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Calotropis gigantea - Arka plant

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Sadapushpa, Mandara, Calotropis flower

Calotropis procera Ait is a large shrub growing to 4 m (13 ft) tall. It has clusters of waxy flowers that are either white or lavender in color. The plant has oval, light green leaves and milky stem. The latex of Calotropis gigantea contains cardiac glycosides, fatty acids, and calcium oxalate. Arka consists of dried roots of Calotropis procera (Ait.) R. Br. (Fam.Asclepiadaceae) found wild more or less throughout India.


Rheumatism, Painful joints, Skin blemishes, Leucoderma, vitiligo, Piles, Pain in ears[1]

Parts Used

Roots, Bark, Flowers, Leaves, Latex.

Chemical Composition

The milky sap contains a complex mix of chemicals, some of which are steroidal heart poisons known as "cardiac aglycones". These belong to the same chemical family as similar chemicals found in foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea). The steroidal component includes an hydroxyl group in the C3β position, a second attached to the C14 carbon, a C/D-cis ring junction and an α,β-unsaturated-γ-lactone in the C17 position. In the plants, the steroidal component is commonly attached via a glycosidic link to a 2-desoxy or a 2,6-didesoxy sugar molecule.[2]

Common names

Language Common name
Kannada Ekka, Ekkadagida, Ekkegida
Hindi Aak, Akavana, Madar
Malayalam Erikku
Tamil Erukku, Vellerukku
Telugu Jilledu
Marathi Rui
Gujarathi Aakado
Punjabi Ak
Kashmiri Vasa
Sanskrit Bhaanu, Ravi, Tapana, Arka
English Aakado


Reference: Dravya - Substance, Rasa - Taste, Guna - Qualities, Veerya - Potency, Vipaka - Post-digesion effect, Karma - Pharmacological activity, Prabhava - Therepeutics.



Tikta (Bitter), Katu (Pungent)


Laghu (Light), Sara, Snigdha


Ushna (Hot)


Katu (Pungent)


Vatahara, Kaphahara, Bhedana, Deepana, Kshamighna



Large shrub



Kind Shape Feature
Simple Opposite Elliptic-ovate to obovate, greyish-green in colour and have entire margins, relatively thick (5-30 cm long and 4-15 cm wide) with a cordate leaf base. Secondary veins 5-7 pairs.



Type Size Color and composition Stamen More information
borne in clusters 15-25 mm across white or pinkish five Flowering occurs mostly during winter.


Type Size Mass Appearance Seeds More information
large 6-12 cm long and 3-7 cm wide These fruit have thick and spongy skins which split open at maturity numerous brown, flattened seeds {{{6}}}

Other features

List of Ayurvedic medicine in which the herb is used

Where to get the saplings

Mode of Propagation

Seeds, Cuttings, Layering.

How to plant/cultivate

Succeeds in the drier tropics. Most commonly found in areas of the tropics with a specific dry season, at elevations up to 1,000 metres[4]

Commonly seen growing in areas

Tropical area, Indian subcontinent.

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