Saussurea lappa (Indian costus plant) helps normalize and strengthen digestion, detoxify, enhance fertility, and reduce pain. Many Ayurvedic medicines manufactured in India contain kushta root, which is believed to possess antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Unani recognizes costus as a great medicinal plant with carminative, aphrodisiac, and anthelmintic effects. It was also thought to be a brain stimulant and treatment for liver diseases, deafness, headache, paralysis, cough, fever, inflammation, and ophthalmic conditions (Madhuri et al., 2012). The essential oil of the root is believed to relax bronchial muscles, relieving bronchitis and asthma cases.
Saussurea costus root is one of 50 fundamental medicinal herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It can move qi, relieve pain, fortify the spleen, and disperse food (Jiaju Zhou et al., 2010). It is an antiseptic traditionally used to treat digestive and respiratory system ailments. Costus oil is also useful in treating nematode infections.
According to Waly (2009), S. lappa might be used in phlegmatic diseases. It is effective in treating general weakness from diarrhea and cholera. It can be used on clothes to repel insects. Internally, it is a good expectorant, antispasmodic, and neurotoxin that can treat cough, bronchitis, bronchial asthma, paralysis, facial palsy, and neurasthenia.
Indian costus plant’s root’s anticonvulsant properties have been studied, and results validated in experiments on rats (Ambavade et al. 2009). Different pharmacological in vitro and in vivo models have convincingly demonstrated the ability of S. costus to exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, anti-cancer, and hepatoprotective properties. Several molecules isolated from this plant have the potential as bioactive molecules (Pandey et al., 2007).
Several scientific experiments, including human trials, validate some of the traditional medicinal uses of the root. Experiments on rats indicate cardioprotective properties of the root. It is mandatory to follow drug discovery protocols before using the root, and essential oil can be unambiguously stated (Ambawade et al., 2009; Hasson et al., 2013; Kim et al., 2017).
While researching this plant, I could not find credible evidence that the herb would cause cancer. But this comment should be taken with caution. Any medicine, herbal or modern, when taken without medical supervision and in more than prescribed quantities, is likely to cause harm to the body. The principle on which Ayurveda and other ancient herbal medicine systems operate is that they restore balance to an unhealthy or diseased body. Consuming any herb in excess is likely to cause disbalance, which, in turn, will lead to the expression of disease.
Holy Herbs: Modern Connections to Ancient Plants