Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Pubescens) – Kurchi (Kutaj)

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Holarrhena Antidysenterica (also called Kurchi, Kutaj, Kutaja & Vatsak in Ayurveda) is a medicinal plant that has antidysenteric, antidiarrheal, and anti-amoebic properties. In Ayurveda, it is used for the treatment of amoebic dysentery, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, bleeding piles, and liver disorders.

Botanical Description

Holarrhena Antidysenterica is not accepted scientific name. The accepted botanical name is Holarrhena Pubescens.

Common Names

Botanical NameHolarrhena Pubescens
Botanical SynonymHolarrhena Antidysenterica & Holarrhena Febrifuga
English NameTellicherry Bark
Hindi NameKutaj, Kutaja
Sanskrit NameVatsak
Ayurvedic NameKutaj, Kurchi
Also Spelled AsKutaja

Botanical Classification (Plant Taxonomy)

KingdomPlantae
Sub-KingdomViridiplantae
Infra KingdomStreptophyta  (Land Plants)
Super DivisionEmbryophyta
DivisionTracheophyta (Tracheophytes Or Vascular Plants)
Sub DivisionSpermatophytina (Spermatophytes Or Seed Plants)
ClassMagnoliopsida
Super OrderAsteranae
OrderGentianales
FamilyApocynaceae  (Apocyns, Dogbane)
GenusHolarrhena R
SpeciesHolarrhena Pubescens Wall ex G. Don

Medicinal Parts

In ayurveda, Seeds and bark of the Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Kutaj) are used for therapeutic purposes. Both have antibacterial and antidiarrheal effects.

Phytochemistry (Chemical Composition)

The seeds of Kutaj (Kurchi) contain five main steroidal alkaloids:

  1. CONESSINE
  2. ISOCONESSIMINE
  3. CONESSIMIN
  4. CONARRHIMIN
  5. CONIMIN

All these steroidal alkaloids have AChE inhibitory activity. (1)

The alkaloid CONESSINE has antidysenteric and anthelmintic properties, so Kutaj (Kurchi) is mainly useful for dysentery, diarrhea and helminthic disorders. (2)

The steam bark of Kutaj (Holarrhena Antidysenterica) also contains steroidal alkaloids, which include:

  1. CONESSINE
  2. ISOCONESSIMINE
  3. KURCHESSINE
  4. HOLADYSENTERINE (3)

CONESSINE, an antidysenteric agent, is present in both stem bark and seeds of Kutaj (Holarrhena Antidysenterica). Therefore, both are useful in the treatment of dysentery.

Medicinal Properties

Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Kutaj) has following healing properties.

  1. Antidysenteric
  2. Antidiarrheal
  3. Antibacterial
  4. Anthelmintic
  5. Aam Pachak (Detoxifier)
  6. Astringent
  7. Anti-hemorrhoid
  8. Antiamoebic
  9. Haemostatic
  10. Blood purifier

Ayurvedic Properties

Taste – RASATIKTA (Bitter) & KASAYA (Astringent)
Main Quality – GUNALAGHU (Light) & RUKSHA (Dry)
Potency – VIRYASHEETA (Cold)
Resultant – VIPAKAKATU (Pungent)
Therapeutic Effect – PRABHAVAAntidysenteric
DOSHA KARMA (Effect on Humors)Pacifies KAPHA DOSHA & PITTA DOSHA
Dhatu (Tissue) EffectRASA & RAKTA
Beneficial for OrgansAll organs in the Abdomen

Therapeutic Indications

Both seeds and stem bark of Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Kutaj) is useful in following conditions.

  1. Dysentery
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Diarrhea with Fever
  4. Amoebiasis

Indications of Kutaj Seeds

Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Kutaj) seeds are also useful in following conditions in addition to above diseases.

  1. Abdominal Pain
  2. Intestinal worms
  3. Leucorrhea
  4. Nausea & Vomiting (Roasted Seed Powder)

Indications of Kutaj Flowers

  1. Frequent urination

Indications of Kutaj Leaves

  1. Jaundice
  2. Intestinal worms

Benefits & Medicinal Uses

Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Kurchi/Kutaj) has bitter astringent taste, but it is beneficial for dysentery and diarrhea. It reduces mucus content in stool and check bleeding.

Amebic Dysentery

Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Kurchi/Kutaj) is a drug of choice in Amebic Dysentery. It completely kills Entamoeba Histolytica, the causative agent of Amebiasis. It also prevents amoebiasis lying dormant by destroying Entamoeba Histolytica and clears it from the intestines and liver completely. This is the unique property of Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Kurchi). The stem bark and seeds both are equally beneficial in Amebic Dysentery.

According to clinical study, Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Kurchi) provides about 70% good results in people with intestinal amoebiasis. It diminishes all symptoms like loose stools, flatulence, cramps or tenesmus before defecation, and mucus in the stool. (4)

Vatsakadi Kashayam and Vatsakadi Churna are more beneficial for amoebiasis because these formulations also contain other ingredients, which help boosting anti-protozoal action of the Kurchi (Kutaja).

Bacillary Dysentery – Shigella Infection (Shigellosis)

Bacillary dysentery is a bacterial infection caused by shigella bacteria, which results in fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Diarrhea in Shigella Infection accompanies with mucus and blood content in the stool.

Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Kurchi/Kutaj) has antibacterial activities, which also appear against Shigella bacteria. CONESSINE and CONIMINE in the Holarrhena Antidysenterica inhibit the growth of some strains of Shigella bacteria. (5, 6)

The extract of stem bark of Kutaj has significant bactericidal and bacteriostatic effect against Shigella Boydii, Shigella Flexneri and Shigella Soneii, which is comparable to standard allopathic drugs. However, the moderate effect against Shigella Dysenteirae is observed in research study. (7)

The stem bark of Kurchi (Kutaj) is used in ayurveda for reducing symptoms of Shigellosis, especially blood and mucus content in the stool.

Enteropathogenic Escherichia Coli Adhesion

Holarrhena Antidysenterica – Kurchi (Kutaj) exerts anti-adherence effect against Enteropathogenic Escherichia Coli on the host epithelial cells. (8)

The seed extract of Holarrhena Antidysenterica have similar antibacterial properties against Enteropathogenic Escherichia Coli. (9)

Intestinal infections due to certain types of Escherichia Coli bacteria are treatable with Holarrhena Antidysenterica. It helps reducing symptoms like diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. The ayurvedic formulations containing Kutaj are more useful in intestinal infections.

Multidrug Resistant Acinetobacter Baumannii (MDRAB)

Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Kutaj) is investigated for its effects against Multidrug Resistant Acinetobacter Baumannii (MDRAB). Kutaj appears to be resistant modifier for Acinetobacter Baumannii. The possible action of Holarrhena Antidysenterica extract is that it weakens the outer membrane and interrupts its permeability in case of A. Baumannii. (10)

Diarrhea

Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Kutaj) is a drug of choice for diarrhea in ayurveda. It has potent anti-diarrheal and antibacterial properties. (11)

The microbial action of Kutaj bark and seeds appear against a variety of bacteria, which cause diarrhea or intestinal infections.

In diarrhea, Along with Nagarmotha (Cyperus Rotundus) and Sonth (Zingiber Officinale), it works well when patient has sticky and smelly stool with mucus. According to ayurveda, this type of diarrhea is known as AMA ATISARA. However, the Kutaj does not have potent action against AMA, but Kutaj along with these herbs digests and eliminates AMA and reduces frequency of loose stools. The following herbal combination should be used for best results in acute diarrhea cases.

  1. Kutaj Bark
  2. Belgiri (Aegle Marmelos)
  3. Ativisha (Aconitum Heterophyllum)
  4. Nagarmotha (Cyperus Rotundus)
  5. Sonth (Zingiber Officinale)

How to Use This Mixture

  1. Mix all these herbs including Kutaj Bark in equal proportion
  2. Take 20 grams powder and 240 ml water.
  3. Reduce water to 60 ml and drink this decoction twice daily to cure diarrhea.

Kidney Stone

Holarrhena Antidysenterica has antiurolithic action. It possibly inhibits aggregation of calcium oxalate crystals in the kidneys. It also has renal epithelial cell protective effects and antioxidant action, which might play a role in prevention of kidney stones and renal diseases. (12, 13)

Kutaj (Kurchi) seeds are used for relieving renal colic and kidney stones. Seed powder (1.5 grams) and Nishoth powder (1.5 grams) is given with buttermilk for removing stones.

Difficulty in Urination

The root bark of Kutaj Tree helps in urinary difficulty that accompanies with burning micturition, or painful urination. It relieves pain, reduces burning sensation and stimulates the proper urination. For this purpose, 2 grams root bark of Kutaj Tree is used along with Cow’s Milk.

Jaundice

The juice of new tender leaves of Kutaj Tree is given on empty stomach for 3 to 7 days to normalize bilirubin level and stimulate liver functions. It is excellent treatment for Jaundice due to any underlying reason. It plays a hepato-protective as well as curative role in jaundice.

Excessive Uterine Bleeding

Haemostatic action of Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Kutaj) helps reducing uterine bleeding. However, it is not used alone in this condition. Its ayurvedic formulations like Kutajaveleha are more beneficial.

Abdominal Cramps or Pain

Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Kutaj) seeds (Indrayava) are beneficial for relieving abdominal cramps or pain. For this, a decoction prepared using 10 grams seeds (Indrayava) in 240 ml water and reduced to 60 ml is used along with Hing Churna (250 mg) for 2 to 3 times. However, if long-term treatment is required, then the dosage of Hing Churna should be reduced to 65 mg instead of 250 mg.

Bleeding Piles

Haemostatic action of Kutaj Bark reduces bleeding in hemorrhoids.  The decoction prepared using 10 grams Kutaj Bark in 240 ml water and reduced to 60 ml is used along with Ativisha (Aconitum Heterophyllum) Churna (500 mg) twice daily for 3 to 7 days.

Intestinal Worms

However, Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Kurchi) is not used alone for treating worm infestation, but along with other anthelmintic remedies, it provides excellent treatment for intestinal worms.

Dosage & Administration

The dosage of different parts of Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Kutaj) is as follows:

Stem Bark

The general dosage of Kutaj Stem Bark Churna is as follows.
Infants150 mg *
Children500 mg to 1.5 grams *
Adults3 grams *
Pregnancy1.5 grams *
Geriatric (Old age)1.5 grams *
Maximum Possible Dosage12 grams per day (in divided doses)
* Twice Daily with Warm Water
When to Take: After Food

Seeds

The general dosage of Seed Powder is as follows.
Infants250 mg *
Children500 mg *
Adults3 grams *
Pregnancy1 grams *
Geriatric (Old age)1 grams *
Maximum Possible Dosage12 grams per day (in divided doses)
* Twice Daily with Warm Water
When to Take: After Food

Bark or Seed Extract of Kutaj

The general dosage of Bark or Seed Extract is as follows.
Infants25 to 50 mg *
Children100 to 250 mg *
Adults250 to 500 mg *
Pregnancy250 mg *
Geriatric (Old age)250 mg *
Maximum Possible Dosage1000 mg per day (in divided doses)
* Twice Daily with Warm Water
When to Take: After Food

Kutaj Bark Decoction

The general dosage of Kutaj Bark Decoction is as follows.
Children30 ml *
Adults60 ml *
Maximum Possible Dosage120 ml per day (in divided doses)
* The decoction should be prepared using 10 grams bark powder and 240 ml water. It should be reduced to one-fourth (60 ml). The decoction can be taken Twice Daily.
When to Take: Before Food

Safety Profile

Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Kurchi) is considerably safe for most individuals when taken under professional supervision and within the dosage recommended in ayurveda.

Side Effects

Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Kurchi/Kutaj) does not have any side effects. However, its bitter taste may induce vomiting or nausea in some people.

Pregnancy & Lactation

In ayurveda, Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Kurchi/Kutaj) is used since thousands of years for the management of diarrhea and intestinal disorders in pregnant women and lactating mothers. There are no adverse effects reported with Holarrhena Antidysenterica bark and seeds when used in natural form.

Contraindications

There are no absolute contraindications of Holarrhena Antidysenterica (Kurchi/Kutaj).

Ayurvedic Formulations

  1. Kutajadi Vati
  2. Kutajghan Vati
  3. Vatsakadi Vati
  4. Vatsakadi Kwath or Kashayam
  5. Kutajavaleha
  6. Vijaya Churna
  7. Kutajarishta
  8. Kutajaveleh

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