Kutki or Katuki, is a rare endangered herb that grows wildly in alpine regions on rock crevices and also in organic soils. It is found in the high Himalayan regions of India, China, Pakistan, Bhutan and Nepal. Used medicinally for more than 5,000 years, Kutki is mentioned in ancient, classical Ayurvedic texts. In India, it is found growing in the alpine Himalayas of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim.
Belonging to the Scrophulariaceae family, Kutki (in Sanskrit it means bitter) is popular in the world of alternative medicine, especially in Ayurveda for its liver-protecting and healing properties.
Its botanical name is Picrorrhiza - in Greek picros means bitter and rhiza means root, so Kutki is a bitter root. The parts of the plant used for treatment are the root and rhizome (underground stem). This root is said to be cooling, cleansing and anti-bacterial by nature.
Kutki is considered to be an important detoxifying or liver degenerating herb, in other words, it is a hepatoprotective herb that has immense healing properties. Its bitter quality is valued for supporting liver and kidney health. In Ayurveda, Kutki is said to balance the Kapha and Pitta doshas, and is often used to support healthy liver function.It contains an important enzyme, known as 'kutkin' or 'picroliv' in a high quantity which ensures good liver function, cleanse out the toxins and limits exposure to the bad germs which can impact liver functioning. Kutki is an important constituent of Arogyavardhini, an Ayurvedic preparation for the treatment of liver disorders.
The herb also contains powerful antipyretic properties that soothe and fight the inflammation responsible for the sudden chills and body heat.
Kutki is enriched with several antioxidant properties that soothe the skin and act fast on infections, wounds, and rashes. Kutki is known to treat vitiligo - a skin disorder that causes white patches to develop on the skin.
The anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer properties of the Kutki root and rhizome plays a chief role in treating different types of ulcers like ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcer, canker sores or mouth ulcers, etc. This is mainly due to its constituent apocynin.
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.
Many Ayurvedic medicines use Kutki to treat asthma by helping in reducing allergen-induced bronchial obstructions. It inhibits the activity of histamine, a chemical produced by the immune system, which plays a major role in allergy and asthma.
Health Benefits of Kutki
Supports liver health, treats jaundice
Skin disorders like vitiligo
Treats flu and fever
Helps Asthma and bronchial disease
Supports healthy blood sugar
Helps digestion and weight loss
Lowers cholesterol and supports heart health
Relief in rheumatoid arthritis
Kutki is widely available in the form of churnas and gutikas or as dried root or rhizome. One can use honey to mask its bitter taste.
Please follow the instructions of your Ayurveda healthcare provider before taking Kutki supplements.