Folk Sugandha Kuutth

Action ► Root—antispasmodic, expectorant, carminative, astringent, antiseptic. An ingredient of prescriptions for dyspepsia, asthma,

Saussurea sacra Edgew.

cough, chronic rheumatism, skin diseases. Applied locally to wounds and ulcerations. Powdered root, mixed with mustard oil, is applied to scalp in prurigo.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia ofIn-dia recommends the root in cough, bronchitis, dyspnoea; erysipelas and gout.

The root (containing both the essential oil and alkaloid, saussurine) is used for asthma, particularly of vagotonic type. It produces a definite relaxtion of the bronchioles. The relief obtained is comparable to that of conventional bronchodilators without side effects, like a rise in blood pressure, sweating or headache even on repeated administration.

Saussurine depresses parasympa-thetic nervous system. The aminoacid-sesquiterpene adducts, saussureami-nes A, B and C show antiulcer effect. The aqueous extract of the root exhibits antianginal activity.

Essential oil inhibits peristalic movement of the gut. It is absorbed from the gastro-intestinal tract and partly excreted by lungs producing an expectorant action and partly by the kidneys producing diuretic effect. (In Western herbal, Kuth essential oil is not prescribed internally.)

Kuth roots contain resinoids (6%), and essential oil (1.5%), alkaloid (0.05%) inulin (18%), saussurea lactone (20-25%), a fixed oil and minor constituents like tannin and sugars. Roots obtained from Kashmir are, in general, richer in essential oil content than roots obtained from Garhwal and Nepal. The roots of Punjab variety gave cos-

tunolide, dehydrocostuslactone, costic acid, palmitic and linoleic acids, beta-sitosterol and alpha-cyclocostunolide. The Kashmir variety, in addition, gave alantolactone, beta-cyclocostunolide and iso-alantolactone.

The essential oil of the roots exhibit strong antiseptic and disinfectant activity against Streptococcus and Staphy-lococcus.

Costus speciosus Sm. synonym Banksea speciosa, also known as Kush-tha, is a different herb of Zingiberaceae family. Rhizomes and stems yield dios-genin.

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