Chardon de Lait Indien, Hu Huang Lian, Katki, Katuka, Katuko, Katurohini, Katvi, Kuru, Kutki, Neopicrorhiza scrophulariiflora, Picrorhiza kurroia, Picrorhiza scrophulariiflora, Picrorhiza Urrooa, Picroriza, Xi Zang Hu Huang Lian.


Overview Information

Picrorhiza is a plant that grows in the Himalayan mountains. People, especially practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine, use the root and rhizome (underground stem) for treatment. Picrorhiza has been harvested to near extinction.

Picrorhiza is used for liver problems, fever, allergy, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How does it work?

More information is needed to know how picrorhiza might work. Picrorhiza contains chemicals that might stimulate the immune system, kill cancer cells, and relieve inflammation (swelling).


Uses & Effectiveness?

Possibly Effective for

  • A skin disorder that causes white patches to develop on the skin (vitiligo). Taking picrorhiza by mouth for up to one year, in combination with a drug called methoxsalen that is taken by mouth and applied to the skin, seems to help treat vitiligo in adults and children.

Possibly Ineffective for

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Swelling (inflammation) of the liver (hepatitis). Early research suggests that taking picrorhiza by mouth for 2 weeks might relieve symptoms such as anorexia, nausea, and feelings of general discomfort in people with acute viral hepatitis.
  • A lung disease that makes it harder to breathe (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD).
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of picrorhiza for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Picrorhiza is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth for up to one year. It may cause vomiting, rash, anorexia, diarrhea, and itching in some people.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if picrorhiza is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

"Auto-immune diseases" such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Picrorhiza might cause the immune system to become more active. This could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it's best to avoid using picrorhiza.

Diabetes: Picrorhiza might lower blood sugar levels in some people. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use picrorhiza.

Surgery: Picrorhiza might lower blood sugar in some people. In theory, picrorhiza might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgical procedures. Stop using picrorhiza at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.



Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

  • Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants) interacts with PICRORHIZA

    Picrorhiza might increase the immune system. Taking picrorhiza along with medications that decrease the immune system might decrease the effectiveness of these medications.
    Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.



The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For a skin disorder that causes white patches to develop on the skin (vitiligo): 200 mg of picrorhiza rhizome powder twice a day, in combination with a medication called methoxsalen that is taken by mouth and applied to the affected skin.

View References


  • Jagetia, G. C. and Baliga, M. S. The evaluation of nitric oxide scavenging activity of certain Indian medicinal plants in vitro: a preliminary study. J Med Food 2004;7(3):343-348. View abstract.
  • Joy, K. L. and Kuttan, R. Anti-diabetic activity of Picrorrhiza kurroa extract. J Ethnopharmacol 11-1-1999;67(2):143-148. View abstract.
  • Mehrotra, R., Rawat, S., Kulshreshtha, D. K., Patnaik, G. K., and Dhawan, B. N. In vitro studies on the effect of certain natural products against hepatitis B virus. Indian J Med Res 1990;92:133-138. View abstract.
  • Senthil Kumar, S. H., Anandan, R., Devaki, T., and Santhosh, Kumar M. Cardioprotective effects of Picrorrhiza kurroa against isoproterenol-induced myocardial stress in rats. Fitoterapia 2001;72(4):402-405. View abstract.
  • Singh, A. K., Sharma, A., Warren, J., Madhavan, S., Steele, K., Rajeshkumar, N. V., Thangapazham, R. L., Sharma, S. C., Kulshreshtha, D. K., Gaddipati, J., and Maheshwari, R. K. Picroliv Accelerates Epithelialization and Angiogenesis in Rat Wounds. Planta Med 2-22-2007; View abstract.
  • 't Hart BA, Simons JM, Knaan-Shanzer S, et al. Antiarthritic activity of the newly developed neutrophil oxidative burst antagonist apocynin. Free Radic Biol Med 1990;9:127-31. View abstract.
  • Ansari RA, Tripathi SC, Patnaik GK, Dhawan BN. Antihepatotoxic properties of picroliv: an active fraction from rhizomes of Picrorhiza kurrooa. J Ethnopharmacol 1991;34:61-8. View abstract.
  • Baruah CC, Gupta PP, Nath A, et al. Anti-allergic and anti-anaphylactic activity of picroliv--a standardised iridoid glycoside fraction of Picrorhiza kurroa. Pharmacol Res 1998;38:487-92. View abstract.
  • Bedi KL, Zutshi U, Chopra CL, Amla V. Picrorhiza kurroa, an ayurvedic herb, may potentiate photochemotherapy in vitiligo. J Ethnopharmacol 1989;27:347-52.
  • Brockwell C, Ampikaipakan S, Sexton DW, Price D, Freeman D, Thomas M, Ali M, Wilson AM. Adjunctive treatment with oral AKL1, a botanical nutraceutical, in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis 2014;9:715-21. View abstract.
  • Chander R, Kapoor NK, Dhawan BN. Picroliv, picroside-I and kutkoside from Picrorhiza kurrooa are scavengers of superoxide anions. Biochem Pharmacol 1992;44:180-3. View abstract.
  • Chander R, Singh K, Visen PK, et al. Picroliv prevents oxidation in serum lipoprotein lipids of Mastomys coucha infected with Plasmodium berghei. Indian J Exp Biol 1998;36:371-4. View abstract.
  • Dorsch W, Stuppner H, Wagner H, et al. Antiasthmatic effects of Picrorhiza kurroa: androsin prevents allergen- and PAF-induced bronchial obstruction in guinea pigs. Int Arch Allergy Appl Immunol 1991;95:128-33. View abstract.
  • Doshi VB, Shetye VM, Mahashur AA, Kamat SR. Picrorrhiza kurroa in bronchial asthma. J Postgrad Med 1983;29:89-95. View abstract.
  • Dwivedi Y, Rastogi R, Garg NK, Dhawan BN. Effects of picroliv, the active principle of Picrorhiza kurroa, on biochemical changes in rat liver poisoned by Amanita phalloides. Zhongguo Yao Li Xue Bao 1992;13:197-200. View abstract.
  • Jia Q, Hong MF, Minter D. Pikuroside: a novel iridoid from Picrorhiza kurroa. J Nat Prod 1999;62:901-3. View abstract.
  • Mittal N, Gupta N, Saksena S, et al. Protective effect of Picroliv from Picrorhiza kurroa against Leishmania donovani infections in Mesocricetus auratus. Life Sci 1998;63:1823-34. View abstract.
  • Rajeshkumar NV, Kuttan R. Inhibition of N-nitrosodiethylamine-induced hepatocarcinogenesis by Picroliv. J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2000;19:459-65. View abstract.
  • Rajeshkumar NV, Kuttan R. Protective effect of Picroliv, the active constituent of Picrorhiza kurroa, against chemical carcinogenesis in mice. Teratog Carcinog Mutagen 2001;21:303-13. View abstract.
  • Rastogi R, Srivastava AK, Rastogi AK. Long term effect of aflatoxin B(1) on lipid peroxidation in rat liver and kidney: effect of picroliv and silymarin. Phytother Res 2001;15:307-10. View abstract.
  • Saraswat B, Visen PK, Patnaik GK, Dhawan BN. Ex vivo and in vivo investigations of picroliv from Picrorhiza kurroa in an alcohol intoxication model in rats. J Ethnopharmacol 1999;66:263-9. View abstract.
  • Sharma ML, Rao CS, Duda PL. Immunostimulatory activity of Picrorhiza kurroa leaf extract. J Ethnopharmacol 1994;41:185-92. View abstract.
  • Vaidya AB, Antarkar DS, Doshi JC, et al. Picrorhiza kurroa (Kutaki) Royle ex Benth as a hepatoprotective agent--experimental & clinical studies. J Postgrad Med 1996;42:105-8. View abstract.
  • Van den Worm E, Beukelman CJ, Van den Berg AJ, et al. Effects of methoxylation of apocynin and analogs on the inhibition of reactive oxygen species production by stimulated human neutrophils. Eur J Pharmacol 2001;433:225-30. View abstract.

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