Kutki, botanically described as Picrorhiza Kurroa, is a perennial herbaceous plant that is native to the Himalayan region, especially in Nepal. It has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries due to its medicinal properties. The root of the Kutki plant is primarily used for its health benefits. It is available in various forms, including churnas, powders, polyherbal formulations, and more. While it is important to note that scientific research on Kutki is ongoing, here are some potential health benefits associated with this herb.
Nutritional value of Kutki
Here is the nutritional value of Kutki per 100 g as per the product information provided by B & B Organics: 
1. Promotes liver health
Kutki is often used to support liver health and promote liver function. It may help protect the liver from various toxins and chemicals, with its hepatoprotective effects being among the most studied of all Kutki benefits . Experts believe that these properties make it helpful in managing conditions like hepatitis and liver cirrhosis.
2. Aids digestive system
Kutki churna is often recommended as a treatment for indigestion and constipation because of its purported digestive stimulant properties. Studies show that it can also help in the treatment of gastric ulcers and may help fight some infections .
3. Has anti-inflammatory effects
Kutki exhibits anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce inflammation in the body, which is linked to almost all chronic diseases . It has been traditionally used to alleviate symptoms of inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and asthma.
4. Shows high antioxidant activity
Like most Ayurvedic herbs, Kutki contains potent antioxidants that can help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body . Antioxidants play a crucial role in protecting cells from oxidative stress and preventing damage caused by free radicals, thereby reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
5. Boosts immune system
Kutki is believed to possess immunomodulatory properties, meaning it may help regulate and strengthen the immune system . It can potentially enhance the body’s natural defense mechanisms, making it useful in preventing and managing certain infections.
6. Promotes respiratory health
This herb has been traditionally used to support respiratory health. It may help alleviate symptoms of respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, and allergies by reducing inflammation and improving lung function.
7. Has antimicrobial activity
Kutki has shown antimicrobial properties against certain bacteria and fungi . It may help inhibit the growth of harmful microorganisms and potentially aid in the treatment of infections.
8. Skin health
Some traditional uses of Kutki include treating skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis, and vitiligo. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may contribute to these beneficial effects. This is why Kutki powder and extracts are commonly used in many Ayurvedic skin care products.
Properties of Kutki
Picrorhiza kurroa as per Ayurveda has these properties:
|Virya / Potency
|Sheeta / Cold
|Vipak / Metabolic property
|Katu / Pungent
|Guna / Physical Property
|Laghu / Light, Ruksha / Dry
|Rasa / Taste
|Tikat / Bitter
Kutki uses 
Kutki has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine and has frequently been recommended as a substitute for Indian gentian or Karu. In Ayurvedic medicine, Kutki is often prescribed in the form of churna (powder) or as a decoction.
To illustrate a few biological effects and clinical indications attributed to Kutki and relevant to this review are Lekhaneeya (adipolysis), Bhedaneeya (piercing through and expelling of waste metabolites), Aruchihara (improving appetite), Deepaniya (facilitate appetite), Rechani (laxative action), Yakrutdalyodar-nashak (alleviating liver enlargement), Shotha-nashak (anti-inflammatory), Kamala-nashak (alleviating jaundice), Jalodarnashan (useful in ascites), Pramehaghna (useful in pre-diabetic and diabetic states), and Hrudya (favourable for the heart).
Kutki dosage 
Typical dosages of Kutki churna or decoction range from 300mg to 500mg, taken two to three times a day. For laxative purpose the dose used is 2 gms to 4 gms as a single dose.
However, it is important to note that these dosages may vary based on individual requirements and the formulation being used. The recommended use and dosage of Kutki can vary depending on factors such as the individual’s unique Dosha balance, gender, age, overall health, and the specific condition being addressed. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional or an Ayurvedic practitioner for personalized advice. They will consider your specific needs and provide appropriate guidance.
Kutki side effects
Despite the many Kutki benefits, there are some precautions that anyone should follow when introducing a new herb or supplement. So far, no research or evidence shows adverse effects and it is regarded as safe for traditional use in the recommended dosage. However, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Kutki may have a bitter taste, which could be unpleasant for some individuals. It is recommended to take it with honey or after meals to minimize the bitter taste.
- Due to inadequate research on its usage when coupled with other drugs, individuals with existing medical conditions or those taking medications should exercise caution when using Kutki. It is best to consult an Ayurvedic doctor before incorporating it into your regimen.
Precautions you must take before consuming Kutki:
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid the use of Kutki due to limited safety data in these populations. Additionally, individuals with known allergies to plants in the Scrophulariaceae family, which includes Kutki, should avoid its use.
- You must consult a doctor before giving Kutki to children or older people.
- You must consult a doctor before consuming Kutki with any other Ayurvedic drugs.
1. Can I take Kutki powder on an empty stomach?
Yes, Kutki can be consumed on an empty stomach and this may even be recommended in some circumstances. However, dosage and usage guidelines may vary depending on your specific requirements.
2. Does Kutki help in weight loss?
Kutki does not directly promote weight loss but it could offer indirect benefits as it stimulates digestion and the production of enzymes that can boost metabolism. For sustainable weight loss, any treatment must also include diet and exercise
3. Can Kutki be combined with Amla or Ashwagandha?
The herbs can be consumed together and are often included in polyherbal formulations, but it is best to only use them in recommended proportions. So, it would be best to speak to your doctor for guidance or use a product that contains these ingredients.
While Kutki has many potential uses, there is a need for more research to confirm many of its health benefits. However, ongoing studies are encouraging and the importance of Kutki will only grow in years to come.
The information provided here is for general information and is not meant to substitute any medical advice. Please consult your doctor for appropriate medical consultation.
- B&B Organics, Little Millet (Kutki/Samai/Same/Samulu) Product Page
- A study of standardized extracts of Picrorhiza Kurroa
- Healing Potential of Picrorhiza kurroa
- Picrorhiza kurroa, Royle ex Benth:Traditional uses, phytopharmacology, and translational potential in therapy of fatty liver disease.
- Anti-inflammatory Effect of Picrorhiza kurroa
- Evaluation of Antioxidant Activity of Picrorhiza kurroa (Leaves) Extracts
- Protective effects of Picrorhiza kurroa
- Phytochemical screening and antimicrobial activity of Picrorrhiza kurroa, an Indian traditional plant used to treat chronic diarrhea