As an Ayurvedic herbalist, if someone comes to me with a liver issue, the first thing I think of is Kutki (aka Katuka). Kutki not only detoxifies the liver and blood, it simultaneously strengthens this vital organ while enhancing cellular growth and tissue regeneration. It is useful in serious conditions such as Hepatitis C and cirrhosis of the liver; but can also be utilized in the more common issues of sluggishness, toxic build-up, excessive heat, and inflammation.
This eastern root possesses the powerful taste of bitter, which is said to be cooling, cleansing, and anti-bacterial by nature. This makes Kutki a great option as an herbal antibiotic, Pitta pacifier, anti-inflammatory agent, detoxifier, and antimicrobial powerhouse. Kutki can also be used as a main herbal component to any weight-loss program as this bitter agent is great for increasing the digestive fire, promoting healthy elimination, and boosting the metabolism.
Due to the intense bitterness and powerful healing properties of Kutki, it has been used in many traditional Ayurvedic formulations such as Tikta Ghrita (Bitter Ghee), Pancha Tikta Ghrita, Arogyavardhini Gutika, Punarnavadi Kvatha, Triphala Ghrita and Maha Yogaraj Guggulu to name a few. Some herbalists use Kutki as a replacement for its Western counterpart, Gentian, which is translated as “the King of the Bitters” (although I personally prefer Kutki any day).
***Sadly, due to the over-harvesting and unsustainable farming practices, Kutki is on the CITES list as an endangered herb. Therefore, it is essential to only purchase Kutki through a trusted source and to use this herb sparingly.
Health Benefits of Kutki
- Detoxifies the liver, blood, and GI tract
- Strengthens the liver
- Useful in liver, spleen, and gallbladder issues
- Relieves allergies and asthma
- Reduces inflammation
- Pacifies Pitta and Kapha conditions
- Benefits arthritic conditions
- Increases the digestive fire (Agni)
- Boosts the metabolism
- Useful in weight-loss therapy
- Boosts immunity
- Herbal antibiotic
- Treats fever
- Treats respiratory issues
- Clears the complexion
- Benefits skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis
- Treats UTI
- Clears congestion in the breast tissue
- Balances blood sugar
- Balances hormones
- Treats both diarrhea and constipation
- Reduces hyperacidity and nausea
How to Use Kutki
1. For Liver Health:
Take 1/2 tsp Kutki with 1 Tbsp Aloe Vera and 1 tsp honey. Take 3 times daily with meals.
For Elevated Blood Sugar:
Take 1/2 tsp. Kutki with 1/2 tsp. Turmeric. Mix in 1/4 cup of warm water and take before each meal.
3. For Clear Skin:
Take 1 tsp Tikta Ghrita melted in 1/2 cup hot water. Take first thing each morning on an empty stomach. If available, add 1/4 tsp Kutki and 1/4 tsp Turmeric for added benefit.
4. For Parasites:
Take 1/2 tsp Kutki with 1/2 tsp Vidanga mixed in 1 tsp. of honey. Take 2 times daily before meals.
5. For Asthma and Allergies:
6. For Arthritis:
Take 1/4 tsp Kutki, 1/2 tsp Ginger and 1 tsp of Castor Oil. Mix together with warm water and take before bed each night.