Medicinal plants have had their cultivation and consumption history dating back to the Vedic period when pastoral and country life was predominantly a way of life. Before the existence of modern drugs, by and large, inhabitants were extremely reliant on conventional medicines when plant species were their saviour for major health anomalies. When it comes to the discovery of influential drugs, the 17th century has been a game changer in bringing about discoveries in the herbal domain which is why it is also referred to as the age of herbal medicines. India’s Himalayan region, home to more than 7000 bountiful plant species has one mighty herb abundantly available known as Saussurea costus, kuth, or just costus. An imperative herb endemic to the Himalayas, the large genus of this plant covers 400 species belonging to the flowering family Asteraceae. Primitive to South Asia and China, it is believed that mystics consumed this plant raw, owing to its powerful properties. Costus is the root of this plant used for medicinal or homeopathic purposes. The root also goes by the Latin name Radix Aucklandiae. Kuth is considered very beneficial to improving digestion by preventing the growth of bacteria in the large intestine due to its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties besides laden with anti-inflammatory benefits. It also helps manage cholesterol levels by lowering the levels of total cholesterol in the body due to its high antioxidant property. Essential oils extracted from the root have been used in traditional medicines and perfumes for ages. The plant is used to treat diseases like asthma, cough, dysentery, and cholera.
Kuth Benefits

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How to Identify Kuth Plant?

Kuth is a robust erect, perennial plant with large leaves and firm roots. and stout. They can usually grow up to 60 cm in length. The flowering season of this plant spans in summers from June to August while the seeds ripen in September.

Kuth is cultivated as a medicinal plant in the mountainous regions of India primarily in Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh Western Ghats, and Kishenganga Valley at elevations of 2,500 to 3,000 meters. The plant prefers to grow in the temperate and sub-alpine regions. Considered to be a divine plant, Kuth is found abundantly in the higher altitudes of the Himalayas. Besides India, it is also found in the mountains of China, Korea, and Japan. Cultivation of this herb is primarily done for the roots, and it thrives on moist soils even though it can also be grown in a wide variety of soils including clay soils that are acid, neutral, or basic.

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Synonyms Of Kuth

Kuth is known by different names in different parts of the world. Kuth derives its name from Sanskrit which originally means Kushta or skin disease. It is also mentioned in the Ayurvedic scriptures of Charaka Samhita in Ayurveda. Some of its common English names are Saussurea lappa, Saussurea costus, Dolomiaea costus and Indian costus. In India, it goes by the following common names in regional languages:

English: Indian Costus

Hindi: Kuth, Koth, Kur, Pachak

Sanskrit: Kushth, Vapya, Utapal, Kashmir, Agadha, Bhassur, Kashmirja.

Punjabi: Kushth, Koth

Telugu: Changaluva

Malayalam: Sepuddy

Kannada: Kostha

Kashmiri: Postkhai

Gujarati: Kur

Tamil: Koshtam

Bengali: Kood

Chemical Constituents Of Kuth

Kuth contains a liquid called Kushtin, Valerie acid, and manganese. It also has volatile oil, Saussure, resins, potassium, nitrate, sugar, and tannin present in it. It contains terpenes and aplotaxenne. Besides, significant amounts of sesquiterpenes are also abundantly found in this powerful plant.

Ayurvedic Applications Of Kuth

  • Shukrala: Increases sperm count
  • Vatasrahara: Useful in the treatment of gout
  • Kasahara: Relieves severe cough and cold
  • Kushtahara: Treats chronic skin ailments
  • Shwasahara: Useful in asthma and other respiratory diseases
  • Hikkahara: Relieves constant hiccups
  • Jwarahara: Comabts high fever 

Medicinal Properties Of Kuth

Considered to be an extremely powerful and wellness benefits-laden plant, Kuth has the following properties:

  • Laxative
  • Diuretic
  • Stimulant and Alternative
  • Anti-convulsant
  • Anti-hysterical
  • Digestant
  • Carminative
  • Appetizer
  • Analgesic
  • Uterine stimulant
  • Emmenagogue
  • Lactagogue

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Ayurvedic Properties

Besides Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties Kuth has the following qualities that offer myriad wellness benefits:

Rasa (taste): Tikta (bitter), Katu (pungent), Madhur (sweet)

Guna (qualities): Laghu (lightness), Rooksha (dryness), Teekshna (piercing, reaches deep tissues)

Virya: Ushna – Hot potency

Health Benefits Of Kuth

Traditional Benefits

  • It is used to cure all kinds of respiratory problems owing to its hypotensive, vasa-dilator, and broncho-dilator effect
  • It is believed that Kuth has a significant effect on cardiac anomalies and tones up the heart as well as has the potency to control the cardiac rhythmic
  • For chronic headaches, a paste made up of kuth and castor seed root can be applied to the head
  • For pains related to rheumatoid arthritis and joints, the oil from its extracts can be topically applied locally to the joints
  • Kuth is considered a stimulant and is useful in diseases caused by spasms and convulsions
  • Kuth is used to cure halitosis (bad odour from the mouth) as well as body odour
  • It helps manage stomach spasms due to its spasmolytic activity
  • The plant has a diuretic property that eliminates excess water from the body curing many kidney problems

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Healing Health Benefits

Cures Indigestion

Due to its antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anthelmintic properties, Kuth suppresses the activity of parasites in the body thus preventing the growth of bacteria that can be present in the large intestine. It also provides relief from indigestion which is caused by aggravated Pitta that weakens the digestive fire. Kuth root powder consumption helps improve digestive fire and easy digestion.

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Fights flatulence

Flatulence is caused due to an imbalance of Vata and Pitta dosha. Low Pitta dosha and aggravated Vata dosha results in impaired digestion and flatulence. Taking Kuth extracts improve the digestive fire and corrects flatulence because of its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties.

Treats Asthmatic Anomalies

According to Ayurveda, the main doshas involved in asthma are Vata combined with deranged ‘Kapha dosha’ in the lungs causing obstruction in the respiratory passage. This results in difficulty in breathing. This condition is known as Swas Roga or asthma. Due to its anti-asthmatic activity, Kuth roots are a potential expectorant and muscle relaxant. Controlling symptoms of asthma, gives relief in case of breathlessness and helps release the congestion of mucus from the lungs, and clears the blockage in the air passages.

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Treats Erectile Dysfunction

Considered to be highly aphrodisiac in its qualities, Kuth imparts impressive results to treat impotency and cure various sexual weakness problems. It is also used to nourish reproductive organs.

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Effect On Doshas

Any kind of imbalance in the tridoshas can affect the body's natural immune system. Kuth has a pungent and bitter taste and a sweet taste that balances both Kapha and Vata doshas. As per ayurvedic sciences, Kuth treats imbalance caused by Vata and Kapha doshas. Due to its ushna or hot potency, it gradually decreases Vata and Kapha from the body.

Recommended Dosage:

Kuth Root Powder: ¼ to ½ tsp twice a day as per doctor’s recommendation

Oil Application: As per requirement it can be applied topically

Side Effects Of Kuth

In certain cases, a high and unmonitored intake of Kuth can cause acidity.  Severe intake can also cause dermatitis and allergic reactions due to its high potency. It can also lead to scathing of the skin and other skin problems such as eczema.


Despite the herb being safe to use in limited quantities, it is recommended that patient with diabetes should consult their doctors before consuming Kuth. Breastfeeding and pregnant women should not consume Kuth before consulting a doctor.


Kuth is a potent medicinal herb chiefly used to cure digestive anomalies. Laden with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, the roots of Kuth are used for many health healing benefits such as contraction of muscles, preventing spasms, lowering the levels of total cholesterol, bad cholesterol (LDL), and triglycerides thus preventing heart attacks. Kuth is also used as an insect repellant due to its antifeedant potential properties. Kuth help manages parasitic infections that might cause certain diseases in human being. It is also used as a herbal tonic and a gastric stimulant to treat gastric ulcers and nematode infections. The oil of this herb when applied externally is used to treat joijoint-relatedoblems.