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Aak / Madar /Calotropis Gigantea

Aak / Madar Medicinal Uses, Benefits, and dosage

Aak is a large perennial shrub that grows up to the height of 2.5 m and has branches as well as sub-branches. Its English name is Madar. In Ayurveda, it is used both externally as well internally. It is commonly used in fever, skin, respiratory, digestive, and neurological disorders.

  • Botanical name: Calotropis gigantea
  • Family: Asclepiadaceae

Aak Names in different languages:

  • English Name: Madar, Gaint milkweed crown, Crown flower
  • Hindi Name: kavan, Aak, Madara
  • Punjabi Name: Ak
  • Telugu Name: Mandaram, Jilledu
  • Arab Name: Ushar
  • Bengali Name: Aaknad
  • Gujarati Name: Akado, Akad
  • Marathi Name: Akamadar, Rui
  • Parsi Name: Kharak
  • Tamil Name: Erukku, Pellerukku

Synonyms in the Sanskrit language:

  1. Arka: It means rays of the sun because it has pungent, strong, and hot rays as that of the sun.
  2. Vikirana: Gets pollinated through air
  3. Asphota: Fruit bursts and open
  4. Ksheeraparna: Its leaves contain milk (latex)
  5. Toolaphala: Its fruits have ridges
  6. Arkaparna: Parna means leaf and these are hot, strong, and pungent in taste

Other synonyms are Saapuspa, Krsaparna, Mandara, Alarka, Talaphala, and Krsapaarna.

As per the Ayurveda aspect, flowers and latex of arka are explained.

This shloka means that the flowers are aphrodisiac, light, digestive fire stimulant, and appetizer and treats anorexia, excessive salivation, hemorrhoids, cough, and cold.

(Reference: Bhavprakash nighantu- Page no. 292 and sholka no. 70)

In this shloka qualities of the latex of arka are given–latex is bitter and somewhat salty, potency is hot, unctuousness and light in nature, and treats skin disorders, abdominal lump, and abdominal disorders. It is also useful in purgation therapy.

(Reference: Bhavprakash nighantu- Page no. 292 and sholka no. 72)

Morphological features:

As discussed above, it is a perennial shrub of 2.5 m in height. Leaves are simple and opposite in shape. Greyish green colored, relatively thick with 5 to 7 pairs of veins. Its flowers are waxy that are either white or lavender in color and bloom mostly during winters. The skin of the fruit is thick and spongy which split open at maturity.

Categorization according to classical books:

  1. Charaka: Acharaya Charaka has mentioned it in svedopaga, bhedniya, and vamnopaga
  2. Sushruta: He has mentioned it in Arkadi and Adhobhagahara
  3. Vagbhatta: In Arkadi varga

Main Chemical constituents in arka:

Saccharose, Holarrhetine, Calactin, Calotoxin, Giganteol, Calactin, Gigantin, Clotropins D1 and D2, Holarrhetine, Calotropeols A & B, etc.

Medicinal Properties:

  • Rasa (Taste): Katu (Pungent) and Tikta (Bitter)
  • Guna (Quality): Rooksha (Dry), Laghu (Light) and Teekshna
  • Veerya (Potency): Ushna (Hot)
  • Vipaka (Undergoes pungent taste after digestion): Katu
  • Karma (Effect on dosha): Balances Vata and Kapha dosha

Arka Ksheera (Latex):

In Ayurveda, its latex has been used in Vamana (vomiting therapy) and Virechana (purgation therapy) because it has the capability to induce vomiting. It also has abortifacient, carminative, and rheumatic action. Other medicinal properties are Kushthara (treats skin diseases), Gulmahara (Useful in abdominal disorders), etc.

The whole plant is used in various diseases and has medicinal actions like:

  1. Deepana: Improves digestion
  2. Vranahara: Heals non-healing wounds quickly
  3. Kushtahara: Helpful in skin related disorders
  4. Pleehahara: Helps in treating splenomegaly
  5. Shophahara: Works as an anti-inflammatory
  6. Kanduhara: Relieves various skin related issues like itching

Its flowers act as deepana (improves digestive fire), Kasa shwasahara (works as an expectorant), arshahara (treats hemorrhoids), laghu (light to digest), Pachana (acts as carminative), and arochaka (treats anorexia).

In ancient times, its leaves are chewed in the case of snake bites, and latex is applied over the wound.

A formulation named Arka Lavana is prepared with the leaves of arka that are processed with saindhav lavana and useful in treating gastritis.

Medicinal uses of Aak:

  • Cough and cold: In cough and cold, arka acts as an expectorant that splits out the mucus from the respiratory tract. The herb also clears the chest as well as nasal congestion and eases breathing. Being an anti-inflammatory, it reduces lung inflammation and hence treats chest pain. Its Kapha pacifying action helps n treating asthma, common cold, etc.
  • Constipation: Arka increases the bulk in stool by increasing movements in the intestines. Its main action is to work as a stool softener by increasing the water content in stool which makes them soft and easy to pass. It also increases regular bowel movements.
  • Skin diseases: Arka being an anti-bacterial and antimicrobial helps to kill harmful microbes and prevents the skin from various infections. This herb also reduces symptoms related to skin diseases like itching, redness, watery discharge, blisters, etc. Its latex works very effectively when applied to the affected areas. As a natural blood purifier, it removes harmful toxins from the blood and treats skin diseases.
  • Digestion and worm infestation: Because of the strong purgative action, its main action is to clear out the intestines and maintains the proper action of the intestines. As a digestive stimulant, it increases digestive fire and maintains the digestive process naturally. It also acts as an appetizer that treats anorexia and digests food properly. Its Vata pacifying action relieves bloating and improper digestion of food.
  • Toothache: Latex of arka leaves is used to treat toothache and bleeding gums. Applying its latex over the gums helps to relieve toothache and keeps the gums healthy and strong. Its astringent action tightens the gums and protects them from gum swelling. It also reduces the accumulation of plaques which is the main cause of toothache.
  • Hemorrhoids: With its alkaline action, it helps to shrink hemorrhoidal tags and other related symptoms like redness, itching, pain, etc. This herb has an anti-inflammatory action on the tags that reduces inflammation naturally. It also provides toning to the veins and improves the elasticity of blood vessels. Its antiseptic action prevents the growth of microorganisms that causes infection.
  • Liver disorders: Arka is useful in treating ascites and other liver-related disorders because it causes abdominal distension due to the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal area. This herb also exhibits hepatoprotective property that removes damaged liver cells and protects the healthy cells.

Part used: Roots, flowers, leaves, and latex


  • Leaves juice: 1 to 5 drops
  • Root bark powder: 0.5 to1 grams
  • Flower powder: 1 to 2 grams

Note: Our purpose is to serve useful information related to Aak Madar’s benefits, dosage, and other properties. It is advised to the patients not to consume aak madar on the basis of this information. Before taking Aak Madar as a medicine it is better to have an expert opinion because dosage and treatment vary from patient to patient depending on their symptoms and medical history.

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About Dr. Ranjana Kaushal

Dr. Ranjana Kaushal (MD Ayurveda) has 11 years of experience in the field of Ayurveda. Right now she is working as an Ayurveda consultant with Life Aveda. She has immense knowledge about herbs, their uses, and formulations. She has published articles related to many herbs and diseases in an international journal. She is also a degree holder in yoga and naturopathy. Read More..

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