Upright perennial herb growing to 10 ft (3 m). Has heart-shaped leaves and blue-black flowerheads.
Habitat & Cultivation
Native to the Indian subcontinent, kuth is most commonly found in mountainous areas of Kashmir. The root is gathered in autumn.
Root, essential oil.
Kuth contains a volatile oil (consisting of terpenes, sesquiterpenes, and aplotaxene), an alkaloid (saussarine), and a resin. Saussarine depresses the parasympathetic nervous system.
History & Folklore
Kuth root has been used in Indian medicine for at least 2,500 years. It has also been exported to China and the Middle East. The fragrant root is often used in perfumery. In India, it is valued as an aphrodisiac and for its reputed ability to prevent gray hair.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Kuth is used in the Ayurvedic and Unani Tibb traditions in India for its tonic, stimulant, and antiseptic properties. The root is commonly taken, in combination with other herbs, for respiratory system problems such as bronchitis, asthma, and coughs. It is also used to treat cholera.
S. amara is used in Mongolian herbal medicine to treat bacterial infections and gallbladder disease.
Do not take kuth essential oil internally.