8.3 Famous Ayurvedic
8.3.9 KATUKI, Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa,
Royle & Benth)
Attribute: Non-fatty and light
General Action: Liver tonic, blood purifier, antioxidant, anti-asthmatic, immunomodulator
Specific Action: Immunomodulator, liver tonic
Therapeutic Action: Lowers pitta and kapha
Katuki is used in Ayurveda for diseases of the liver and lungs. It has also been used to cure vomiting and fever. It is primarily known as an effective remedy against asthma. Several Ayurvedic formulas against asthma use kaktuki as the main herb. It is also known to have a tonic action on the body.
There have been an enormous amount of studies on katuki, and it is starting to appear in the United States as Picrorrhiza. The majority of these studies focus o either its liver-protecting properties or its proven anti-asthmatic qualities. Scientists have been able to isolate the active principal of katuki that combats liver dysfunction. Not only has katuki shown liver-protective abilities it has also shown a significant reversal damage. These results have been proven in several different studies and are now of great interest to pharmaceutical companies. In many studies the natural extract of katuki has proved more effective than the commonly used medicine for the liver. Another study has shown it to reverse the hepatotoxic effects of drugs like paracetamol; this I turn has a beneficial action on the whole metabolism and reduces many of the secondary effects of modern drugs.
Modern studies have also confirmed katukis anti-asthmatic properties. One study calls it the most effective compound in preventing allergen and PAF-induced bronchial obstructions. Reports show the effectiveness is more than 80 percent when compared to the controls,.There are many other studies that reach the same conclusion. Katuki works directly on inhibiting the release of his-tamine in the lungs; this then can prevent the asthmatic attack from happening.
Perhaps even more interesting for most people is the antioxidant action of katuki. One recent study has proved that katuki is an antioxidant and a scavenger of oxygen free radicals. This is really good news because recent evidence points to free radicals as being the primary cause of many diseases, such as cancer, heart attacks, HIV, and even arthritis. Well known antioxidants like vitamins C and E have shown excellent rejuvenating qualities due to their ability to fight off these free radicals. Another study shows that katuki has immunomodulating properties. It also has valuable anti-inflammatory qualities and tests confirm that it is safe to use and has no cancer-forming actions.
Thus katuki is an excellent liver tonic, antiasthmatic and immune system regulator. Due to its bitter nature it should not be ingested daily unless it in a balanced formula. Otherwise it will have a depleting effect after several months.
Dose: 1 to 2 grams twice a day when needed