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Dr. Vikram Chauhan - MD (Ayurveda)

Monday, June 21, 2021

Katuki (Picrorhiza kurroa)- Ayurvedic Properties, Health Benefits, Uses & Dosage

Katuki is a potential Ayurvedic herb, its botanical name is Picrorhiza kurroa and it belongs to the family Plantaginaceae and known as a cooling agent that pacifies the vitiated Pitta and Kapha dosha without disrupting the digestive fire and also purifies the blood and reduces swelling. In Sanskrit Katuki means bitter or due to the bitter taste of this herb, it is named Katuki. The roots and rhizomes of Katuki are used for therapeutic purposes. This herb possesses various medicinal properties like hepatoprotective, anti-diabetic, appetizer, anthelmintic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Katuki, Picrorhiza kurroa


This is a perennial herb, 2.5 to 12 cm long and 0.3 to 1 cm thick with somewhat curvy straight features. Katuki is of greyish brown color with a coarse external surface. It has long rhizomes. There are 1 to 2 vascular bundles present in the cortex of rhizome. Leaves of the Katuki are present alternatively. These are present basely, 5 to 10 cm long. It has terminal spikes. The flowers calyx divide equally into five parts with 4 to 5 corolla, whitish with pale blue color with the long flowering branch. The flowering period of the plant is from June to August. Fruit are tapered from the top, 12 mm long and open into 4 valves. Seeds are ellipsoid and numerous. The seed coat is very thick and transparent. Roots of the plant are of elongated type, tubular form, 5 to 10 cm long and 0.5 to 1 mm in diameter. These are curved with longitudinal and dotted scars, associated with rhizomes.


Katuki, Picrorhiza kurroa, Synonyms

(Bhava prakasha // Hritkyadi varga // Shloka no. 141)

The synonym of Katuki are Katuvi, Katuka, Tikta, Krishnabheda, Katumbhara, Asoka, Matsyashakala, Chakrangi, Shakuladhani, Matsyapitta, Kandaruha, Rohini and Katurohini.


  • English Name - Picrorrhiza, Hellebore, Yellow gentian
  • Hindi Name - Kutki, Katuka
  • Gujarati Name - Kadu, Katu
  • Bengali Name - Katuki, Katki
  • Malayalam name - Kadugurohini
  • Punjabi Name - Kaundd, Kaud, Karru
  • Telugu Name - Katuka Rohini
  • Marathi Name - Kali Katuki, Bala Kadu
  • Tamil Name - Katukarogini, Kadugurohini
  • Urdu name - Kutki
  • Arab and Farsi name - Kharabake
  • Oriya name - Katuki
  • Kannada name - Katuka rohini
  • Chinese name - Hu Huang Lian


  • Kingdom - Plantae
  • Order - Lamiales
  • Family - Plantaginaceae
  • Genus - Picrorhiza
  • Species - kurroa


Katuki is an herb found in mountainous regions. It grows on sloping and rocky-mountains and in soil rich in many organic elements, extending between 3000 and 5000 meters in the Himalayas. Katuki is obtained in the Himalayan region such as Garwal to Bhutan and Kashmir to Sikkim, Tibet, Pakistan, west of China and northern Burma.


Katuki (Picrorhiza kurroa) contains Kutkin, a bitter glycoside which includes Picein iridoid glycosides-Picroside I & II, Kutkoside, Picrorhizin, and Minecoside. It also contains Kutkiol, Kutkisterol, Apocyanin, D-Mannitol, Androsim, and phenol glucosides.


Charaka Samhita


Sushrut Samhita

  • Tikta skandha - Bitter tasting group of herbs
  • Lekhaniya - Group of herbs that are scraping and cause weight loss
  • Stanyashodhana - Group of herbs that cleanse breast milk
  • Bhedaniya - Group of herbs that are piercing and cause purgation
  • Mustadi
  • Patoladi
  • Pippalyadi
  • Mustadi
  • Patoladi
  • Pippalyadi


Katuki, Picrorhiza kurroa, Kutki, Ayurvedic Properties

(Bhava prakasha // Haritkyadi varga // Shloka no.142)

Hindi / Sanskrit







 Laghu, Ruksha

 Physical Property

 Light, Dry







 Metabolic Property (After Digestion)



It balances Kapha and Pitta.

This shloka illustrates that this herb removes accumulated toxins and promote digestive fire. It is good for heart, diabetes, respiratory diseases, blood and skin diseases.


  1. Digestive Activity : It provides strength to the stomach, secretes gastric juice and increases appetite. It is helpful to combat digestive problems.
  2. Anti-diabetic Activity : It has properties to reduce and maintain a normal blood glucose level.
  3. Anti-asthmatic Activity : It helps to inhibit allergens and PAF (platelet-activating factor) that initiate bronchoconstriction.
  4. Anti-inflammatory Activity : It helps to reduce inflammatory reactions.
  5. Immuno-modulator Activity : It modulates the functioning of the immune system and controls hypersensitive reactions.
  6. Hepatoprotective Activity : It acts as a Hepatoprotective and liver stimulant.


It can be used in various forms like decoction and powder.

Internal Uses

  1. The powder of rhizome is useful in the case of fatty liver and other liver disorders. It is also be given in constipation.
  2. The root is given in the treatment of respiratory conditions.
  3. The decoction of Kutaki is given to reduce the fever.
  4. The powder of Katuki herb is given to diabetic patients to manage glucose level and also to avert its complications.

Part Used

Mool (Roots)


Powder : 3 to 6 grams.


  1. Take the rhizome of the Katuki and grind them to make a fine powder. Give this powder with hot milk or ghee, honey. It is effective in liver disorders such as the fatty liver. You can also keep this powder in a closed container. The recommended amount of powder is 125 mg-50 mg for children and 500 mg-2 g for adults. It is also effective in the case of constipation.
  2. Make powder of the roots of Katuki and give it to children 4-5 times a day with honey. It is effective in upper respiratory tract infection.
  3. Make a decoction of Katuki and add honey or jaggery to it. It is given in fever, cough and cold.
  4. Prepare the decoction by mixing equal amounts of Katuki and Nimba. Take it in case of fever and chronic recurrent fever.
  5. Take an equal amount of Katuki and Haridra powder and give 500 mg-1 gm to diabetic patients. It is especially effective for type II Diabetes mellitus and high cholesterol.


In case of children, pregnancy and lactating mothers it should be strictly advised under the guidance of a physician.


  1. Arogyavardhani Vati
  2. Katukadyavaleha
  3. Tiktadiqwath
  4. Tiktadighruta


  1. Kutki Capsules
  2. Kutki Powder
  3. Liver Power
  4. Yakrit Plihantak Churna
  5. Arogyavardhini Vati
  6. Liver Detox Formula
  7. Navkarshik Churna


  1. Dravyaguna vijnana; Volume-2; By Prof. P.V. Sharma; page no. 441- 443.
  2. Bhava prakasha Nighantu by Prof. Krishnachgandra Chunekar; 2018 edition; Chapter no. 3, Haritkyadivarga; page no. 67-70.
  3. Ayurvedic Pharmacology and Therapeutic uses of medicinal plants; Dravyaguna Vigyan by Vd.V.M.Gogte; page no.325-327.

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