Aak (Calotropis gigantea)

Aak is a plant that you can find in Africa, Asia, and China. In India, it’s considered a sacred plant and is used in ceremonies where people worship the sun. There are two types of Aak plants – one with white flowers and the other with pinkish-white flowers. Even though the juice from this plant is poisonous, it’s been used in Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine) for a long time to treat different chronic diseases. However, using it for medicine requires a lot of care and experience.

All parts of the Aak plant – the roots, leaves, flowers, milky fluid, and wood – are useful. There are various benefits of the Aak plant, including its milk being good for the skin. People also use the leaves for different purposes. It’s important to know about these benefits and use them properly.

This amazing herb is known for having the following properties:

  • Fights fungus.
  • Helps prevent cancer.
  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Prevents blood clotting.
  • Treats dysentery.
  • Fights syphilis.
  • Relieves rheumatism.

Here are the names in different languages:

English Name: Crown flower, Giant Milkweed crown, Madar
Hindi Name: Akavan, Madara, Aak
Punjabi Name: Ak
Tamil Name: Erukku, Pellerukku
Gujarati Name: Akado, Akad
Marathi Name: Akamadar/Rui
Telugu Name: Mandaram, Jilledu
Parsi Name: Kharak
Arab Name: Ushar

Sanskrit Names:

Arka: it means the sun rays, In nature its pungent, strong, and hot.
Vikirana: Its pollination is by air.
Toolaphala: Its fruit has ridges.
Asphota: The fruit gets burst and opens.
Ksheeraparna: Leaves yield milk as a latex.
Talaphala, Arkaparna, Asphota, Vikirana, Mandara, Alarka, and Saapuspa.

Categories according to Acharyas:

Charak: Svedopaga, Bedaniya, and Vamonopaga.
Sushruta: Adhobhagahara and Arkadi.
Vagbhata: Arkadi.

Medicinal Properties:

Taste: Bitter (Tikta) and Pungent (Katu)
Qualities: Dry (Ruksha), Sharp (Teekshana), and Light (Laghu)
Potency: Hot (Ushna)
Post-Digestive Taste: Pungent (Katu)
Effect on Three Doshas: Primarily balances Vata and Kapha dosha

Medicinal Uses:

The latex of this plant is beneficial in Vamana (vomiting therapy) and Virechana (purgation therapy), inducing both vomiting and purgation.

Gulmahara: Used for relieving abdominal bloating and tumors.

Kushtahara: Effective in treating skin-related issues.

Udarahara: Useful in managing ascites.

Krimihara: Treats intestinal worm infestations.

Deepana: Stimulates appetite.

Sara: Promotes proper bowel movements.

Kanduhara: Alleviates itching.

Pleehahara: Helpful in addressing sleep-related issues.

Shophahara: Acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Additionally, the herb is used as a laxative for constipation and is beneficial in managing cough and cold.

Other Uses:

Gastritis: Arka Lavana, a medicine made from arak leaves processed with Saindhava Lavana (salt), is commonly used to treat gastritis. Additionally, the latex of the plant is applied to relieve toothache.

Snakebite: Since ancient times, arak has been employed in treating snake bites. The latex is applied to the wound, and the leaves are chewed for this purpose.

Benefits of Aak Plant:

Overall Medicinal Value:
Every part of the Aak plant is considered medicinal and has various uses.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Aak Leaves:

Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Aak Leaves:
The leaves of Aak have been used since ancient times to reduce body inflammation. Applying oil to the smooth surface of the leaves, heating them, and placing them on the swollen area can help alleviate inflammation with regular use over 5 to 6 days.

Asthma Relief with Aak Flowers:

Grinding dried Aak flowers into a powder and mixing it with a little rock salt provides relief from asthma, cough, and cold. This mixture can be consumed directly or with warm water.

Skin Benefits of Aak Milk:

The milk of the Aak plant is beneficial for various skin disorders. Applying Aak milk to affected areas helps in conditions like ringworm, boils, and sores due to its antioxidant properties.

Digestive Aid:

Aak plant is effective in treating stomach-related issues, including abdominal tumors, bloating, acidity, and constipation.

Aak Leaves for Deafness:

A few drops of Aak leaves’ juice, when administered into the ear, can help with deafness. However, it’s essential to consult a doctor before attempting this, as ears are sensitive organs.

Diabetes Control with Aak Leaves:

Placing Aak leaves under the feet every morning and wearing socks can be beneficial in controlling sugar levels. The leaves should be removed before sleeping at night.

In addition to its beneficial medicinal properties, it’s important to note that the Aak plant also has poisonous characteristics. If you intend to use this plant or its formulations for a specific ailment, it is crucial to consult with your doctor beforehand. High intake of this plant can lead to adverse effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, slow heart rate, convulsions, and in extreme cases, it may result in death. Therefore, it should be used with caution due to its highly toxic nature. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to avoid its use.

Parts Used:

Root Bark


Root Bark Powder: 0.5 to 1 gm
Flower Powder: 1 to 2 gm
Fatal Dose: More than 500 mg

FAQ for Aak Plant and Its Medicinal Uses:

Q: Where is the Aak plant commonly found?

Ans: The Aak plant is found in Africa, Asia, and China.

Q: Why is the Aak plant considered sacred in India?

Ans: In India, the Aak plant is considered sacred and used in sun-worshipping ceremonies.

Q: How is the Aak plant used in Ayurveda?

Ans: Despite its poisonous juice, the Aak plant has been used in Ayurveda for a long time to treat various chronic diseases. However, its use in medicine requires careful attention and experience.

Q: What are the different parts of the Aak plant that are useful?

Ans: All parts of the Aak plant – including the roots, leaves, flowers, milky fluid, and wood – are considered useful.

Q: What are the properties of the Aak plant?

Ans: The Aak plant is known for properties such as fighting fungus, preventing cancer, reducing inflammation, preventing blood clotting, treating dysentery, fighting syphilis, and relieving rheumatism.

Q: What are the names of the Aak plant in different languages?

Ans: The Aak plant is known by various names, including Crown flower, Giant Milkweed crown, and Madar in English; Akavan, Madara, and Aak in Hindi; Ak in Punjabi; Erukku and Pellerukku in Tamil; Akado and Akad in Gujarati; Akamadar/Rui in Marathi; Mandaram and Jilledu in Telugu; Kharak in Parsi; and Ushar in Arabic.

Q: What are the Sanskrit names of the Aak plant?

Ans: The Sanskrit names include Arka, Vikirana, Toolaphala, Asphota, Ksheeraparna, Talaphala, Arkaparna, Asphota, Vikirana, Mandara, Alarka, and Saapuspa.

Q: What are the medicinal uses of the Aak plant?

Ans: The Aak plant has various medicinal uses, including its latex being beneficial in vomiting and purgation therapies. It is used for conditions such as abdominal bloating, skin-related issues, ascites, intestinal worm infestations, boosting appetite, promoting proper bowel movements, relieving itching, addressing sleep-related issues, and acting as an anti-inflammatory. Additionally, it is used as a laxative and for managing cough and cold.

Q: Are there any precautions to be taken while using the Aak plant?

Ans: Yes, it’s crucial to be aware that the Aak plant is poisonous. High intake can lead to adverse effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, slow heart rate, convulsions, and even death. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid its use. Consultation with a doctor is recommended before using the plant for medicinal purposes.

Q: What parts of the Aak plant are used, and what are the recommended dosages?

Ans: Different parts of the Aak plant, including flowers, latex, leaves, seeds, and root bark, are used. Recommended dosages include 0.5 to 1 gm of root bark powder, and 1 to 2 gm of flower powder. The fatal dose is considered to be more than 500 mg.

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