Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Picrorhiza kurroa ROYLE EX BENTH

Family : Scrophulariaceae

English Name : Picrorhiza

Origin : North-Western Himalayan region


It is a small, perennial shrub. Root stock elongate, stout, creeping, covered with withered leaf bases. Leaves 5 to 10 cm, coriaceous, serrate, base narrowed into a winged sheathing petiole. Scape stout, ascending, with or without bracts below the inflorescence. Spike 5 to 10 cm, many flowered , sub-hirsute. Bracts oblong or lanceolate. Sepals 5, 4 to 7 mm, lanceolate, ciliate. Petals 5 to 8 mm long, ovate, ciliate. Capsule 1 to 1.5 cm long, ovoid.


Alpine Himalayan region (from Kashmir to Sakkim).

Parts Used : Rhizome and root

Herb Effects

Laxative, diuretic, antimicrobial, protects the liver, increases the formation and/or secretion of bile and stimulates the secretion of gastric juices.

Active Ingredients

Kutkin, kutkoside, picroside, kutkisterol and kutkiol, vanillic acid and sesquiterpene.

Medicinal Use

Extensively used in various ailments like bilious fever, dyspepsia, urinary trouble, asthma, hiccough, blood circulation, burns, liver complaints, paralysis, epilepsy, ringworm infection, scabies and gout.


One teaspoon of root powder with an eqivalent amount of honey (three times daily).
3-4 gm of drug is generally given as antiperiodic and 0.6-1.2 gm as bitter tonic. Typical adult dosage is 400 to 1500 mg/day, with dosages up to 3.5 g/day sometimes being recommended for fevers.


  1. Chandel et al., Biodiversity in Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in India.
  2. Sharma, Classical Uses of Medicinal Plants.
  3. Stuppner H, Wagner H. New cucurbitacin glycosides from Picrorhiza kurroa. Planta Med 1989; 55:559-563.
  4. Subedi BP. Plant profile: Kutki (Picrorhiza scrophulariiflora). Himalayan Bioresources 2000;4.
  5. Uniyal et al., Medicinal Flora of Garhwal Himalayas.

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