Picrorhiza kurroa, (Kutki, Yellow gentian)

Picrorhiza kurroa, (Kutki, Yellow gentian)

Picrorhiza kurroa, (Kutki, Yellow gentian): Katuki helps β-cell regeneration with enhanced insulin production and antihyperglycemic effects. It is carminative, digestive, regulates diabetes, treats arthritis, augments skin health. Katuki eases respiration & breathing & helps in reducing allergen-induced bronchial obstructions. It works on preventing asthmatic attacks by inhibiting the release of histamine in the lungs. It promotes Heart Functions, cardio-protective, prevents ulcers. Katuki is a well-known herb for its liver protective action Katuki is known to help in removing the excess fire energy from our body thus acting as a cooling agent. It balances pitta and kapha which cause acidity, digestive problems and fat deposition. It is a natural fever pill. It has potent anti-inflammatory & antioxidant properties which help in wound healing and primary infections. It’s several properties help treating severe skin problems like psoriasis and vitiligo. It stimulates gastric function, secrete juices which boost metabolism and the production of digestive fiber which can cut down on unregulated fat in the body thus helps weight loss. 


Safety: 6-7 masha (6-7 gm)


What Is Kutki?

Kutki or Katuka is a traditional hepatoprotective herb that has immense healing properties. In fact, over the past few years, with more and more knowledge about this incredible herb, and forever increasing demand in the national and international market, various medicinal companies have extracted potent hepatoprotective drugs and compounds from the roots of Kutki and formulated them into powerful medications. Known by the botanical name Picorrhiza kurroa, Kutki comes from the Scrophulariaceae family. The name Picorrhiza comes from the Greek word ‘Picroz’ which means ‘bitter’ and ‘rhiza’ meaning ‘root’, referring to the bitter taste of the herb.


Touted for its intense bitter taste, this eastern root is said to be cooling, cleansing, and anti-bacterial by nature. These properties make Kutki a great option as a powerful herbal antibiotic, Pitta pacifier component, anti-inflammatory agent, detoxifier, and an antimicrobial powerhouse. Kutki can also be used as a main herbal component for any weight-loss regimen or diet as this bitter agent is great for increasing the digestive fire, promoting healthy elimination of excess fat and cholesterol, and boosting overall metabolism.    


Kutki is a small perennial herb, that usually grows to a height of about 20-30 cm. The plant has roots that are elongated, tubular, straight or slightly curved with a few longitudinal and dotted scars, mostly attached with rhizomes. The useful rhizome part of the plant is normally thick, sub-cylindrical, straight or curved, with a greyish-brown tinge, marked externally with longitudinal furrows and spherical scars of roots. The plant has creeping stem which is small, weak, leafy and slightly hairy. Leaves are 5-15 cm long, oblanceolate, toothed, narrowed to a winged stalk, and are alternately arranged on the stem. Flowers are small, pale or purplish blue, borne in cylindric spikes, and are 5 lobed. Flowering period lasts long and usually takes place from June to August. The fertilized flowers are followed by a two-celled, small spherical capsule, tapered at the top, divided into 4 valves, and enclosing several white, oblong seeds.


Kutki is chiefly found growing in higher mountain elevations, of the Himalayan range. It is found thriving in moist rocks, from timberline to alpines, moist rocky crevices, and sandy-clayey textured soil. It is native to the Himalayan region across India, Pakistan, Southeast Tibet, Nepal, North Burma and West China. Within India, it is found growing in the alpine Himalayas of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim.


Common Names Of Kutki

  • Kutki is known by different names in different parts of the world. Few of the common names include Yellow gentian, Picroliv, Katuka, Katuki, Kurri, Kuru, Hellbore, Kutki, Katuko, Picrorhiza, Katukarogani, Hu Huang Lian, Kadu, and Kutka.
  • In the Indian sub-continent, it is known as Karoi, Karu, Karwi, Kutki, Kardi,  Katuka in Hindi, Katuki, Katki in Bengali, Akutarokini, Amakkini, Acokarokini, Akutam, Katukarogini, Kadugurohini in Tamil, Kadukrohini, Katukhurohani, in Malayalam, Katukarogani, Katuka-rogani,  Katukkurohini in Telugu, Katukarohini, Katukarohini in Kannada, Kadu, Katu in Gujarati, Karru, Kaur, Kaundd, Kaud, in Punjabi.
  • Ayurveda knows this incredible plant through the Sanskrit names Anjani, Kavi, Sutiktaka, Kauka, Arishta, Katumbhara, Tikta, Tiktarohini, Kaurohini, Matsyapitta, Krishnabheda, Ashoka, Katambhra, Matshyashakla, Chakrangi, Shakuladini, Kandruha, and Rohini whereas the Unani medicinal world knows it by Kutki.


Ayurvedic Indications Of Kutki

Time and again, Kutki has been mentioned in several ayurvedic scriptures and journals for various indications which include  Jvara (useful in fever), Yakrit Vikara (prevents liver infections), Sangrahini (treats diarrhoea),  Kamala (prevents jaundice), Kasahara (Relieves cough), Amahara (treats indigestion), Dahahara (relieves burning sensation), Shwasha (relieves breathing difficulties), Deepana (enhances stomach fire), Pachana (helps in digestion), Rochana (stimulates appetite), Kupachan (prevents bloating, indigestion), Anulomana (improves breathing), Vayasthapana (prevents ageing), Shonitasthapana (prevents bleeding), Sangrahini (treats diarrhoea), Pandu (treats skin disorders), Raktadoshahara (blood purifying), Vran Ropana (heals wounds),  Mehahara (treats urinary tract disorders), Prameha (manages diabetes), Vamana (prevents nausea and vomiting), Trutahara (relieves excessive thirst), Pandu (treats anaemia), Balya (improves muscle strength), Hikkanigrahana (controls hiccups), Kantya (relieves sore throat), Triptighno (relieves pseudo-satiation), and Vamanopaga (treats emesis), Varnya (improves complexion), Krimihara (relieves intestinal worms), and Hridaya (treats heart problems).


Phyto-chemical Components Of Kutki

  • This incredible herb shows the presence of iridoid glucosides such as picroside I, picroside II, picroside III, picroside IV, kutkoside, pikuroside, d-mannitol, kutkiol, kutki sterol and flavonoids like apocynin and vanillic acid.
  • Imbued with potent hepatoprotective, cholagogue, anti-splenomegaly, anti-hepatomegaly, spleno-protective, detoxifying, febrifuge, digestive, anti-inflammatory, broncho-dilatory, pain-relieving, anti-microbial properties, Kutki is extensively used for providing relief from jaundice, liver infections, fever, allergy, asthma, skin conditions including eczema and vitiligo, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, various infections, scorpion stings, malaria, and rheumatoid arthritis.


Formulation Containing Kutki

Due to the intense bitterness and powerful healing properties of Kutki, it has been used in many traditional Ayurvedic formulations such as Tikta Ghrita (Bitter Ghee), Pancha Tikta Ghrita, Kalmeghasava, Arogyavardhini Gutika, Punarnavadi Kvatha, Triphala Ghrita and Maha Yogaraj Guggulu. Some herbalists also use Kutki as a replacement for its Western counterpart, Gentian.



Imbued with the powerful therapeutic indications of the twelve herbal components, Kalmeghasava confers ultimate management and prevention of different types of liver anomalies. This potent herbal concoction not only helps in boosting immunity but also helps in providing relief from hepatomegaly (liver enlargement), splenomegaly (spleen enlargement), chronic fever and constipation. Powered by the cholagogue action, Kalmeghasava facilitates the discharge of bile from the liver and gall bladder, thereby boosting appetite and promoting overall body metabolism.



  • 12 parts Kalmegh (Bhunimba or Nilavembu) – Andrographis Paniculata
  • 1 Part Kutki – Picrorhiza Kurroa      
  • 1 Part Neem – Azadirachta Indica inner bark
  • 1 Part Sonth (Ginger Rhizome) – Zingiber Officinale               
  • 1 Part Haritaki – Terminalia Chebula         
  • 1 Part Chirayata – Swertia Chirata               
  • 1 Part Dhamasa (Duralabha) – Fagonia Cretica             
  • 1 Part Patol (Pointed gourd leaves) – Trichosanthes Dioica           
  • 1 Part Lal Chandan (Red Sandalwood) – Pterocarpus Santalinus             
  • 1 Part Ushira (Khas) – Vetiveria Zizanioides      
  • 1 Part Dhataki Flower- Woodfordia Fruticosa
  • 100 Parts Warm Water             
  • 40 parts Gur – Jaggery



  • Powder all the herbal components and dry them under direct sunlight.
  • Keep it aside for later use.
  • Pour purified warm water in the Asava Vessel.
  • Add Kalmegh powder and jaggery to it and blend well.
  • Then add all the other herbal and aromatic ingredients in to the jaggery mixture with continuous stirring.
  • Close the mouth of the Asava vessel with a cotton cloth and leave it undisturbed for a month.
  • On completion of the fermentation process, decant the liquid.
  • Preserve it in food-grade glass bottles for future use.



Adults: 10 – 15 ml, twice or thrice a day infused in equal quantities of water preferably after meals or as suggested by your health care provider or ayurvedic doctor.

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