What is Kutki?
Kutki, also known as Katuka, is a traditional herb that is used to protect the liver and has a lot of healing properties. In fact, over the past few years, as more and more has been learned about this amazing herb and its demand on the national and international markets has grown, many pharmaceutical companies have taken powerful hepatoprotective drugs and compounds from the roots of Kutki and made them into strong medicines. Kutki is a plant in the family Scrophulariaceae. It is also called Picorrhiza kurroa, which is its scientific name. The name Picorrhiza comes from the Greek words "Picroz," which means "bitter," and "rhiza," which means "root." This is because the herb has a bitter taste.
People talk about how bitter this eastern root tastes, and they say that it naturally cools, cleans, and kills bacteria. Kutki is a great choice as a strong herbal antibiotic, a Pitta pacifier, an anti-inflammatory, a detoxifier, and an antimicrobial powerhouse because of these qualities. Kutki can also be used as the main herbal part of a weight-loss plan or diet. This bitter agent is great for boosting the digestive fire, helping the body get rid of excess fat and cholesterol, and speeding up the metabolism as a whole.
Kutki is a small perennial plant that grows between 20 and 30 cm tall. The roots of the plant are long, tubular, straight or slightly curved, and most of them are attached to rhizomes. There are a few longitudinal and dotted scars on the roots. The useful part of the plant is the rhizome, which is usually thick, sub-cylindrical, straight or curved, and greyish-brown in colour, with longitudinal furrows and spherical scars of roots on the outside. The plant has a small, weak, leafy, and slightly hairy stem that creeps along the ground. The leaves are oblong plate, have teeth, narrow to a winged stalk, and are 5–15 cm long. They are arranged alternately on the stem. The flowers are small, light blue or purple-blue, and grow in cylinder-shaped spikes. Each flower has five petals. The flowers bloom for a long time, usually from June to August. After the flowers have been fertilised, a small, two-chambered, spherical capsule with four valves and several white, oblong seeds grows.
Kutki usually grows at higher altitudes in the Himalayan mountain range. It grows well in moist rocky crevices, moist rocky cracks, and sandy-clayey soil, from timberline to alpine. It comes from the Himalayan region, which includes India, Pakistan, Southeast Tibet, Nepal, North Burma, and West China. It grows in the Himalayan alpine regions of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Sikkim in India.
Formulation containing kutki:
Kutki has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicines like Tikta Ghrita (Bitter Ghee), PanchaTikta Ghrita, Kalmeghasava, Arogyavardhini Gutika, Punarnavadi Kvatha, Triphala Ghrita, and Maha Yogaraj Guggulu because of how bitter it is and how well it heals. Some herbalists also use Kutki instead of Gentian, which is a similar plant used in the West.
Kutki effect on dosha:
This magical liver-protecting herb has both Katu Rasa (spicy) and Tikta Rasa (bitter). It has Ruksha (meaning dry) and Laghu (meaning light) gunas. It has cold power (Sheeto Virya) and heat power (Katu Vipaka) (pungent metabolic property). The bioactive substances in this bitter herb balance the Pitta (fire and air) and Kapha (earth and water) doshas. However, too much of this herb can often make the Vata (air) doshas worse.
Because the herb is dry and light, it helps cut through the thick rheum matter caused by too much kapha dosha. It also reduces pitta and kapha doshas in the head and chest, which helps keep the body's temperature normal. As a Pitta pacifier, it also cleans the liver and blood of toxins while making the vital organ stronger and boosting cell growth and tissue regeneration. Due to its properties and doshas, Kutki has a positive effect on the Rasa (plasma), Rakta (blood), Mamsa (muscles), Asthi (bones), and Shukra (spine) (i.e. Reproductive Fluids).
Also, learn about the Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas in this introduction to Ayurveda.
Asrajit (a coolant), Dahajit (relieves burning sensations), Vishama Jwara (treats chronic fever), Arochaka (treats anorexia), Bhedani (makes you throw up), and Hridya are ayurvedic properties that help the body show the following main prabhas (protects the heart).
Health benefits of kutki:
Katuki is a traditional herb that was first found in the mountains. It is not as common or well-known as other traditional herbs and spices, but it can help you with a lot of problems that may be weighing you down. This ayurvedic plant has sweet, helpful health benefits that come from its bitter root.
- It's a natural way to treat a fever.
When we have a fever and chills, the first thing we all do is take a pill to bring down our body temperature. What if we told you that eating katuki when you're sick can naturally cool down your body? The herb has strong antipyretic properties that calm and fight the inflammation that causes sudden chills and high body temperature. It can protect the body from seasonal dangers when it is taken with warm water or ghee. You can also improve your health by putting kutki powder in your food.
- Helps is breathing
Pollution, problems with the seasons, or viral infections can all make it hard to breathe. Katsuki's powerful anti-inflammatory properties can open up the airways, relieve congestion, and help the body naturally get rid of any irritants. It can also be used as a natural aid to help asthma patients by stopping the body from releasing histamine. Researchers are also looking into how well it helps the body's respiratory system. Also, it is said to help boost the immune system, which can also help stop chronic infections from happening.
- Heals cuts and first-stage infections
Like turmeric, katuki is full of antioxidants that make the skin feel better and act quickly on infections, wounds, and rashes. Several studies have shown that katuki could also be used to treat serious skin conditions like psoriasis and vitiligo. But researchers haven't finished their work yet.
- Healthy for your liver
One of the best things about katuki is that it helps the liver and keeps problems with the liver in check. Katuki helps fix the imbalance caused by "pitta" and keeps problems like bile disorders from happening. Also, katuki has a lot of an important enzyme called "kutkin" or "picroliv" that makes sure your liver works well, gets rid of toxins, and limits your exposure to bad germs that can make you sick. So it makes sense that it is thought to be an important herb for cleansing the liver or making it work better.
- Helps keep weight in check
If you have gained weight out of the blue and are looking for ways to get rid of it, katuki might be the answer. As a medicine, katuki can make the stomach work better, make it make juices that speed up the metabolism, and make it make digestive fibres that can cut down on fat that doesn't belong there. Along with the right diet and exercise, eating katuki on a regular basis can help people manage their weight better.