Botanical Name: Saussurea lappa
Indian Name: Kuth
Origin, Distribution and Composition
Saussurea, known as castus in English, is a tall, stout herb having an annual stem and perennial roots. It has very large heart-shaped leaves; bluish, bluish-purple or almost black flowers and hairy fruits. The dried roots of the plant constitute the drug.
Saussurea is indigenous to India. It occurs in Kashmir and adjoining areas at altitudes ranging from 2,500 to 4,000 metres above the sea level.
The roots of the plant contain an essential oil, alkaloid saussurine and a bitter resin. The resinoid on distillation with superheated steam under reduced pressure yields an essential oil. However, the essential oil contains terpenes, aplotaxene and sesquiterpenes.
Healing Power and Curative Properties
The plant is well-known both in the Ayurvedic and Tibbi medicine. The root has a pungent taste and a peculiar I fragrance. I t is a tonic, aphrodisiac, antiseptic and a stimulant It strengthens functioning of the stomach and promotes i~1 action. It is helpful in arresting secretion or bleeding. I The essential oil has antiseptic and disinfectant properatil1 It relaxes the involuntary muscle tissues and serves as a card~ stimulant. It relieves flatulences and is a diuretic. It is also useful in removing catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchia, tubes.
Saussurea is beneficial in the treatment of respiralO1l disorders like bronchitis, asthma and cough, especially controlling attacks of bronchial asthma. The combined action of the essential oil and the alkaloid in the root restrict the paroxysms. The alkaloid saussurine has a depressant action on the vagus centre in the medulla, which supplies motor nerve fibre, as well 3100 the involuntary muscle fibres of the broncholes ani gastrointestinal tract. It produces a slight but persistent rise in blood pressure and increases the force of contraction and amplitude of the ventricles. The essential oil not only relaxes the bronchial muscle, but also has a marked expectorant action which relieves turgescene of the mucosa. It, however, does not produce a permanent cure unless the causal factors are investigated iIIt and removed.
This powerful aromatic stimulant is also useful In cholera. An infusion made of 3 grams of fresh saussurea, 1 gram of cardamom and 120 ml of water can be administered in 30 gram doses every half an hour in treating this condition. The essential oil in the herb produces reflex inhibition by its stimulating properties. It helps in controlling the disease. It is an irritant and has a strong penetrating and persistent odour and taste. The depressant action of the drug on the brain helps in relieving the spasm.
Saussurea is useful for severe ulcerations. The dried and powdered root is the principal ingredient in any astringent and stimulant ointment.
Premature Greying of Hair
The herb prevents premature greying of hair. The dried and powdered root can be used as hair wash.
Aphrodisiac: In the indigenous medicine in India, saussurea is used as tonic and as an aphrodisiac. During its passage through the urethra the essential oil excreted in the urine produces a certain amount of irritation, acting as a stimulant.
The root forms a very valuable raw material for producing an expensive perfume, closely resembling the violet perfume.