Wrightia Tinctoria

Botanical Name: Wrightia Tinctoria

Sanskrit Name: Asita Kutaja / Sthri Kutaja

Family Name: Apocynaceae (oleander family)


Vernacular names :

Common Name – Sweet Indrajao, Pala indigo plant, Dyers’s oleander

  1. Hindi – kapara, Dudhi
  2. Marathi – Kalakuda
  3. Malayalam –kodagapala
  4. Tamil –Paalai


Sveta kutaja, hayamaraka, stri kutaja

Ganas in classical texts:

Charaka : Arshoghna, Kandughna, Stanyagodhana, Asthapanopaga

Susruta: Aragvadhadi, Pippalyddi, Haridradi, Laksadi

Vagbhata: Aragvadhadi, Pippalyddi

Introduction and Controversial Studies

In Manduki siksKutaja is described as a tooth brush (Ma. c.4/2). Charaka quoted Kutaja tvak as the best Siingrahika dravaya (C.S.Su.25). Bhavamisra mentioned Kutajabija(lndrayava) under Haritakyadi varga and Kutaja is described as Usna virya while Indrayava is sita virya. This will be a point ofinterest for future studies. Kutaja is the drug of choice for bleeding piles (Ardra Argas).

Brihat Trayi have quoted Kutaja among the vamana dravyas. Charaka enumerated 18 yogas with Vatsaka in kalpa sthana (C.S.Ka.5). In this context he described male and female varieties of Kutaja. According to him the plant with white flowers, smooth/ glabrous leaves and big fruits will be male Kutaja while the plant with redish flowers, smaller fruit and greyish-black bark is female Kutaja. However Chakrapani did not attribute any diisimilarity in their therapeutic utility. He quoted that both the varietyshall be used in the same way. Dalhana described that the plant with big fruits, white flowers and glabrous/smooth leaves as Pum Kutaja (male) and the plant with small fruit stalk and blackish-red coloured flowers as Stri Kutuja (female). Sivadatta also provided the description of Kutaja stating that “Kutaja leaves are long, possess white flowers and fruits are follicles.” Some consider male variety as Sita (white) Kutaja and female variety as Asita black) Kutaja.

Thakurji stated that- “on a comparision of the shape of the fruits of Wrightia tomentasa (two follicles subcylinfrical and connate throughout) and W. tinctoria (two follicles distinct), the first two species also be called male and female varieties of Sveta Kutaja.

P.V.Sharmaji is of the opinion that W. tomentosa may be the female Kutaja since its flowers are redish tinged.However manyscholars have correlated H. antidyenteriea and W. tinctoria as male (white) and female (black) varieties of Kutaja. Thisneeds justification .

  1. tomentosa is the original Kutaja since Bhanoji Dixit (commentator on Amarakosa) described that Indrayava as the fruit of Kutaja. It is apparent that the fruit and seed are both resembling Yava in shape. Hence Indra yava and Bhadra yava names respectively for fruits and seeds. The fruits of W.tomentosa which are connate throughout give the appearance of ‘Yava’ i.e; Indra yava and its seeds are Bhadrayava. Someone should really throw some light on this view and it needs extensive study.

It is also important to note that the chemical constituents of even H. antidysenterica and W. tinctoria are entirely different.But in vogue both are used as substitutes for each other. It is noticed that the former is used in diarrhoeal disordes while the later is used in posriasis (777 oil).

Botanical details

Wrightia Tinctoria is  small tree; branchlets yellow or light brown. Leaves- elliptic-ovate or lanceolate or ovate-oblong, obtusely acuminate. Flowers- white, in lax terminal cymes, fragrant. Fruit- of 2 distinct pendulous, slendar follicles, cohering at the top only. Seeds lineer, plabrous.


Almost throughout india

Chemical constituents

isoricinoleic acid, beta—sitosterol, 13—amyrin, lupeol, rutin, cycloartenine, cycloeucalenol, wrightiadione etc.


Rasa – tikta, kasaya

Guna – laghu, ruksa

Virya – sita

Vipaka –katu

Karma –kapha – pitta hara, grahi, dipana


Rakthrshas, Atisara, Grahani, Kustha, Krimi, Anavata, Chardi, Visarpa, Vatarakta, Jvara.

Part used

Bark, leaves, seeds, flowers


Powder 3-6 g, decoction 50- 100ml

Therapeutic uses

(1) Jvara- Decoction of Indrayava and Katukarohini taken with rice water (H. S.312166).

(2) Pittatisara- Seeds and bark of Kutaja are pounded with honey and Ativisa is added to it. This combination is taken with rice-water (C.S.Ci.19/51).

(3) Kustha- Paste of Lodhra, Dhataki, Indravyava, Karanja and jati is applied externally (C.S.Ci.7/95).


  • Kutajarista
  • Kutajavalehya
  • Kutaja ghana vati.

Research , Studies and other information

(1) 3-Orhamnoglucoside from the flowers exhibited significant anti-inflammatory activity in the rats against carrageenan induced rat paw oedema (Sethuraman et al., 1984).

(2) Wrightiadione exhibited cytotoxicity against murine P-388 lymphocytic leukaemia cell line (ED50 1.1. micro gm / ml) ( phytochem. 1992,31,4333).

(3) The bark and seeds are used in flatulence and bilious affections. A decoction of the leaves and bark is taken as a stomachic. The dried and ground bark is rubbed over the body in dropsy. The seeds are said to possess aphrodisiac and anthelmintic properties. The fresh leaves are very pungent and are chewed for relief from tooth ache. Alcoholic and aqueous extracts of the leaves and roots, as demonstrated on cats, possess hypotensive properties         (Chopra,     1958,530; Atal & Sethi, J. Pharnz.Lond.,1962,14,41; Chopra, Nayar & Chopra,259; Kiri, & Basu, II,1582; Nadkarni, I,1297; Gupta et al., J. Agric. trop.,1966,13,247; Rama Rao, 256; Dastur, Useful Plants, 223; Chatterjee & Roy, Bull. Calcutta Sch.trop. Med.,1963,11,91).