Picrorrhiza plant - Picrorrhiza Kurroa (Scrophulariaceae)

Medicinal Use of Picrorrhiza – Picrorrhiza Kurroa (Scrophulariaceae)


Hairy perennial with serrated elliptical leaves and white or lilac flowers growing in spikes.

Habitat & Cultivation

Picrorrhiza is native to the mountains of India, Nepal, and Tibet. The rhizome is gathered in autumn.

Part Used



Picrorrhiza contains the bitter glycoside kutkin (composed of picrosides I to III and kutkoside), iridoids, cucurbitacins, and apocynin. Apocynin is powerfully anti-inflammatory and reduces platelet aggregation.

History & Folklore

Picrorrhiza has been used in Ayurvedic medicine as a laxative and bitter tonic since the earliest times.

Medicinal Actions & Uses

In India, picrorrhiza is used as a bitter tonic, equivalent in many respects to gentian (Gentiana lutea), and given for a wide range of digestive and liver troubles, such as indigestion, constipation, jaundice, and hepatitis.

In China, it is chiefly employed to treat chronic diarrhea and dysentery. Picrorrhiza also helps treat asthma, acute and chronic infections, conditions where the immune system is compromised, and autoimmune diseases, including psoriasis and vitiligo. The herb’s traditional use for liver disorders is well founded, and picrorrhiza may play an important role in treating liver disease.


In 1992 Indian trials, extracts of picrorrhiza were shown to boost immunity, and to have a specific action against Leishmania donovani, which causes the tropical parasitic disease known as leishmaniasis. Indian research also indicates that picrorrhiza is of therapeutic value in the treatment of autoimmune disease.


Take picrorrhiza only under professional supervision.