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Kutaja Benefits, Side Effects, Precautions & more!

By Dr Anuja Bodhare +2 more


The shrub Holarrhena antidysenterica Linn (Family Apocynaceae), also known as ‘Indrajav’, ‘Coneru’ in English, and ‘Kutaja’ in Sanskrit, is found throughout India up to a height of 4,000 feet. 

In India, especially in the Himalayan ranges, the plant is prolific. In India, Kutaja has traditional and folklore values. For example, people in the Indian state of Odisha offer this plant’s leaves together with rice during the ‘Nabanna’ celebration.

Kutaja ayurvedic herb

The plant can be found in Asia and Africa’s tropical and subtropical climates. The tree blooms in May-July in Burma, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, and Africa. It can be found all over India, particularly in the deciduous forests of the tropical Himalayas, ranging from altitudes 900 to 1250 meters.1 

Chemical Constituents of Kutaja: 

The main components of Kutaja are steroidal alkaloids, resin, flavonoids, phenolic acids, triterpenoids, tannin, coumarins, saponins, and ergosterol. Conessine, kurchine, holarrhimine, conkurchine, holarrhenine, kurchicine, and conkurchinine are among the alkaloids found in the bark.1,2,3  

Therapeutic Uses of Kutaja: 

The therapeutic uses of Kutaja are as follows: 

  • Kutaja herb has long been used as a cure for diarrhoea and intestinal worms in Indian traditional medicine.  
  • Roots and leaves are two other useful parts used in medications. The barks and roots are used effectively for the management of both acute and chronic dysentery, particularly in situations where there is a lot of blood and mucus, colic discomfort, and loose stools.  

In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, the stem bark, also known as ‘kurchi’ in India and ‘conessi bark’ in Europe, is used to cure dysentery, particularly amoebic dysentery. 

  • In addition, Ayurveda uses the bark of Holarrhena antidysenterica Linn as an antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic. 
  • The plant has also documented astringent and anti-helminthic activities. 
  • In addition, it has been claimed that Holarrhena antidysenterica is employed as an immunomodulatory, a larval growth inhibitor, and a treatment for malaria and vaginitis.1 

Due to its strong potential to aid a wide range of illnesses, including amoebic dysentery, diarrhoea, asthma, skin conditions, and many other illnesses, Kutaja is a plant with significant commercial potential. Kutaja has well known anti-inflammatory benefits as well.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Benefits of Kutaja: 

Benefits of Kutaja in Preventing Amnesia: 

Kutaja seeds have anti-amnesic properties because they lower acetylcholine levels and prevent the rise of glutathione and other elements that cause amnesia (deficit in memory caused by trauma, disease, or brain damage).1 

Anti-diabetic Benefits of Kutaja: 

  • In animal studies conducted on rats, Kutaja lowered plasma glucose levels significantly 12 hours after dosing.
  • Reduced total cholesterol, triglycerides, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, urea, and serum creatinine, are linked to lower blood glucose levels.
  • The extract’s phenolic components and flavonoids are responsible for inhibiting numerous enzymes and, as a result, inhibits glucose absorption for the control of postprandial hyperglycaemia.1 

Benefits of Kutaja in Controlling Kidney Stones: 

  • In vitro, Kutaja shrinks calcium oxalate crystals that cause kidney stones.
  • The extract reduces cell toxicity and lactate dehydrogenase synthesis. In vivo testing in rats revealed a significant reduction in polyurea, water consumption, calcium excretion, and crystal formation.2 

Benefits of Kutaja in Managing Piles: 

In patients with bleeding piles, the stem bark extract of H. antidysenterica in ‘Kutajatvak churna’ exhibited therapeutic action.2 

Antibacterial Benefits of Kutaja: 

Kutaja has the strongest antibacterial action against Staphylococcus. However, the action is slightly less against Salmonella and E. coli.1 

Anti-parasitic Activity of Kutaja: 

  • In rats and hamsters, Kutaja demonstrated potential effectiveness against experimental amoebiasis.
  • In addition, the fruit extract has an antiprotozoal activity against human Entamoeba histolytica and Trypanosoma evansi.4 

Anti-diarrheal Benefits of Kutaja: 

  • As per in vivo experiments, for castor oil-induced diarrhoea in rats, ethanolic seed extracts of Kutaja showed a considerable rise in the dry weight of stools and a reduction in defaecation drops.
  • Enteroinvasive E. coli, Shigella flexneri, Shigella boydii, and Salmonella enteritidis are all susceptible to bark extracts.
  • In addition, the diarrhoeal pathogens Salmonella typhimurium, Vibrio cholerae, and Vibrio alginolyticus were inhibited by leaf extracts of Kutaja.2 

Antioxidant Benefits of Kutaja: 

  • Kutaja leaf extracts were shown to scavenge superoxide ions and hydroxyl ions and have a lower ability to convert ferric (Fe3+) to ferrous (Fe2+).
  • The plant’s seed extracts also inhibited the formation of different components and ions and lipid peroxidation, indicating its antioxidant activities.2 

Also Read: Shallaki – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

In my experience, gout and other skin conditions may potentially be managed using Kutaja. Kutaja has blood purifying nature as well which makes it a potential aid for gout and skin diseases.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

How to Use Kutaja? 

Kutaja is used in different forms like: 

  • Seed powder  
  • Bark powder  
  • Kutaja kwatha3 
  • Kutaja Parpati Vati, and herbal food supplements1  

Your physician will prescribe you the appropriate dosage based on your individual needs.   

Laghulai Churna is a significant polyherbal preparation which contains a wide variety of medicinal herbs. Its major component is Kutaja. In my experience, it may be helpful to aid in malnutrition syndrome (grahani), diarrhoea (atisara), discomfort (sula), and abdominal distension brought on by obstruction of the urine and faeces passages (anaha).

Dr. Smita barode, BAMS

Side Effects of Kutaja: 

Some of the side effects observed when consuming Kutaja are: 

  • Heat in the abdomen and head 
  • Nausea  
  • Flatulence  
  • Constipation  
  • Anxiety, nervousness, and sleeplessness, 
  • Vertigo  
  • Syncope  
  • Weakness  
  • Xerostomia (dry mouth) 
  • Body lightness 
  • A drop in body temperature was recorded by one patient.3,4 

Also Read: Pippali – Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Precautions to Take With Kutaja: 

Kutaja is known to possess anti-diabetic activity. Hence, Kutaja should be used with caution in diabetic patients on anti-diabetic drugs.  

Interaction With Other Drugs: 

Kutaja may interact with anti-diabetic drugs and cause hypoglycaemia.1 

Also Read: Citronella – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

Frequently Asked Questions: 

1) What are some of the common names of Kutaja? 

Some of the common names of Kutaja are Bitter Oleander, Tellicherry Bark, Connessi Bark, Dysentery Rose Bay, and Kurchi Bark.4 

2) What are the traditional uses of Kutaja? 

Kutaja has long been used to manage diarrhoea, dysentery, and has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-malarial effects. However, as technology advanced, other pharmacological qualities of the plants, such as anti-amnesic and neuroprotective capabilities, were discovered through experimental tests.1 

3) Can Kutaja be used for skin treatments? 

No, Kutaja has no use for skin replenishment or skin rejuvenation properties. 

4) What are the different plant parts that can be used? 

The seeds and the bark can be used in the form of a powder. The leaves can be consumed as a whole.1 

5) What are some of the formulations in which Kutaja is used? 

Kutajarishta, Kutajavleha, Kutajghan Vati, Mahamanjishtadi Kashayam, Stanyashodhana Kashaya, and Patoladi Choornam are some of the Ayurvedic compositions that contain this plant as a component. Pravahika (amoebiasis), Atisara (diarrhoea), Jwaratisara (secondary diarrhoea), Asra (blood or blood-related illnesses), Kustha (skin disorder), and Trsna (thirst) are some of the conditions it has traditionally been used to manage. The Brihat Bhaishajya Ratnakar mentions Bhunimbadi churna as a set of nine medicines that can be used to manage fever, jaundice, anaemia, and diabetes.3 

Also Read: Vidarikand – Uses, Benefits & Precautions


  1. Sharma M. A Review on Pharmacological Aspects of Holarrhena antidysenterica. 2018; Available from: www.saspublisher.com 
  1. Sinha S, Sharma A, Reddy PH, Rathi B, Prasad NVSRK, Vashishtha A. Evaluation of phytochemical and pharmacological aspects of Holarrhena antidysenterica (Wall.): A comprehensive review. Journal of Pharmacy Research. 2013 Apr;6(4):488–92.  
  1. Jamadagni PS, Pawar SD, Jamadagni SB, Chougule S, Gaidhani SN, Murthy SN. Review of Holarrhena antidysenterica (L.) Wall. ex A. DC.: Pharmacognostic, pharmacological, and toxicological perspective. Vol. 11, Pharmacognosy Reviews. Medknow Publications; 2017. p. 141–4.  
  1. Ali Shah SM, Usmanghani K, Akhtar N, Asif HM, Akram M, Ahmed K, et al. Monograph of Holarrhena Antidysenterica (linn.) Wall. Vol. 2, International Journal of Phytomedicine. 2010. p. 345–8.  

Also Read: Majuphal – Uses, Benefits & Side Effects


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