Botanical Name: Picrorhiza Sps
Common Name: Kutki
Parts Used: Rhizomes
Description: 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.
Active Compounds: Kutkin, a bitter glycosidal principle, is reported. Also isolated D-mannitol, vanillic acid and some steroids are present. Kutkin was later shown to be a stable mixed crystal of two C-9 iridoid glycosides-Picroside I and Kutakosid. Apocynin has been isolated from the plant. Picroside II has been isolated and shown to have hepatoprotective activity.
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.
Uses: Alcohloic extract of the plant and kutkin possess hepatoprotective activity. Plant is a potent immunostimulant of both cell mediated and humoral immunity and exhibits choleretic activity in dogs. Picrorhiza kurroa is also benefical in the management of bronchial asthma.