Kutaja (Holarrhena antidysenterica)

Basonym of Drug

The medicinal plant Kutaja is scientifically known as Holarrhena antidysenterica. This botanical name serves as the fundamental identifier for this potent herb in various scientific and traditional contexts.

Main Sanskrit Synonyms

In the rich tapestry of Ayurveda, Kutaja is referred to by various Sanskrit synonyms, each encapsulating its unique attributes. Some key Sanskrit synonyms for Kutaja include:

  1. Kutaja: found in mountain regions.
  2. Vatsaka: found in Vatsaka(Vindhya) region.
  3. Kalinga: found in Kalinga (Odisha) region.
  4. Samgrahi: stops diarrhoea.
  5. Mahagandha: having aromatic flowers.

Regional Name (Vernacular names)

Kutaja’s popularity extends across regions, leading to diverse vernacular names in different languages and cultures:

  • Hindi: Kurchi, Kuda
  • English: Conessi Tree
  • Bengali: Kurchi, Kurcha
  • Marathi: Kodaga
  • Tamil: Kuda, Vakai
  • Telugu: Kodaga, Pagadam
  • Kannada: Kadu, Vatsaka
  • Gujarati: Kuda
  • Punjabi: Kuda, Kutaj

Botanical Name

Scientifically classified as Holarrhena antidysenterica, Kutaja is a member of the Apocynaceae family.


Kutaja finds its botanical family in Apocynaceae, a family recognized for various medicinal plants, including Rauvolfia serpentina and Catharanthus roseus.

Scientific Classification of Dravya

Kutaja’s scientific classification provides insights into its botanical lineage and evolutionary relationships.

  • Kingdom: Plantae (Vanaspati)
  • Sub-Kingdom: Phanerogamia (Pushpavarna)
  • Division (Phylum): Angiosperms (Rajadaniya)
  • Class: Dicotyledons (Dvandvahstha)
  • Order: Gentianales (Agni Vargas)
  • Family: Apocynaceae (Arali)
  • Genus: Holarrhena (Vatsaka)
  • Species: antidysenterica (Yakrutpada)

Classical Classification of Dravya (Gana)

Kutaja’s classification in the classical Ayurvedic texts, such as Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita, is elucidated below.

Charaka Samhita:

  • Arshoghna: Useful in treating piles.
  • Asthapanopaga: Used in Asthapana Basti treatment.
  • Kandughna: useful in skin disorders.
  • Stanyashodhana: useful in detoxifying breast milk.

Sushruta Samhita:

  • Gana (Group): Tikta Skandha (Group of bitter-tasting substances)
  • Varga (Class): Pathya (Group of wholesome herbs)

External Morphology

Kutaja presents itself as a deciduous tree, reaching up to 12 meters in height. It boasts of opposite, lance-shaped leaves and bears white, fragrant flowers. The fruit is a follicle containing numerous seeds.

Useful Parts

Various parts of the Kutaja tree hold therapeutic value, with the bark being the most commonly used in medicinal preparations.

  1. Bark: The bark of Kutaja is highly prized for its medicinal properties and is often used in various formulations.

Important Phytoconstituents

Kutaja is a reservoir of bioactive compounds that contribute to its healing attributes. Some of the crucial phytoconstituents present in Kutaja include:

  1. Alkaloids: Key alkaloids such as conessine, conimine, and holarrhimine contribute to Kutaja’s antispasmodic and anti-diarrheal effects.
  2. Sterols: Presence of beta-sitosterol, contributing to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  3. Flavonoids: These compounds provide antioxidant effects and contribute to Kutaja’s overall medicinal properties.
  4. Tannins: Tannins present in Kutaja bark have astringent properties, which can be beneficial in managing diarrhea.

Rasa Panchaka:

Rasa (Taste): Bitter (Tikta), Astringent (Kashaya)

Guna (Qualities): Light (Laghu), Dry (Ruksha)

Veerya (Potency): Cold (Sheeta)

Vipaka (Post-Digestive Taste): Pungent (Katu)

Prabhava (Special Efficacy): Effective in treating various gastrointestinal disorders, particularly dysentery.

Action on Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala:

Dosha: Kutaja primarily pacifies Kapha and Pitta Doshas, owing to its bitter and drying properties. It may aggravate Vata in excess.

Dhatu: It primarily acts on the Rasa and Rakta Dhatus (plasma and blood tissue), supporting their purification and health.

Mala: Kutaja aids in regulating and balancing Mala (waste products) by improving digestion and eliminating toxins from the body.

Prayogarha Vyadhi (Therapeutic Indications):

Therapeutic Indications of Kutaja include:

  1. Diarrhea and Dysentery: Kutaja is renowned for its effectiveness in managing various forms of diarrhea, especially amoebic dysentery.
  2. Gastrointestinal Disorders: It’s beneficial in various gastrointestinal ailments, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), colitis, and indigestion.
  3. Fever: Kutaja’s antipyretic properties aid in managing fever associated with digestive issues.
  4. Skin Disorders: It can be used externally for skin conditions like eczema, itching, and other inflammatory skin disorders.
  5. Intestinal Worm Infestations: Kutaja possesses anthelmintic properties and helps in expelling intestinal parasites.
  6. Bacterial Infections: It’s effective against bacterial infections due to its antibacterial properties.

Amayikaprayoga and Matra (Therapeutic Administration and Dose):

Amayikaprayoga: Kutaja should be used cautiously in cases of excessive dryness, as it can exacerbate dryness-related issues.

Matra: The dosage of Kutaja can vary based on the form of preparation. Generally, it’s administered in powder or tablet form at doses of 250 mg to 2 grams twice a day or as directed by an Ayurvedic practitioner.

Vishishta Yoga (Names of Important Formulations):

Important Formulations containing Kutaja:

  1. Kutajarishta: An Ayurvedic fermented liquid preparation used in diarrhea, dysentery, and gastrointestinal disorders.
  2. Kutaja Ghana Vati: Tablets made from Kutaja extract used in diarrhea and dysentery.
  3. Kutaj Parpati: A classical Ayurvedic formulation used in diarrhea, malabsorption, and digestive disorders.

Vishakta Lakshan (Adverse Effects):

Adverse Effects of Kutaja may include:

  1. Excessive Dryness: Overuse can lead to increased dryness, causing symptoms like dry mouth and skin.
  2. Abdominal Discomfort: In some cases, Kutaja may cause abdominal discomfort or constipation if used in excess.

Chikitsopachara (Remedial Measures):

In case of adverse effects:

  • Reduce the dosage or discontinue use under the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner.
  • Ensure adequate hydration to counteract excessive dryness.

Shodhana (Purification method):

Kutaja is not typically subjected to specific purification methods before use, as its formulations often balance its properties with other herbs. However, it’s usually processed in formulations for therapeutic purposes.

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Note: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult with a qualified healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment of any other medical condition.

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