Himalaya has very rich repository of medicinal herbs. In Ayurveda, the herbs which are obtained from Himalaya are considered best. One such herb which found on the moist slope of the hilly region, at an altitude of 2600- 4000 meters is Kooth. The other common name are Kuth, Pachak, Kushtha, Kooth, Kuste and Costus. Costus or Kustha occurs in basins of the Chenab and Jhelam, Kinnaur, Lahaul-Spiti, Keylong, Pattan valley, Sangla Kanda and Panihartu areas.
Scientific name: Saussurea lappa, synonym: Saussurea east
Family: Compositae/ Asteraceae
Sanskrit: Amaya, Pakala, Kooth, Kustha, English: Costus, Assamese: Kud, Kur, Bengali: Kudo, Kut, Kur
Hindi: Kutha, Kannada: Changal Kustha, Kashmiri: Kuth, Malayalam: Kottam, Marathi: Upleta, Kustha
Oriya: Kudha, Punjabi: Kuth, Tamil: Goshtam, Kosbtham, Kostam, Telugu: Changalva Koshtu, Urdu: Qust
Arab, Persian: Kust, Part used: Roots, leaves, Properties and action of Costus Root as per Ayurveda, Rasa: Katu, Tikta
Guna: Laghu, Virya: Ushna, Vipaka: Katu, Karma: Kaphavatajit, Rakta shodhaka, Varnya, Shukrala
Tall, perennial herb up to 2 m high; Leaves: very large at the base, winged stalks, upper leaves smaller, sometimes with two lobes at the base of the leaves; Flowers are about 2 cm long, bluish purple or almost black, on rounded flower heads; Flowering/Fruiting — June-September
The costus root contains 1.5-2.5 per cent of volatile oil, an alkaloid saussurine (0.05 per cent) resin (6 per cent), tannins and Kushtin. Due to presence of these substances Kutha is an effective medicine in treating various pathological conditions.
The main plant part used for medicinal purpose is root. The leaves also used occasionally for external application. The root is anodyne, anti-arthritic, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, astringent, diuretic, expectorant and tonic. It is useful in treatment of asthma, bronchitis, hiccough, hysteria, low blood pressure, fever, menstruation trouble, rheumatism and increasing urination. It is also useful in treating skin diseases and facial blemishes. Some Ayurvedic medicines that contain Kustha are Kustadi Churna, Kustadi kwath, Kustadi taila, Pippalayasava, Laghuvisgarva taila, Dasanga lepa etc.