useful for curing stomach ache,bowel complaints and piles.

Diarrhoea and dysentery: A decoction of the powdered leaves ,mixed with honey or sugar candy is useful in the early stage of these diseases.

Menstruation: A decoction of the herb is very useful in treating abnormal or excessive menstruation.

Eye problems: A paste of the roots of the herb with water can be applied beneficially in opthalmia opacity of the cornea.

Skin problems:Rough chaff leaves are useful in cuts and wounds from sharp knives or blades .Juice of a few leaves is used to soak the wound. A leaf is wrapped and bandaged over the wounds.It heals withen a day or two. with a single application.

For syphilitic sores:

Extract fresh juice from the leaves. Thicken the juice by evaporating by exposing to the sun. Mix it with a little opium. Apply to primary syphilitic sores.


Payasam or Kheer made of seeds in milk is a good remedy for brain diseases.

An Infusion of the root is a mild astringent useful in bowel complaints.

Seeds are used as an expectorant, or mixed with rice water for bleeding hemorrhoids.

Seed soaked in buttermilk during the night and ground into an emulsion the next morning is a cure for biliousness.

Apply Leaf juice applied to skin for overexposure to the sun. Leaves or seeds are used for poisonous animal bites.

Safety precautions:
Do not use while pregnant. Taken in large doses, it (especially the leaf juice) induces abortion or labor pains. No other information available.

Other Uses:
Useful for reclamation of wastelands.
Leaf is consumed as potherb.
Seeds rich in protein, cooked and eaten.
Used in religious ceremonies in India.

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.