Source, Etc

Picrorhiza is the dried rhizome of Picrorhiza Kurroa, Royle (N.O. Scrophularineoe), a small plant indigenous to the Alpine Himalayas.

Description

The rhizomes are greyish brown, more or less cylindrical, about 2.5 to 5 cm. long and 4 to 8 mm. thick. They are often deeply wrinkled longitudinally and covered with a thin cork. The surface exhibits the transverse scars of cataphyllary leaves, numerous, small, black buds but only an occasional root or root-scar; near the apex are the black remains of closely approximated scaly leaves. They are light in weight, break readily with a short fracture disclosing a very dark, lacunous interior. The section exhibits a thin, pale grey cork and a narrow ring of tangentially extended wood bundles. Taste very bitter.

Constituents

The chief constituent is the bitter, crystalline glucoside, picrorhizin.

Uses

Tonic and antiperiodic.