Picrorhiza-Synonyms Indian Gentian; Katki.

2.10.1 Picrorhiza

Synonyms Indian Gentian; Katki.
Biological Source It is the dried rhizome of Picrorhiza kurroa Royle ex Benth., belonging to family Serophulariaceae.
Geographical Sources It is a perennial herb grown abundantly and distributed on the Alpine Himalayas extended from Kashmir to Sikkim at an altitude between 3000 to 5000 meters. It is also found in China.
Preparation The plant is either propogated by seeds or by rhizomes. The rhizomes are collected from the cultivated and naturally growing plants washed dried and packed.
Colour : Externally—Dark Greyish brown
Internally—White blackish
Odour : Slight and unpleasant
Taste : Bitter
Size : Length = 3-5 cm; Diameter = 0.5-1 cm
Shape : Mostly cylindrical small fragments having longitudinal wrinkled and annulations
at the tip.
Special Features : The stems and conical buds along with the drugs usually form a part of the drug itself. The roots are invaribaly wrinkled in the longitudinal fashion having transverse cracks. They are greyish to brown in appearance, while the fracture is tough.
Chemical Constituents The therapeutically potent constituents of the drug essentially comprises of three vital bitter glycosides, namely: Picroside I, Picroside II and Kutkoside as given below:

In fact, chemically both Picroside and Kutkoside are C-9 monoterpene iridoid glycosides having an epoxy moiety present in the cyclopentane ring. Besides, it also contains organic acids, resin, sugar and tannins.
1. It is mostly employed as a vital bitter tonic
2. It is also used as a stomachic and febrifuge.
3. In large doses it exerts its action as a laxative
4. It also finds its usefulness in the treatment of jaundice.
5. Its alcohlic extract exhibits remarkable antibacterial effect.

Source:Pharmacognosy And Pharmacobiotechnology By Ashutosh Kar

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