KUTKI

(Picrorhiza kurroa )

Picrorhiza kurroa is a well-known herb in the Ayurvedic system of medicine and has traditionally been used to treat disorders of the liver and upper respiratory tract, reduce fevers, and treat dyspepsia, chronic diarrhea, and scorpion sting. It is a small perennial herb from the Scrophulariaceae family, found in the Himalayan region growing at elevations of 3,000 – 5,000 meters. Picrorhiza kurroa has a long, creeping rootstock that is bitter and grows in rock crevices and moist, sandy soil. The leaves of the plant are flat, oval, and sharply serrated. The flowers, which appear from June through August, are white or pale purple and borne on a tall spike; manual harvesting of the plant takes place from October through December. The active constituents are obtained from the root and rhizomes. The plant is self-regenerating but unregulated over-harvesting has caused it to be threatened to near extinction. Current research on Picrorhiza kurroa has focused on its hepatoprotective, anti cholestatic, antioxidant, and immune-modulating activity.

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