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Kutaja belongs to Apocynaceae family and is botanically known as Holarrhena antidysenterica. Charaka has described multiple uses of the plant. The plant is indigenous to India and found all over the country in deciduous forests up to 900 meters. It is a small tree, 9-12 meters in height and the bark pale, grayish in color. The leaves are 9-18 cm long and 4-8 cm broad, broadly ovate to elliptic. Flowers in terminal corymbs cymes, white, slightly fragrant.

Listing Details

Botanical Names
Holarrhena antidysenterica
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Kutaja, Vatsaka Hindi : Kura, Kora, Kureya, Kurchi Gujarati : Indrajav, Kado Marathi : Pandhra Kuda Bengali : Kudachi Kannada : Kodsinge, Kodmurak, Tamil : Kutasappalai Malayalam : Kudagappala Telugu : Kodisapala-vittulu
Chemical Constituents
Kutaja belongs to Apocynaceae family and is botanically known as Holarrhena antidysenterica. O-free alkaloids (conessine, conimine), conkurchine group alkaloids (including conessidine) and O-containing alkaloids (holarrhenine, holafrine, holarrhetine) present in bark whereas leaves contain O-containing alkaloids (kurchiphyllamine and kurchiphylline).Two new aminoglycosteroids – holantosines A and B isolated from leaves. Three new amino deoxyglycosteroids – holarosine B and holantosines E and F isolated from leaves.Two new alkaloids – holacine and holacimine isolated from bark and a new alkaloid holarricine-isolated from seeds. Phytochemical studies demonstrated flavonoids and phenols as major active constituents (1). Kutaja is pungent, bitter and astringent in taste. It possesses light and dry attributes. The seeds are bitter and pungent in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and hot in potency.
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs hence it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
Holarrhena antidysenterica known as Kurchi in India possess various beneficial properties. Seeds of Kurchi possess very good antibacterial property. The alkaloids from the ethanolic extract of H. antidysenterica seeds were evaluated for their antibacterial activity against clinical isolates of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli in vitro, and their antidiarrhoeal activity on castor oil-induced diarrhoea in rats, in vivo. Taking into account the multiple antibiotic resistance of EPEC, the results suggest usefulness of alkaloids of H. antidysenterica seeds as antibacterial and antidiarrhoeal agents (2, 3). Many herbs have been shown to have antidiabetic action in both human and animals. In Indian traditional medicine, the Holarrhena antidysenterica plant has been considered a popular remedy for the treatment of dysentery, diarrhea, intestinal worms and the seeds of this plant is also used as an antidiabetic drug in Asian countries. There is a scientific report about the effect of this plant on the level of blood sugar regulation in experimental diabetic rabbit. Results of the pilot experiments performed with Kurchi were highly encouraging and revealed the promising antihyperglycemic property of seed extract of H. antidysenterica in STZ-induced diabetic rats. Anti-methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus activity of ethanolic extracts of Holarrhena antidysenterica (bark), were also detected (4).
Health Benefits
Many scientists have mentioned the uses of Kurchi plant, by the various Indian tribals in cases of number of ailments like anemia, epilepsy, stomach pain and cholera. In Ayurveda, kutaja is used as antihelminthic, for diarrhea and skin diseases. The seeds and the skin of the bark are used for medicinal purpose. Kutaja plant is used both internally as well as externally. Externally, to promote healing, the wounds are cleansed with the decoction of its skin. The paste of the skin is also applied on the boils. Orally kutaja is effectively used in various maladies. It works well in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery, associated with bleeding as well (5, 6). Kutaja is also helpful to augment the digestion and appetite. Kutaja is of special benefit in treating bleeding piles. Because of its styptic property, it helps arresting the bleeding piles. It is one of the most commonly used herbs in fever associated with diarrhea. It works well as an antipyretic. Kutaja is beneficial also in skin diseases, especially of oozing type.
Research References
1. Jolly C. I. and Nishar R. M. Comparative Pharmacognostical, Physicochemical and Antibacterial Studies on Seeds of Holarrhena antidysentrica wall and Wrightia tintoria R. Br. Indian Journal of Pharmacology. Sci., 1996, 58(2):51-54 2. Kavitha D. and Niranjali S. Inhibition of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli adhesion on host epithelial cells by Holarrhena antidysenterica (L.) WALL. Phytotherapy Research 2009 23(9):1229–1236 3. Ballak M., Srujan D., Bhat K. K., Shirwaikar A. and Shivananda P. G. Antibacterial Activity of Holarrhena antidysenterica (Kurchi) Against the Enteric Pathogens. Indian Journal of Pharmacology 2001, 33:392-393 4. Ali K. M., Chatterjee K., De D., Bera T. K. and Ghosh D. Efficacy of aqueous extract of seed of Holarrhena antidysenterica for the management of diabetes in experimental model rat: A correlative study with antihyperlipidemic activity International Journal of Applied Research in Natural Products 2009, 2(3):13-21 5. Kavitha D., Shilpa P. N. and Devaraj S. N. Antibacterial and antidiarrhoeal effects of alkaloids of Holarrhena antidysenterica WALL. Indian J Exp Biol. 2004 42(6):589-594. 6. Iqbal A., Zafar M. and Faiz M. Screening of some Indian medicinal plants for their antimicrobial properties Journal of Ethnopharmacolog Volume 62, Issue 2, September 1998, Pages 183–193 7. Anwarul H. G., Aslam K., Arif-ullah K., Samra B., Najeeb-ur-R. and Saf-ur-Rehman M. Pharmacological basis for the medicinal use of Holarrhena antidysenterica in gut motility disorders, 2010, 48(11):1240-1246 8. Kazi M. A., Kausik C., Debasis D., Kishalay J., Tushar K. B. and Debidas G. Inhibitory effect of hydro-methanolic extract of seed of Holarrhena antidysenterica on alpha-glucosidase activity and postprandial blood glucose level in normoglycemic rat Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2011, 135(1):194–196 9. Iqbal A. and Arina Z. B. Antimicrobial and phytochemical studies on 45 Indian medicinal plants against multi-drug resistant human pathogens Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2001, 74(2):113–123