• Name : Kutaj
  • English Name :Ester tree, Conessi
  • Scientific Name :Holarrhena antidysenterica


A small to medium sized tree, found throughout India. The stem bark is collected from 8-12 years old tree during the middle of rainy season (July to September) and again at the end of winter season by hewing and peeling and separated from attached wood.

Seeds (Indrayav) - Compressed, linear, or oblong, elongated, margins curved inside, one side convex and other side concave with a longitudinal striation; 1-2 cm long, 0.2-0.3 cm thick, surface light yellowish- brown; odour, not distinct; taste, bitter.1

Morphology Description:

Stem Bark - Small recurved pieces of varying sizes and thickness, outer surface buff to brownish longitudinally wrinkled and bearing horizontal lenticels, inner surface brownish, rough and scaly fracture short and granular, taste, acrid and bitter.

Seeds contain alkaloids -Steroidal Alkaloid, Conessine etc., Fats, Tannin and Resin.1

Parts Used:            Stem Bark, Seed


Conessine and related alkaloids.1

As per Ayurveda:

Rasa (Taste)                  Stem Bark - Bitter and astringent

                                         Seed ? Pungent, Bitter

Guna (Property)             Light, rough

Veerya (Potency)           Cold

Vipaka (End Result)     Pungent

Pharmacological Actions:

The stem bark is Kaphapittahara while the seeds are Tridoshashamaka; the primary pharmacological actions of Kutaja are summarized as under:

Central Nervous System: 

i. The total alkaloidal extract from the seeds of H. antidysenterica was found having potent AChE inhibitory activity; these alkaloids could be potential candidates for further development of new drugs against AD (Alzheimer's disease).2

Digestive System: 

i. Extremely useful in the management of diarrhea3 and dysentery. 

ii. The alkaloids of H. antidysenterica seeds exhibit significant antibacterial and antidiarrhoeal activities.4

Endocrinal System: 

i. The seed extract exerts antihyperglycemic effect by retarding the carbohydrate absorption from intestine through the inhibition in α-glucosidase activity and therefore resists postprandial hyperglycemia.5

Urinary System: 

i. Holarrhena antidysenterica possesses antiurolithic activity, possibly mediated through the inhibition of CaOx crystal aggregation, antioxidant and renal epithelial cell protective activities.6


i. Conessine possesses substantial anti-malarial property.7


 Diarrhea

 Dysentery

 IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

 IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)


1. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Part-1, Vol-1 & 3.

2. Yang ZD, Duan DZ, Xue WW, et al. Steroidal alkaloids from Holarrhena antidysenterica as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and the investigation for structure-activity relationships. Life Sci. 2012 Jun 14;90(23-24):929-33.

3. Kavitha D, Niranjali S. Inhibition of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli adhesion on host epithelial cells by Holarrhena antidysenterica (L.) WALL. Phytother Res. 2009 Sep;23(9):1229-36.

4. Kavitha D, Shilpa PN, Devaraj SN. Antibacterial and antidiarrhoeal effects of alkaloids of Holarrhena antidysenterica WALL. Indian J Exp Biol. 2004 Jun;42(6):589-94.

5. Ali KM, Chatterjee K, De D, et al. Inhibitory effect of hydro-methanolic extract of seed of Holarrhena antidysenterica on alpha-glucosidase activity and postprandial blood glucose level in normoglycemic rat. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Apr 26;135(1):194-6.

6. Khan A, Khan SR, Gilani AH. Studies on the in vitro and in vivo antiurolithic activity of Holarrhena antidysenterica. Urol Res. 2012 Dec;40(6):671-81.

7. Dua VK, Verma G, Singh B, et al. Anti-malarial property of steroidal alkaloid conessine isolated from the bark of Holarrhena antidysenterica. Malar J. 2013 Jun 10;12:194.

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