The 14+ Benefits Of Kutaj & Kwatha (Holarrhena antidysenterica)

Kutaja: A Powerful Herb For Inflammation And Cognition


In this post, we will discuss the Ayurvedic herb, Kutaja, its many benefits, mechanism, and what to watch out for.


  1. Basics Of Kutaja And Known Names
  2. Benefits Of Kutaja 
  3. My Experience
  4. Where To Get Kutaja
  5. Caveats
  6. Plant Composition
  7. Mechanism Of Action

Basics Of Kutaja And Known Names

Kutaja is a medicinal plant abundantly found in India especially in Himalayan ranges. R

There are two forms of Kutaja - male (Wrightia antidysenterica) and female (Holarrhena antidysenterica), but this post will be focusing on the female form. R

I will have a post in the future about the male form. 

Kutaja also goes by Kutaj, Kwatha, Indrajava, Kutaja Prapati Vati, Kurchi, and "white angel". R

In literature, Kutaja usually describes the plant, while Indrajava describes the seeds.

In Ayurveda, Kutaja is used in classical formulations, namely, Kutajarishta, Kutajavleha and Kutajghan vati, Mahamanjishtadi Kashayam, Stanyashodhana Kashaya, and Patoladi Choornam.

It is classically known for curing Pravahika (amebiasis), Atisara (diarrhea), Jwaratisara (secondary diarrhea), Asra (blood or blood-related disorders), Kustha (skin disorder), Trsna (thirst), sukrasodhana (sperm-purifier), ama and asthapanopaga (adjuncts to enema), and stanyasodhana (a lactodepurant). R

Bhunimbadi churna is a group of nine drugs, which has been mentioned in the Brihat Bhaishajya Ratnakar for its use in treating fever, jaundice, anemia, and diabetes.

Benefits Of Kutaja

1. Improves Diabetes


Kutaja has shown beneficial effects for Diabetes. R R R

In animal models, each week of treatment with Kutaja showed a significant decrease in levels of blood glucose, serum cholesterol, triglyceride, aspartate transaminase, alanine transaminase, alkaline transferase, urea, creatinine and uric acid while the weight of the rats increased substantially. R

This benefit may contribute to Kutaja's ability to block the absorption of carbohydrates (inhibits alpha glycosidase) and/or by the high levels of quercetin in Kutaja (which has anti-hyperglycemic and anti-hyperlipidemic activities). R R

Kutaja has also shown reduce glycosylated hemoglobin, making it beneficial for those with Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). R

2. May Help With Common Infections

Kutaja has been reported to help with common cold symptoms such as the sensation of heat in abdomen and head, nausea, flatulence, constipation, agitation, nervousness and insomnia, vertigo, syncope, weakness and emptiness, xerostomia, and lightness of body. R

Kutaja may help with fevers by reducing body temperature. R

Kutaja also has significant anti-malarial, anti-dengue, and anti-filarial effects. R R R

3. Has Anti-Microbial Properties

Kutaja has Anti-Biofilm properties. R

Kutaja has antibiotic properties:

  • Acinetobacter baumannii R
  • Bacillus Cereus R
  • E. Coli (enteroinvasive and enteropathogenic) R R R R
  • Listeria monocytogenes R
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa R R
  • Salmonella enteritidis R
  • Salmonella typhi R
  • Salmonella typhimurium R
  • Shigella R
  • Shigella boydii R
  • Shigella flexneri R
  • Staphylococcus aureus R
  • Vibrio cholerae (01 and 0139) R
  • Yersinia pestis R

Kutaja has anti-parasitic properties:

  • Amebiasis R R
  • Dengue R
  • Filaria R
  • Giardia R
  • Malaria R
  • Plasmodium berghei (and prevents fever) R

4. May Fight Cancer

Kutaja has activity in cancers of:

  • Bone R
  • Breast R
  • Cervical R
  • Colon R
  • CNS R
  • Liver R
  • Lung R
  • Oral R R
  • Prostate R

5. Reduces Pain

body inflammation pain.jpg

Kutaja may be beneficial as an analgesic. R

In animal models, Kutaja has shown to reduce pain. R

6. Improves Gut Function

Kutaja may be beneficial for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) as it can significantly reduce inflammation in the gut. R R

For example, Kutaja has shown to reduce symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis (UC) similarly to Mesalamine. R

Kutaja can reduce intestinal motility and can protect against diarrhea. R R R

This is because Kutaja modulates gut stimulant/relaxant activities via activation of histamine receptors and Ca (++) channel blockade. R

For example, Kutaja can diarrhea from stomach Infections. R R

7. Improves Vitiligo

Kutaja has shown to have beneficial effects on Vitiligo. R

8. Has Antioxidant Properties

Kutaja has strong antioxidant properties. R

Kutaja contains high levels of phenols and can scavenge/reduce damaging Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). R

9. Protects The Kidneys

Kutaja protects the kidneys from inflammation when exposed to Oxalates, such as crystal oxalate stones. R

Kutaja can also reduce haemorrhoids from kidney inflammation. R

Kutaja also has pronounced diuretic effects and may help with amoebiasis. R R

10. May Improve Cognition And Alzheimer's Disease

brain light.jpg

Conessine (alkaloid component found in kutaja) is a potent Histamine (H3) Receptor antagonistR R

H3 antagonists can increase Histamine in the brain (but lower Dopamine) and have Nootropic effects. R

Other alkaloids in Kutaja have shown to inhibit the breakdown of the neurotransmitter, Acetylcholine (ACh), thus Kutaja may be beneficial for cognition in Alzheimer's Disease (AD). R

11. May Help With Anxiety

In animal models, Kutaja can reduce motility and decrease spontaneous locomotive activity, thus indicating a depressing effect on the CNS. R

12. Improves Vascular Function

Kutaja can reduce high blood pressure by inhibiting Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE). R

Kutaja can also improve cholesterol levels (HDL and LDL levels). R

13. May Help Arthritis 

Kutaja has been traditionally used to treat arthritis. R

14. May Protect Against EMFs

Kutaja can reduce DNA damage from Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs), specifically gamma-radiation. R

My Experience

I carry Kutaja with me when traveling in case I get diarrhea. 

Where To Get Kutaja


Kutaja is used in many forms, such as Seed Powder, Bark Powder, and as herbal Dietary SupplementR


As a diuretic, Kutaja can increase excretion of Potassium and SodiumR

Although I haven't seen any studies proving this, I suspect Kutaja may induce low blood sugar in those with hypoglycemia. R

As for safety, the ethanolic extract of Kutaja leaves is safe up to 2000 mg/kg single oral dose in rats. R

It is reported that the ethanolic extract is safe up to 3000 mg/kg BW. R

HA seed ethanolic extract prevents streptozotocin-induced body weight loss and hyperglycemia when administered for 28 consecutive days. R

Chronic overdoses of Kutaja should be avoided to prevent liver damage. R

For example, subchronic toxicity of ethanolic extract of HA complexes with polyvinylpyrrolidone at the dose of 270 and 530 mg/kg BW/day (which is 10 and 20 times less than the dosage used for humans), causes hepatotoxicity in rats when given for 3 consecutive months. R

Conessine may also reduce Dopamine levels in the Substantia Nigra (SN), which isn't great for Parkinson's Disease. R

Plant Composition

From both stem bark and seeds: R

  • Conessine (C24H40N2), Isoconessine (C24H40N2), Conessimine/ Isoconessimine (C23H38N2), Conarrhimine (C21H34N2)

From stem bark: R

  • Holarrifine (C24H38N2O2), Kurchamide, Kurcholessine,7 Trimethylconkurchine (C24H38N2), (3),-N-Methylholarrhimine (C22H38 N2O), (20),-N-Methylholarrhimine (C22H38N2O), NNN’N0 -Tetramethylholarrhimine (C25H44N2O), Conessidine (C21H32N2), Holarrhidine (C21H36N2O), Kurchenine (C21H32N2O2), Holarrhessimine (C22H36N2O), Holarrhine (C20H38N2O3), Conkurchi nine (C25H36N2), Kurchamine (C22H36N2), 7a-Hydroxyconessine (C24H40N2O),28Kurchilidine (C22H31NO),29 Neoconessine (isomer of conessine) (C24H40N2),30 Holadysenterine (C23H38N2O3), Kurchessine (C25H44N2),31 Lettocine (C17H25NO2), Kurchimine (C22H36N2), Holarrhenine (C24H40N2O), Holarrhimine/Kurchicine (C21H36N2O), Holacine (C26H44N2O2),Holafrine (C29H46N2O2), Holadysone (C21H28O4), Holacetine (C21H32N2O3), 3a-Aminoconan-5-ene (C22H36N2), Dihydroisoconessimine(C23H40N2),32 Conamine (C22H36N2), Conkurchine (C20H32N2),33 Pubadysone (C21H26O3), Puboestrene (C20H24O3), Pubamide (C21H27NO3),34 Holadiene (C22H31NO), Kurchinidine (C21H29NO2), Kurchinine (C19H24O3),34 Pubescine (C22H26N2O4), Norholadiene (C21H29NO), Pubescimine (C24H40N2O),34 Holonamine, Regholarrhenine A (C22H31NO2), Regholarrhenine B (C21H29NO2), Regholarrhenine C (C22H34N2),4 Regholarrhenine D (C23H38N2O), Regholarrhenine E (C25H44N2O2), Regholarrhenine F (C25H44N2O)

From leaves: R

  • Holantosine-A (C28H47NO6), Holantosine-B (C28H45NO5), Holanto sine-C (C28H47NO6), Holantosine-D (C28H45NO5), Holantosine-E (C28H47NO6), Holantosine-F (C28H45NO5), Holarosine A (C30H47 NO6), Holarosine B (C30H47NO6), Holarricine (C21H32N2O3),3 Kurchiphyllamine, Kurchaline,11Kurchiphylline (C23H47NO2)

From seeds: R

  • Conimine (C22H36N2),27 Antidysentericine (C23H36N2O)

Mechanism Of Action


  • Increases ACh R
  • Increases Bax R
  • Increases GSH R
  • Increases Histamine (in brain, not gut) R R
  • Increases SOD R
  • Reduces ACE-II R
  • Reduces AChE R
  • Reduces Alpha Glycosidase R
  • Reduces ALT R
  • Reduces AST R
  • Reduces Bcl-2 R
  • Reduces Cholesterol R
  • Reduces Creatinine R
  • Reduces Glucose R
  • Reduces H3R R
  • Reduces LDH R
  • Reduces MDA R
  • Reduces NO R
  • Reduces ROS R
  • Reduces Triglycerides R
  • Reduces Urea R
  • Reduces Uric Acid R


  • HABE inhibited the proliferation by arresting cell cycle at the G1 phase and promoted apoptosis via intrinsic (mitochondrial) pathway in OSCC cells. R
  • Hydro-methanolic seed extracts of the plant also showed inhibition of deoxyribose degradation by OH ions, inhibition of nitrite formation by competing with O2, degradation of H2O2 and inhibition of lipid peroxidation, all from the ethyl acetate fraction. R