In India, picrorhiza is used as a bitter tonic, equivalent in many respects to gentian, and given for indigestion, constipation, jaundice, and hepatitis. In China, it is chiefly employed to treat chronic diarrhea and dysentery. Picrorhiza also helps treat asthma, acute and chronic infections, conditions where the immune system is compromised, and autoimmune diseases, including psoriasis and vitiligo. Its traditional use for liver disorders is well founded, and picrorhiza may play an essential part in helping to treat severe liver disease.

Botanical Name

Picrorhiza kurroa

Part Used


Common Names

Kuru, Katuka, Kutki, Kutkin, Katki, Katukarosana

Brief History

Picrorhiza kurroa

Picrorhiza has been used in Ayurvedic medicine since the earliest times as a laxative, bile-inducing, and bitter tonic herb, given for conditions as varied as snake bite and hepatitis.


Picrorhiza is native to the Himalayan Mountains of India, Nepal, and Tibet.


Bitter glycoside kutkin (composed of picrosides I to III and kutkoside), iridoids, cucurbitacins, and apocynin.

Therapeutic Properties

Liver protective, anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, immunostimulator, bitter tonic, choleretic.

Vitalist Properties

Temperature: Cold

Moisture: Drying

Therapeutic Indications

Asthma, Liver Infections, Allergies, Autoimmune Disorders, Weakened Immunity, Hepatitis.

Primary Uses

Liver Disorders

Clinical trials using Picrorhiza for the treatment of infective hepatitis demonstrated rapid falls in bilirubin levels and quicker clinical recovery.


In an uncontrolled study using 400 mg/day of Picrorhiza root, marked relief was observed in all of 25 cases of asthma.

Clinical Research


In a randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled trial involving patients diagnosed with acute viral hepatitis (hepatitis B surface antigen-negative), a powder of the crude drug was administered orally (375 mg three times a day) for 2 weeks (n = 15) or a matching placebo was given (n = 18). The difference in values of bilirubin, serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase and serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase between the group that received the placebo and the group that received the treatment with the crude drug was significant. The time in days required for total serum bilirubin to drop to an average value of 2.5 mg% was 75.9 days in patients who received the placebo versus 27.4 days in the treatment group


A preliminary clinical trial involving 36 patients with bronchial asthma assessed the efficacy of an extract of the crude drug. The powdered crude drug at a dose of 75 mg twice daily was administered for 2 weeks. The study reported that 53% of patients had no attacks or chest symptoms, 25% had occasional attacks, which were reduced in severity after treatment. Treatment did not improve the condition of patients who smoked or regularly drank alcohol and was not sufficient for acute attacks.

Dosage (Divided Daily)

Dried Powder: 500 – 2,000mg

Buy Picrorhiza Powder
Picrorhiza Root Powder


None known

Side effects

High doses may cause diarrhoea, flatulence and griping in sensitive individuals. Picrorrhiza also can cause a skin rash. Some patients find the bitterness intolerable.

Interactions with other drugs

None known


  1. Bone, K. (1996). Clinical applications of Ayurvedic and Chinese herbs: monographs for the western herbal practitioner. Warwick, Qld.: Phytotherapy.
  2. Chevallier, A. (2000). Encyclopedia of herbal medicine (2nd American ed.). New York: DK Pub.
  3. Khare, C. P. (2004). Indian herbal remedies: rational Western therapy, ayurvedic, and other traditional usages, botany. Berlin; New York: Springer.
  4. World Health Organization. (1999). WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants. Geneva: World Health Organization.

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