Picrorhiza is a small, hairy perennial herb with small white or pale bluish flowers in cylindrical spikes and woody rhizomes. The dried rhizomes of the plant constitute the drug.
The drug contains bitter glucoside kutkin, a non bitter product kurrin, vanillic acid, an alcohol kutkiol, a sterol kutikisterol and an odorous principle, sesquiterpene. The herb is used extensively in conditions in which the drugs with taste are considered significant.
Botanical Name: Picrorhiza kurroa
Indian Name: Kutki or Kuru
Below are some of the medicinal properties of picrorhiza:
- Picrorhiza is highly beneficial in treating cirrhosis of the liver among adults. Its root is given in powdered form. A teaspoon of the powder, mixed with an equal amount of honey, is administered thrice daily. In case of attendant constipation, the dose should be doubled and taken with a cup of warm water three to four times a day. It stimulates the liver to produce more bile, the secretion of which relieves congestion of the liver and the tissues which start functioning again.
- Picrorhiza is used with good results in the treatment of ascites, a disease characterized by the accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity of the abdomen. About 50 grams of the herb is boiled in 200 ml of water till three-fourth of the water has evaporated. This decoction if taken by the patient for 21 days regularly, with fresh decoction each day can induce 4 to 5 motions on an average, leading to reduction of girth of his/her abnormal belly.
- Picrorhiza is one of the two major drugs useful in jaundice, the other drug being turpeth (nisoth). One or two teaspoons of the two drugs should be administered with hot water twice daily.
- It is beneficial in the treatment of dyspepsia. It strengthens the stomach and promotes its action, while improving appetite and stimulating the secretion of gastric juices.
- Picrorhiza is useful in constipation. It induces active movement of the bowels and serves as a mild purgative.