Colocynth: Citrullus colocynthis Uses, Dosage, Side Effects

Colocynth is an important Ayurvedic herb. It is also known as bitter apple. Its botanical name is Citrullus colocynthis and it belongs to Cucurbitacae family. 
Hindi name: Indrayan, Indrayan ki jad (root)
Telugu name: Chedu Puccha, Cinna Papara, Kuturu budama
Malayalam and Tamil name: Pikkumutti.
Kannada name: Tamate Kayi, Tamte Kai
Bengali name: Rakhale Shasa
Punjabi name: kaudatumma
Telugu name: paparabudam
English name: Colocynth, bitter apple, bitter cucumber, desert gourd, vine of Sodom.

Sanskrit Synonyms:
Gavakshi – fruit is spherical in shape, similar to eye of cow
Chitra – fruit contains lines

Indravaruni – Classical categorization:
Charaka Sahimta:
Moolini Dravya – Group of herbs, where root is the part used.
Virechana Dravya – group of herbs used for the purpose of purgation Panchakarma therapy.
Sushruta Samhita: Shyamadi Gana, Adhobhagahara
Vagbhata: Shyamadi Gana

Colocynth: Medicinal qualities:
Rasa (taste): Tikta (bitter)
Guna (qualities): Laghu (light to digest), Rooksha (dry), Teeksnha (piercing, enters deep tissues)
Vipaka (taste conversion after digestion): Katu (pungent)
Veerya (potency): Ushna (hot)
Effect on Tridosha: Balances Kapha and Pitta.

Colocynth uses:
Colocynth is very hot in nature and is a potent purgative.

It was used to initiate abortion.
In therapeutic doses, it is used in the treatment of
Kamala – jaundice
Pleeha – splenomegaly
Udara – ascites
Shwasa – Asthma, COPD, wheezing, breathing difficulty
Kasa – cough, cold
Kushta – skin diseases
Gulma – Abdominal tumor, bloating
Granthi – boils, nodules
Vrana – wounds
Prameha – diabetes, urinary tract disorders
Moodagarbha – malformed foetus

Part used: Fruit, root.
Dose: Fruit powder – 125 – 500 mg
Root Powder – 1 – 2 grams per day.

Colocynth side effects:
In people with sensitive stomach, it may produce severe purgation.
It is contra indicated in pregnancy, lactation and in children.
It should only be used under medical supervision.
Take this herb only till the prescribed time period in the prescribed dosage.

Ayurvedic medicine with Colocynth as ingredient:
Maha Manjishtadi kashayam – Used as blood purifier in skin diseases.
Abhayarishta – used in haemorrhoids, constipation etc.
Maha Vishagarbha Taila – used in sciatica and joint disorders with stiffness as a symptom.
Mrita Sanjeevani Sura – An alcoholic Ayurvedic preparation.

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  1. Are INDRAJAVA and ENDRAYAN or INDRAVARUNI same? Kindly guide.

  2. is it toxic?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      It is not toxic, but can induce diarrhea or worsen ulcerative colitis / rectal bleeding.

  3. fix2fitus says:

    Can Colocynthis cause Kidney damage?

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