Medicinal uses of Cuscuta or Amarbel

Cuscuta is easily identifiable green-yellow coloured, leafless, parasitic twining stem which tangles on the host plant with it countless branches and draws its nutrition. It has no chlorophyll and cannot make its own food by photosynthesis. Once attached, the plants lives its entire life on host plant without any attachment to the soil. The stems and branches of cuscuta are fleshy, its flowers are small, fruits are small and contains 2-4 seeds. The flowering time is April to July. In India it is distributed throughout the country up to 3000 m.


In traditional medicinal system, whole plant of cuscuta is used for treatment of various diseases. Cuscuta plant is used for treating constipation, liver, spleen diseases, diarrhoea, inflammation etc. Cuscuta is alterative, purgative, carminative and anthelmintic. The plant also has Anti-fertility effect.

Scientific name: Cuscuta reflexa Roxb.
Family: Convolvulaceae

Plant description

Kingdom   Plantae
Subkingdom  tracheobionta
Superdivision  spermatophyta
Division  Angiospermes
Class     Eudicots
Subclass  Asterids
Order   Solanales
Family    Cuscutaceae; alternate Convolvulaceae
Genus    Cuscuta
Species    reflexa Roxb

Vernacular names

Tamil : Verillakothan, Akashavalli, English : Dodder Plant, Hindi : Amarabel, Sanscrit : Akasavalli,Amaravalli,Khavalli
Punjabi : Zarbut, Malayalam : Moodillathali, Urdu : Akashbel, Bengali : Akashbel

Other common names: hell weed, devil's gut, and beggar weed, strangle tare, scald weed, dodder of thyme, greater dodder, and lesser dodder.

Traditional uses of Cuscuta plant

  • Enlargement of spleen, liver  complaints, constipation, flatulence
    Prepare decoction of Amarbel. Drink 50 ml of this once a day.
  • Piles (bleeding, non-bleeding)
    Extract 10 ml juice of Amarbel. Mix this with 3 gram Maricha churna and take every morning.
  • Excessive abdominal gas
    Boil the plant and tie on the abdominal region.
  • Itching
    Apply paste of Amarbel on affected skin area.
  • Wound
    Grind Amarbel. Mix with Sunthi and Ghee. Topically apply on affected area.
  • Hair fall, Dandruff
    Prepare paste of cuscuta. Mix some sesame oil and apply in hairs for curing hair fall.
    Crush and boil Cuscuta 50 grams in one liter water. Wash hair with this water.
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