Arka / Aak

Botanical Name

Calotropis gigantea (L.) Dryand.


Apocynaceae / Asclepiadaceae.


Asclepias gigantea L., Calotropis gigantea (L.) R. Br. ex Schult., Madorius  giganteus (L.) Kuntze, Periploca cochinchinensis Lour., Streptocaulon  cochinchinense (Lour.) G. Don.

Regional Name

English :  Madar, Crown flower, Giant Milkweed crown, Hindi : Madara, Akavan, Safed Aak, Safed Arka, Safed-akra, Safedak, Sanskrit: Aditya, Aharmani, Aharpati, Alarka, Arka, Arkah, Urdu : Gul madar, Gule akh taza, Madar (aak), Punjabi : Ak, Telugu : Jilledu, Mandaram, Mandaramu, Arkamu, Bengali : Aakand, Marathi : Rui / Akamadar aka, Akanak, Akanda, Akda, Akdachajhada, Akra, Dhavi rui, Lalakava, Lalmadar, Gujarati : Akad, Akado, Tamil : Pellerukku, Erukku, Kannada : Aarka, Aekka, Aekka maale, Aekki gida, Akarai, Ake, Arka, Malayalam : Belerica, Belericu, Bukam, Eri, Ericu, Erikka,

Part Used

Root Bark.


Arka is probably native to Indian Subcontinent, globally distributed from Africa to Indo -Malesia. Within India, it is found growing up to an altitude of 900 m. throughout including the Andamans. It occurs in open habitats. Arka is a perennial shrub growing up to 2.5 meter high with various branches and sub branches. Leaves are simple, opposite, subsessile, ovate and cordate at base. It has bunch of waxy flowers that are white or pink in colour. Flowers consist of pointed five petals and a small beautiful crown, which holds the stamen.


It has milky stem and contains cardiac glycosides, fatty acid and calcium oxalate. It contains Laurane, Saccharose, β-amyrin; a & B calotropeols, holarrhetine, Cyanidin-3-rhamnoglucoside, Taraxsterol isovalerate, Giganteol, Calotroposide, Calactin, Calotoxin, Calotropins DI & DII, Gigantin.

Ayurvedic Properties

Rasa : Katu, Tikta, Guna : Laghu, Ruksha (dryness), Teekshna, Vipaka : Katu, Virya : Ushna.

Ayurvedic Applications

Medhya, Vrushya, Vishodhana, Jwara, Kushta, Arsha, Raktadosha, Sotha, Kasa, Antrasula, Suryavarta, Arsa,

Medicinal Uses

The root bark-powder, latex, flowers and leaves of Arka are used in the treatment loss of appetite, visucika, piles, hiccough, cough, cold, asthma, Bronchitis, throat disorder, constipation, jaundice, filaria, splenomegaly, urustambha, gandamala, leprosy and skin diseases, wounds, head-boils, eye disease, ear disease, caries, poisoning, raktagulma, yonivyapad, boils, for evacuation and in scrotal enlargement. The Plant is used in cases of Cutaneous Diseases, intestinal worms, ascites, dyspepsia, paralysis, swellings, intermittent fevers, anorexia, inflammations and tumors. It is used in leukoderma and also used for the treatment of Snake bites and Treatment of gastritis.


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