Aplotaxis lappa, Auckland Costus, Aucklandia costus, Aucklandia Lappa, Costus Oil, Costus Root, Huile de Costus, Kushtha, Kuth, Mokko, Mokkou, Mu Xiang, Racine de Costus, Radix Aucklandiae, Saussurea costus, Saussurea lappa, Saussureae Radix, Yun Mu Xiang.


Overview Information

Costus is an herb. The root and oil from the root are used to make medicine.

People use costus for many conditions, but there is no scientific evidence to support these uses. Using costus can also be unsafe unless lab tests prove that it is free of a toxic contaminant called aristolochic acid.

In foods and beverages, costus oil is used as a flavoring component.

In manufacturing, costus oil is used as a fixative and fragrance in cosmetics.

How does it work?

Costus root contains chemicals that seem to kill worms (nematodes) and slow down the intestines.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of costus for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Costus oil is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in amounts found in foods. Costus root is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth as a medicine, appropriately. However, costus often contains a contaminant called aristolochic acid. Aristolochic acid damages the kidneys and causes cancer. Costus products that contain aristolochic acid are UNSAFE. Don't use any costus preparation unless lab tests prove it is free of aristolochic acid. Under law, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can confiscate any plant product that it believes contains aristolochic acid. The product won't be released until the maker proves it is aristolochic acid-free.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if costus is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

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

Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Costus may cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking costus.



We currently have no information for COSTUS Interactions.



The appropriate dose of costus depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for costus. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References


  • Benezra, C. and Epstein, W. L. Molecular recognition patterns of sesquiterpene lactones in costus-sensitive patients. Contact Dermatitis 1986;15(4):223-230. View abstract.
  • Biswas, N. R., Biswas, K., Pandey, M., and Pandey, R. M. Treatment of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and non-specific arthritis with a herbal drug: A double-blind, active drug controlled parallel study. JK Pract 1998;5:129-132.
  • Cheminat, A., Stampf, J. L., Benezra, C., Farrall, M. J., and Frechet, J. M. Allergic contact dermatitis to costus: removal of haptens with polymers. Acta Derm.Venereol. 1981;61(6):525-529. View abstract.
  • Chen, S. F., Li, Y. Q., and He, F. Y. [Effect of Saussurea lappa on gastric functions]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 1994;14(7):406-408. View abstract.
  • Cho, J. Y., Baik, K. U., Jung, J. H., and Park, M. H. In vitro anti-inflammatory effects of cynaropicrin, a sesquiterpene lactone, from Saussurea lappa. Eur.J Pharmacol. 6-23-2000;398(3):399-407. View abstract.
  • Damre, A. A., Damre, A. S., and Saraf, M. N. Evaluation of sesquiterpene lactone fraction of Saussurea lappa on transudative, exudative and proliferative phases of inflammation. Phytother.Res 2003;17(7):722-725. View abstract.
  • Gilani, A. H., Shah, A. J., and Yaeesh, S. Presence of cholinergic and calcium antagonist constituents in Saussurea lappa explains its use in constipation and spasm. Phytother.Res 2007;21(6):541-544. View abstract.
  • Jin, M., Lee, H. J., Ryu, J. H., and Chung, K. S. Inhibition of LPS-induced NO production and NF-kappaB activation by a sesquiterpene from Saussurea lappa. Arch.Pharm.Res 2000;23(1):54-58. View abstract.
  • Jung, J. H., Kim, Y., Lee, C. O., Kang, S. S., Park, J. H., and Im, K. S. Cytotoxic constituents of Saussurea lappa. Arch.Pharm.Res 1998;21(2):153-156. View abstract.
  • Lee, H. J., Kim, N. Y., Jang, M. K., Son, H. J., Kim, K. M., Sohn, D. H., Lee, S. H., and Ryu, J. H. A sesquiterpene, dehydrocostus lactone, inhibits the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase and TNF-alpha in LPS-activated macrophages. Planta Med 1999;65(2):104-108. View abstract.
  • Lirussi, D., Li, J., Prieto, J. M., Gennari, M., Buschiazzo, H., Rios, J. L., and Zaidenberg, A. Inhibition of Trypanosoma cruzi by plant extracts used in Chinese medicine. Fitoterapia 2004;75(7-8):718-723. View abstract.
  • Long, L., Soeken, K., and Ernst, E. Herbal medicines for the treatment of osteoarthritis: a systematic review. Rheumatology.(Oxford) 2001;40(7):779-793. View abstract.
  • Marzulli, F. N. and Maibach, H. I. Effects of vehicles and elicitation concentration in contact dermatitis testing. I. Experimental contact sensitization in humans. Contact Dermatitis 1976;2(6):325-329. View abstract.
  • Matsuda, H., Toguchida, I., Ninomiya, K., Kageura, T., Morikawa, T., and Yoshikawa, M. Effects of sesquiterpenes and amino acid-sesquiterpene conjugates from the roots of Saussurea lappa on inducible nitric oxide synthase and heat shock protein in lipopolysaccharide-activated macrophages. Bioorg.Med Chem. 3-6-2003;11(5):709-715. View abstract.
  • Mitchell, J. C. and Epstein, W. L. Contact hypersensitivity to a perfume material, Costus Absolute. The role of sesquiterpene lactones. Arch.Dermatol 1974;110(6):871-873. View abstract.
  • Mitchell, J. C. Contact hypersensitivity to some perfume materials. Contact Dermatitis 1975;1(4):196-199. View abstract.
  • Pandey, M. M., Rastogi, S., and Rawat, A. K. Saussurea costus: botanical, chemical and pharmacological review of an ayurvedic medicinal plant. J Ethnopharmacol. 4-4-2007;110(3):379-390. View abstract.
  • RAGHAVAN, P., NAGENDRA, A. S., and DUTTA, N. K. Total alkaloids of Saussurea lappa in treatment of bronchial asthma. An assessment of its therapeutic value by clinical and ventilatory function studies. J Postgrad.Med 1962;8:158-169. View abstract.
  • Rhee, J. K., Baek, B. K., and Ahn, B. Z. Alternations of Clonorchis sinensis EPG by administration of herbs in rabbits. Am J Chin Med 1985;13(1-4):65-69. View abstract.
  • Rhee, J. K., Baek, B. K., and Ahn, B. Z. Structural investigation on the effects of the herbs on Clonorchis sinensis in rabbits. Am J Chin Med 1985;13(1-4):119-125. View abstract.
  • Riazuddin, S., Malik, M. M., and Nasim, A. Mutagenicity testing of some medicinal herbs. Environ.Mol.Mutagen. 1987;10(2):141-148. View abstract.
  • Taniguchi, M., Kataoka, T., Suzuki, H., Uramoto, M., Ando, M., Arao, K., Magae, J., Nishimura, T., Otake, N., and Nagai, K. Costunolide and dehydrocostus lactone as inhibitors of killing function of cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Biosci.Biotechnol.Biochem. 1995;59(11):2064-2067. View abstract.
  • Wang, H. B., Zuo, J. P., and Qin, G. W. One new sesquiterpene from Saussurea laniceps. Fitoterapia 2010;81(7):937-939. View abstract.
  • Yaeesh, S., Jamal, Q., Shah, A. J., and Gilani, A. H. Antihepatotoxic activity of Saussurea lappa extract on D-galactosamine and lipopolysaccharide-induced hepatitis in mice. Phytother.Res 2010;24 Suppl 2:S229-S232. View abstract.
  • Zhao, F., Xu, H., He, E. Q., Jiang, Y. T., and Liu, K. Inhibitory effects of sesquiterpenes from Saussurea lappa on the overproduction of nitric oxide and TNF-alpha release in LPS-activated macrophages. J Asian Nat.Prod.Res 2008;10(11-12):1045-1053. View abstract.
  • Akhtar MS, Riffat S. Field trial of Saussurea lappa roots against nematodes and Nigella sativa seeds against cestodes in children. J Pak Med Assoc 1991;41:185-7. View abstract.
  • Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at:
  • Lewis CJ, Alpert S. Letter to health care professionals -- FDA concerned about botanical products, including dietary supplements, containing aristolochic acid. Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling, Dietary Supplements. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. May 31, 2000.
  • Zahara K, Tabassum S, Sabir S, et al. A review of therapeutic potential of Saussurea lappa-An endangered plant from Himalaya. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2014;7S1:S60-9. View abstract.

Vitamins Survey

Have you ever purchased COSTUS?

Did you or will you purchase this product in-store or online?

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

What factors influenced or will influence your purchase? (check all that apply)

Vitamins Survey

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

Do you buy vitamins online or instore?

What factors are most important to you? (check all that apply)

This survey is being conducted by the WebMD marketing sciences department.Read More

More Resources for COSTUS

CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty .