The seeds are called 'Indra's seeds' in Sanskrit and are said to have sprung from drops of the 'Amrita of life' which fell on the ground from the bodies of the monkeys of Lord Rama, who were then restored to life by Indra. Holarrhena antidysenterica has frequently been adulterated with Wrightia tinctoria; however, the seeds of the former herb are bitter in taste, compared to the seeds of the latter which are tasteless. The bark is collected from trees over 10 years old.
It is found all over India and other Asian countries up to an altitude of 1300 m, especially in the sub-Himalayan tract, in deciduous forests and open wastelands.
A small shrub or deciduous tree, up to 13 m in height, with a milky latex (Plate 34). The bark peels off in flakes and is grey to pale brown in colour. The leaves are shiny on the upper surface, dull and hairy on the lower, opposite, subsessile and elliptic. The flowers are white, in terminal corymbose cymes, the fruits are cylindrical, dark grey with white specks, and occur in pairs; the seeds are light brown, 0.5-1.5 cm long, with long tufts of hair.
Stem, root bark and seeds.
Kutaja is primarily used for the treatment of dysentery but has several other therapeutic usages. It is particularly useful in bleeding disorders such as menorrhagia, haemorrhoids, diabetes and oedema and has been used for tumours, abscesses, aches and pains, bronchitis, colic, diarrhoea, splenitis and as a vermifuge, laxative and astringent.
The seeds and bark are used in diarrhoea in ruminants. The bark and seeds have been used for wounds, maggots in wounds, pox and anthrax. It is also used to treat jaundice, colic, bloody dysentery, cold and cough, diseases of skeletal system such as lumbar, rib, compound fractures and dislocation of hips, stoppage of urination and prolapse of the uterus.
These are sometimes present as the tan nates and include conessine (about 0.4%), conessimine, kurchine, conamine, conimine, conessidine, conarrhimine, holarrhimine, holarrhine and kurchicine. The steroidal alkaloids regholarrhenine A, B, C, 0, E and F have been isolated from the stem bark of Holarrhena antidysenterica and antidysentericine from the seeds. The alkaloid content of the bark was found to be at a maximum when the plant was between 8-12 years old, and during the months of July to September.
Antibacterial activity: The methanolic extract of stem bark was tested for antibacterial efficacy against Staphylococcus aureus, Staph. epidermidis, Streptococcus faecalis, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa using both the microdilution broth method as well as the disc diffusion method. The extract was active against all tested bacteria. Further studies revealed that the antibacterial activity was mainly associated with alkaloids, which showed remarkable activity against Staph. aureus (MIC = 95 Ilg/ml). The seeds also exhibited antibacterial activity, particularly the chloroform and methanol extracts.
Antidysentery and antidiarrhoeal activity: The efficacy of Holarrhena antidysenterica in chronic and amoebic dysentery has been established. Conessine was reported to be the most effective of the alkaloids. In a small clinical trial of 25 patients suffering from diarrhoea and dysentery, relief for about 80% was observed after 3 days of treatment with an Ayurvedic formulation. This consisted of Holarrhena antidysenterica seeds, Berberis aristata wood, Embelia ribes fruits, Cyperus rotundus bulbous roots, Aegle marmelos fruit pulp and Butea monosperma seeds.
Immunomodulatory activity: An ethanolic extract stimulated phagocytic functions while inhibiting the humoral component of the immune system in mice.
Hypoglycaemic activity: This has been reported in the aqueous and alcoholic extracts of the seeds of Holarrhena antidysenterica. In a study conducted in rats in three models, a significant decrease in blood glucose level was observed both in normal and diabetic rats.
The maximum tolerated dose of the 50% ethanolic extract of the stem bark and fruits was found to be 1000 mg/kg and 250 mg/kg body weight (IP in adult albino rats), respectively.
KutzaGhan Vati is traditional used as very effective natural remedy for IBS (Irritable bowel Syndrome). It is an effective herbal remedy for chronic & acute diarrhea, dysentery, Amoebiasis, Giardiasis, Enteropathy and Ulcerative Colitis. Read more