Home Dravya (Herbs) Part A Arka Dwaya – Calotropis gigantea Linn. R. Br. & Calotropis procera Ait, R. Br.

Arka Dwaya - Calotropis gigantea Linn. R. Br. & Calotropis procera Ait, R. Br.

Arka Dwaya - Lactiferous shrubs


Since ancient times for the treatment of various disorders, Arka has been used. As per classical literature of Ayurveda, two varieties of Arka have been mentioned i.e Shveta Arka and Rakta Arka. Botanically Shveta Arka is Calotropis gigantea and Rakta Arka is Calotropis procera. Calotropis gigantea is considered under endangered plant while Calotropis procera is considered more toxic among the two varieties of Arka. Both varieties of Arka resemble each other in physiological and chemical actions. As per Ayurvedic classical literature,  Rakta Arka is considered as Arka and mentioned under Bhedniya, Swednopaga, Vamanopaga, Adhohaga Hara Gana, etc by various Acharyas. Recent research revealed that Arka consists of the active principle calotoxin, calactin, and uscharin which are toxic principles. Its Ksheer (latex) is a neurotoxin. Arka Dwaya exhibits various properties like analgesic, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, anti-convulsant, anti-malarial, etc.

Basonym of Arka Dwaya

अर्च्यत इत्यर्क: प्रशस्त त्वात् अर्कवद उष्ण तीक्ष्णत्वात बालार्क वर्ण पुष्प त्वाच्च।

The plant is worshiped as it is auspicious, sharp like the sun, and flowers resemble the color of the rising sun. 

अर्काभानि तीक्ष्णनिप्त्राण्यस्य।

Leaves have corrosive constituents.

Synonyms of Arka Dwaya

  • According to habitat:

गण रूपः- गणे समुहे रूप्यते शोभते इति। 

The plant grows in a gregarious nature.


  • According to morphology:

क्षीर पर्ण: – क्षीरं पर्णे अस्य । 

Leaves have latex.

क्षीर काण्डक: – क्षीरं काण्डे अस्य। 

Stems possess latex.

रक्त पुष्प: – रक्तं पुष्पं अस्य। 

Flowers are red.

सदा पुष्प – सदा पुष्पाणि सन्ति यस्मिन् ।  

Arka is always flowering plant.

आस्फोट: – आ समन्तात स्फुटति फलं अस्य। 

Fruits are dehiscent in nature.

तूल फल: – तूल सहितं फलं अस्य। 

Fruits have cottony hairs within.

विकीरण – विकिर्यान्ते स्तूल बीजन्य अस्य। 

Seeds have a comma of hairs which helps in dispersal.


  • According to action and properties:

अर्क पर्ण: – अर्क वतीक्षणानि पर्णानि अस्य। 

Leaves are sharp as the sun.

खर्जूघ्न – खर्जुं कण्डु हन्तीति। 

Arka helps to relieve Kandu (itching).

प्रताप: – दाह जनक त्वात्। 

Latex causes a burning sensation.

Regional names of Arka

  • Madar, Gigantic swallow-wort (English)
  • Ak, Madara (Hindi)
  • Ekka (Kannada)
  • Erikku (Malayalam)
  • Akanda (Marathi)
  • Akado (Gujarati)
  • Pellerukku (Tamil)
  • Jilledu (Telugu)
  • Aakanda (Bengali)

Scientific classification of Shveta Arka

Kingdom Plantae
Class  Dicotyledons 
Subclass Gamopetalae
Series  Bicarpellate
Order Gentianales
Family  Apocynaceae
Genus Calotropis 
Species  gigantea

Scientific classification of Rakta Arka

Kingdom Plantae
Class  Dicotyledons 
Subclass Gamopetalae
Series  Bicarpellate
Order Gentianales
Family  Apocynaceae 
Genus Calotropis 
Species  procera

Botanical Name

Calotropis gigantea Linn. R. Br.

Calotropis procera Ait, R. Br.

Calo is derived from the word “Kalos” which means beautiful. Calo word is given to Arka because of the beautiful corona of flowers. procera means Tall.

Sub-family Asclepiadaceae 

Family – Apocynaceae (Arka Kula)

Ayurveda Reference for Arka

Classification of Arka as per Charaka and Sushruta

  • Charaka: Bhedniya Mahakshaya, Swedopaga Mahakshaya, Vamanopaga Mahakshaya, Shukra Shodhana Mahakshaya
  • Sushruta: Arkadi Gana

Arka's description in Brihtrayi

Charaka  Shusruta  Vagbhata 

(Ashtang Hridya)

C. S. Su. 1/ 112, 113 S. S. Su. 11/ 11 A. H. Su. 2/ 2
C. S. Su. 3/ 11 S. S. Su. 14/ 36 A. H. Su. 15/ 7, 28
C. S. Su. 4/ 4, 22 S. S. Su. 16/ 20 A. H. Su. 17/ 8
C. S. Su. 5/ 70 S. S. Su. 36/ 17 A. H. Su. 29/ 76
C. S. Su. 14/ 30, 41, 42 S. S. Su. 38/ 16 A. H. Su. 30/ 9
C. S. Su. 26/ 71 S. S. Su. 39/ 5, 6, 7 A. H. Chi. 1/ 163
C. S. Vi. 7/ 17, 22 S. S. Su. 46/ 284, 430 A. H. Chi. 4/ 26
C. S. Vi. 8/ 150, 155 S. S. Chi. 1/ 120 A. H. Chi. 5/ 61
C. S. Chi. 3/ 266 S. S. Chi. 2/ 91 A. H. Chi. 8/ 18, 24, 25, 151
C. S. Chi. 7/ 56, 84, 101, 105, 111 S. S. Chi. 4/ 32 A. H. Chi. 10/ 59
C. S. Chi. 10/ 32 S. S. Chi. 5/ 18 A. H. Chi. 12/ 20
C. S. Chi. 12/ 65, 70 S. S. Chi. 6/ 12 A. H. Chi. 15/ 48
C. S. Chi. 13/ 107 S. S. Chi. 8/ 48, 50 A. H. Chi. 17/ 25
C. S. Chi. 14/ 45, 46, 50, 54, 58 S. S. Chi. 9/ 10, 27, 35, 40, 51, 54, 58 A. H. Chi. 18/ 26
C. S. Chi. 15/ 183 S. S. Chi. 10/ 4, 15 A. H. Chi. 19/ 70, 79, 82, 83
C. S. Chi. 17/ 124 S. S. Chi. 16/ 26 A. H. Chi. 20/ 9, 16, 17
C. S. Chi. 21/ 125 S. S. Chi. 17/ 35, 41 A. H. Chi. 21/ 52
C. S. Chi. 23/ 55, 215, 242 S. S. Chi. 18/ 6, 45 A. H. Chi. 15/ 48
C. S. Chi. 25/ 87, 95 S. S. Chi. 19/ 39, 58 A. H. Ka. 1/ 17, 46
C. S. Chi. 26/ 12, 23 S. S. Chi. 23/ 15, 138 A. H. Ka. 4/ 17
C. S. Chi. 27/ 26, 48, 52 S. S. Chi. 25/ 18, 22 A. H. Ka. 5/ 45
C. S. Chi. 29/ 147 S. S. Chi. 38/ 59 A. H. U. 5/ 2
C. S. Chi. 30/ 70, 81, 108 S. S. Ka. 5/ 18, 85 A. H. U. 14/ 5
C. S. Si. 3/ 54 S. S. Ka. 6/ 3, 20 A. H. U. 18/ 2, 13, 45
C. S. Si. 10/ 22 S. S. Ka. 7/ 51 A. H. U. 22/ 20, 67
S. S. Ka. 8/ 102 A. H. U. 28/ 34
S. S. U. 11/ 5 A. H. U. 30/ 23, 38
S. S. U. 21/ 6, 23 A. H. U. 36/ 70
S. S. U. 41/ 39 A. H. U. 37/ 43
S. S. U. 51/ 37 A. H. U. 38/ 36
S. S. U. 57/ 12
S. S. U. 60/ 48

Arka's description in Brihtrayi as Alarka

Alaraka has always been mentioned with Arka never alone. It is usually considered as the white and bigger variety of Arka i.e Calotropis gigantea. Dalhana also describes it as a tree variety of Arka having white flowers.


  • Charaka- C. S. Vi. 7/ 17, C. S. Vi. 8/ 158, C. S. Si. 10/ 22
  • Shusruta- S.S. Su. 16/ 20, S. S. Su. 38/ 16, S. S. Su. 39/ 5, 6, 7, S. S. Chi. 6/ 12, S. S. Chi. 9/ 15
  • Vagbhata- A. H. Su. 15/ 28

Arka's description in Brihtrayi as Sada Pushpi synonym:

  • Charaka- C. S. Su. 4/ 23, C. S. Vi. 8/ 143, C. S. Ka. 1/ 15
  • Shusruta- S.S. Su. 43/ 2
  • Vagbhata- A. H. Ka. 1/ 8

Arka's description in Brihtrayi as Mandari:

Mandari is either Arka or Paribhadra

Shusruta- S. S. Chi. 19/ 63

Arka's description in Brihtrayi as Rupika synonym:

  • Shusruta- S.S. Su. 43/ 3, S. S. Chi. 9/ 5, S. S. Chi. 17/ 25, S. S. Ka. 7/ 52
  • Vagbhata- A. H. U. 18/ 57, A. H. U. 38/ 37

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Historical background of Arka Dwaya

Etymologically ‘Arka’ term means- ‘to be worshiped’. Krsnayajurvediyas believe that Arka is born- when saint Angirasa’s sweat drops have fallen on a goat while the great saint was traveling for the heavens. The greedy goat touched some leaves which turned out to be Arka. In Taittariya Samhita it is indicated that Arka does possess Usna and Tiksna properties. Atharva Sounakiya Samhita described Arkamani as Vajikarana (aphrodisiac). In Brahmana Granthas, Arka is equated with Anna and Agni. In Shatpada Brahmana equation is made between Arka human parts:

  • Arka Parna- Karna (ears)
  • Arka Puspi- Aksi (eye)
  • Arkakesi- Nasika (nose)
  • Arka Mudga- Ostha (lips)
  • Arkadhana- Teeth
  • Arkasthila- Tongue
  • Arkamula- Äntra (intestines)

Charaka described Arka among the Ksheere Dravyas in the first chapter of the Samhita for Vamana as well as Virechana. Shusruta and Vagbhata have mentioned a group with its name (Arkadigana). Apart from Virechana, it is used extensively in Ayurvedic therapeutics for the treatment of Kustha, Arsha, Udara, Gulma, etc. Except for Raja Nighantu, all the Nighantus related to herbs have described two varieties of Arka i.e white and red variety. Arka and Rajarka of Dhanvantari Nighantu appear to be Rakt Arka and Shweta Arka of Sodhala respectively. Kaiyadeva mentioned the two varieties as Arka and Rajarka. Bhavamisra’s Shwet Arka and Rakt Arka are identified with C. gigantea and C. procera respectively.


Controversy: We come across both white and purplish-red tinged flowers of C. gigantea in the wild. On the other hand, C. procera always appears red-colored and its flowers are distinguishable from those of C. gigantea. The height of the confusion is apparent since the recently published database of CCRAS shows these plants erroneously. With this background, it will be interesting to note that Raja Narahari described four varieties viz., Arka, Rajarka, Shukla Arka, and Shweta Mandaraka. Probably he followed the morphological variations as the basis for his classification. The possible explanation for his approach may be as follows:


Arka: C. procera


Rajarka: C. gigantea or C. procera growing to a greater height.


Shuklarka: C. gigantea with pure white flowers.


Sveta Madaraka: C. gigantea with purple-tinged flowers.

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External morphology of Calotropis gigantea Linn. R. Br

Calotropis gigantea is a tall shrub that grows up to 3 meters in height.


  • Bark: The bark of Shweta Arka is furrowed, yellowish-white.
  • Branches: Branches of Calotropis gigantea are stout, terete covered with fine-appressed cottony pubescence.
  • Leaves: Leaves of Shweta Arka are 10 – 20 cm long, 4 – 10 cm wide, sessile, elliptic, oblong or ovate-oblong, acute apex, thick glaucous w2green clothed beneath and above with fine cottony tomentum. Base narrow, cordate, and sometimes amplexicaul.
  • Inflorescence: Umbellate lateral cymes.
  • Flowers: Inodorous purplish or white, 3.5 to 5 cm in diameter. Pedicels are much longer than flowers. Covered with cottony wool. Flower buds are ovoid.
  • Fruit: Follicle, 9 – 10 cm long, broad, thick, fleshy green,
  • Seeds: Numerous, 6 x 5 mm, broadly ovate, narrowly margined, minutely tomentose, brown, coma- 2.5- 3 cm long.

External morphology of Calotropis procera R.Br.

An erect shrub usually grows 2 to 2.5 meters in height. Young parts clothed with white cottony tomentum.


  • Bark: Bark of Calotropis procera is soft, corky, and spongy.
  • Leaves: Subsessile, 6 to 15 cm long, 4.5 to 8 cm wide, broadly ovate, ovate-oblong, elliptic, or obovate, with short abrupt acumination.
  • Inflorescence: Umbellate cymes, which are first tomentose, but becoming nearly glabrous. Peduncles- 2.5 to 7.5 cm long and buds are globose.
  • Flowers: Flowers of Rakta Arka are Pedicellate, bracteate, bisexual, complete, actinomorphic, hypogynous, pentamerous, purplish red to white, 5 sepals and 5 petals.
  • Fruit: Etaerio of follicles, 7.5 to 10 cm long, 5- 7.5 cm wide, subglobose, ellipsoid, or ovoid.
  • Seeds: Seeds of Rakta Arka 6 x 4 mm, broadly ovate, acute, flattened, narrowly marginal, light brown.

Distribution of Arka

Calotropis procera is found throughout India, in similar habits as that of Calotropis gigantea though not with equal frequency. It is also distributed in Pakistan, Iran (Persia), and tropical Africa (Sudan).

The useful part of Arka

Root bark and flowers.

Calotropis gigantea

Root- bark- Root bark occurs as stout, curved, or quilled pieces, up to 5 mm in thickness. The rind in this case is deeply and longitudinally furrowed, buff-colored, soft, and easily friable. The inner bark is woody, thinner than the rind, and has a mealy white surface.

  • Fracture- Short and powdery
  • Odor- Characteristic, disagreeable
  • Taste- Bitter and acrid

Flowers- Dry flowers, with wiry glabrous pedicels more or less spreading corolla and five-lobed calyxes. Corolla lobes, deltoid, subacute, upto 12 mm long. Corona lobes up to 14 mm long, hairy, shorter than the column, curved on the back, above the involute obtuse spur. The flowers in dry condition measure up to 2.5 cm in diameter. The flower of the white variety is creamish while those of the red variety is pinkish purple.

Odor- Rancid

Taste- Acrid


Calotropis procera

Root- bark- Root bark is curved or quilled of various lengths and 2-3 mm thick. It consists of an outer soft and corky bark, having a longitudinally wrinkled surface of grayish yellow color and an inner woody bark with a granular surface of reddish-brown color.

Fracture- Short and powdery.

Odor- Characteristic, disagreeable

Taste- Bitter and acrid.

Flowers- Dry flowers with long cottony pedicels, recurved corolla and five-lobed calyx, corolla lobes erect, glabrous, up to 10 mm long, greenish-white in color, with a rose-purple Bloch within and on the tips. Corona lobes up to 7 mm long, glabrous equaling or exceeding the staminal column, straight or nearly so on the back above the acute upcurved spur. The flowers in dry condition measure 8 to 12 mm in diameter.

Odor- Pleasant

Taste- Acrid

Books Written by Dr. Sahil Gupta (B.A.M.S, M.H.A.)

Important phytoconstituent of Arka Dwaya

  • Important phytoconstituent of Calotropis gigantea

Laurane, saccharose, beta- amyrin, alpha and beta calotropeol, holarrhetine, cyanidin- 3- rhamnoglucoside, taraxasterol isovalerate, giganteol, calotroposide, calactin, calotoxin, calotropins DI & DII, gigantin, etc.


  • Important phytoconstituent of Calotropis procera

Alpha and Beta- Amyrins, cyanidin- 3- rhamnoglucoside, procesterol. Beta-sitosterol, calactin, calotoxin, calotropagenin, calotropin, calotropain, proceroside, proceragenin

Recent research on Arka Dwaya

  • Oliveira RS, Figueiredo IS, Freitas LB, Pinheiro RS, Brito GA, Alencar NM, Ramos MV, Ralph MT, Lima-Filho IV., Inflammation-induced by Phyto modulatory proteins from the latex of Calotropis procera (Asclepiadaceae) protects against Salmonella infection in a murine model of typhoid fever, inflammation Res. 2012 Apr 10. The inflammatory stimulus of C. Procera proteins increased phagocytosis and balanced the nitric oxide release in the bloodstream, preventing septic shock induced by salmonella infection.
  • Kumar VL, Padhy BM, the protective effect of the aqueous suspension of dried latex of Calotropis procera against oxidative stress and renal damage in diabetic rats. Bio cell. 2011 Dec; 35 (3): 63-9. The aqueous suspension of dried latex of C. procera exhibits antioxidant and antihyperglycemic properties and this affords protection against the complications associated with diabetes.
  • Mohamed MA, Hamed MM, Ahmed WS, Abdou AM, Antioxidant and cytotoxic flavonols from Calotropis procera. Z Naturforsch C. 2011 Nov-Dec; 66 (11. 12):547-54. Phytochemical investigations of Calotropis procera leaves have led to the isolation of two new compounds: quercetagetin-6-methyl ether 3-0-beta-D-4C1- galacturonopyranoside (3) and (E)-3-(4-methoxypheny]- 2-O-beta-D-4C1-glucopyranoside)-methyl propenoate (4), along with eleven known metabolites.
  • 4. Lima RC, Silva MC, Aguiar CC, Chaves EM, Dias KC, Macedo DS, de Sousa FC, Carvalho Kde M, Ramos MV, Vasconcelos SM, Anticonvulsant action of Calotropis procera latex proteins. Epilepsy Behav. 2012 Feb; 23(2): 123-6. Epub 2012 Jan 9. C. procera latex proteins have a central nervous system-depressant activity as reflected in their potentiation of pentobarbital-induced sleeping time and their anticonvulsant action in the PTZ-induced seizure model.
  • Tour N, Talele G, Anti-inflammatory and gastromucosal protective effects of Calotropis procera (Asclepiadaceae) stem bark. J. Nat Med. 2011 Jul; 65(3-4):598-605. Epub 2011 Mar 15. Chloroform extract (CH) and hydroalcoholic extract (HE) of the stem bark of Calotropis procera showed Significant anti-inflammatory activity and gastromucosal protective effects.
  • Rathod NR, Chitme HR, Irchhaiya R, Chandra R, Hypoglycemic effect of Calotopis gigantea Linn. Leave and flowers in Streptozotocin-induced Diabetic Rais Oman Med J. 2011 Mar; 26(2):104-8. Chloroform extracts of Calotropis gigantea leaves and flowers have significant anti-diabetic activity.
  • Analgesic activity
  • Anti-helminthic activity
  • Antispasmodic
  • Emetic
  • Anti-tumor
  • Hepatoprotective 
  • Gastro-intestinal irritant
  • Expectorant

Rasa Panchaka of Arka

Moola (Root)


Rasa (Taste) Katu (pungent), Tikat (bitter)
Guna (Virtue) Laghu (light), Ruksha (dry), Tikshana (sharp)
Virya (potency) Ushana (hot potency)
Vipaka (post-digestion) Katu (pungent)


Ksheera (Latex)


Rasa (Taste) Tikat (bitter), Lavana (Salt)
Guna (Virtue) Ushana (hot), Snigdha (oily)
Virya (potency) Ushana (hot potency)
Vipaka (post-digestion) Katu (pungent)


Pushpa (Flower)


Rasa (Taste) Madhura (sweet), Tikat (bitter)
Guna (Virtue) Laghu (light)
Virya (potency) Ushana (hot potency)
Vipaka (post-digestion) Katu (pungent)

Dosha Karma of Arka

Kapha Vata Shamaka. Kapha Shamaka because of Ushana Virya, Katu, Tikat Rasa and Katu Vipaka. Vata Shamaka because of Ushna Virya.

Karma (Action) of Arka

  • Arka mula (Root)- Kusthaghna, Kandughna, Vishaghna, Vrnaaropaka, Krmighna, Arsoghna, Dipana, Sophahara.
  • Arka Puspa (Flower)- Vrisya, Deepana, Pachana, Kasahara, Swashahara, Arsoghna.
  • Rakta variety- Kusthaghna, Krmighna, Arshoghna, Vishaghna, Sangrahi.
  • Dugdha (Latex)- Kusthaghna, Virecaka, Vamaka

Prayogarha Vyadhi (Therapeutic indication) of Arka

  • Arkamula (Root)- Kustha, Kandu, Visha, Vrna, Pliha- Vrddhi, Gulma, Arshas, Udara Roga, KrImi, Sopha.
  • Arkapuspa (Flower)- Klaivya, Arsha, Kasa, Shwitra, Kustha, Krmi, Raktapitta, Gulma, Sotha.
  • Arka dugdha (Latex)- Kustha, Gulma, Udara Roga, Shwitra.
  • Rajarka- Medoroga, Kustha, Vrna, Sopha, Kandu, Visarpa.
  • Suklarka- Mutrakriccha, Sopha, Vrna, Arti
  • Shweta Mandara- Mutrakrchra, Vrna, Krmi.
  • Arkapatra (Leaves)- Twak Roga, Gulma, Arsha, Shwasa, Pitta Vriddhi, Yakrit Roga, Krimi.

Aamyik Prayog (Therapeutic uses) of Arka

Aruchi (Loss of appetite): Sauvarcala, Narasara, Arka flower and Maricha in equal parts should be pounded together and pills are made 125 mg. each. This(Arkavati) stimulates digestion. (Siddha Bhaishjya Manni Mala. 4/ 254)


Visuchika (Cholera): Root Bark of Arka dried in shade is pounded with lemon juice and pills are made of the size of Bengal gram. This (Ravimuladi Vati) alleviates Visucika caused by Kapha and Vata. (Siddha Bhaishjya Manni Mala. 4/ 278)
Arsha (Piles):


  • Fumigation with the root of Arka and Sami is beneficial for piles. (Charaka Samhita Chikitsa Sthana. 14/ 49)
  •  Latex of Arka, the stem of Snuhi, tender leaves of Katukalabu, Karanja, and goat’s urine- this paste is one of the best remedies for piles. (Charaka Samhita Chikitsa Sthana. 14/ 57)
  • Panch Lavana (Five salts) and tender leaves of Arka mixed with oil and sours are burnt by closed heating. This Ksharaa taken with tepid water, wine or sour liquid alleviates piles caused by Vata. (Vanga Sena Arsha. 18 – 19)


Hikka (Hiccough):  One clove-shaped part within the flower of Arka is smeared with oil and kept in the throat. It checks for hiccoughs. (Siddha Bhaishjya Manni Mala. 4/ 354)


Swasha Roga (Bronchial asthma): Parched grains or churned drink made of barley and mixed with leaf-buds of Arka and honey relieves bronchial asthma. (Shusruta Samhita Uttara Tantra. 51. 36 – 37)


Kasa (Cough): In the morning sugar is soaked with 2-3 drops of latex and swallowed in the evening-the diet being sweet and unctuous. (Siddha Bhaishjya Manni Mala. 4/ 334)


Gala Roga (Throat disorder): Powdered Samudraka salt is impregnated with Arka latex and administered with cow milk in case of throat disorder in consumption (Gada Nigreha. 2. 9. 45)


Kamala (Jaundice): Arka is used with Ankota in Kamala. (Raja Amrittanda. 3/ 18)


Pleeha Vikara (Splenomegaly): Arka leaves mixed with salts are burnt by closed heating. This alkali should be taken with curd water in severe splenomegaly. (Vrinda Madhava. 37/ 43, Bhava Prakasha Samhita Chikitsa Sthana. 33/ 12)


Shleepada (Filaria): The root bark of Arka pounded with sour gruel is pasted on the affected part. It alleviates filaria. (Vrinda Madhava. 42. 3)


Urustambha (Stiffness of thighs: The part is rubbed with the root of Arka and the tender leaves cooked with water and oil without salt are given as vegetables in Urustambha. (Charaka Samhita Chikitsa Sthana. 27/ 51, 26)


Gandamala (Goiter): Paste consisting of Arka latex, Japa flower, oil and lac-juice applied to the affected part destroys Gandamala in a week. (Raja Amrittanda. 5/ 30)
Kustha (Leprosy and skin diseases):


  • Mustard oil cooked in the juice of Arka leaves with the paste of Haridra destroys scabies and eczema. (Vrinda Madhava. 51- 136)
  • In leprosy when maggots appear one should take the decoction of Nimba or that of Arka, Alarka, and Saptaparna. (Susruta Samhita Chikitsa Sthana. 9/ 51)
  • Mustard oil mixed with realgar, orpiment, Marica and Arka latex should be applied externally to the part in leprosy. (Charaka Samhita Sutra Sthana. 3/ 12)
  • Eczema disappears when there is Arka latex. (Vaidya Manorma. 11/ 48)
  • Application of the paste of Arka latex and Haridra removes black shade on the face. (Vanga Sena Kshudraroga. 54)


Vrna (Wounds):


  • It is one of the constituents of Samsodhana Ghrta. (Shusruta Samhita Sutra Sthana. 37/ 16) 
  • Leaves of Arka are used for covering a wound. (Charaka Samhita Chikitsa Sthana. 25/ 95)
  • Oil cooked with latex of Snuhi and Arka along with bee-wax heals chronic ulcers. (Sahastra Yoga Taila, 115)
  • Decoction of Jaya, Jati, Karavira, Arka, and Aragvadha singly is used for washing the wounds on the penis. (Vrinda Madhava. 49/ 9)


Shiro Pidika (Head-boils):


  • Powder of black gram is pounded with mustard oil and Arka latex and cooked by closed heating. The paste destroys head boils. (Gada Nigreha. 3. 1. 93)
  • Paste of Arka singly also destroys itching, secretion, heat, and pain. (Gada Nigreha. 3. 1. 94)


Netra Roga (Eye disease):


  • The root of Arka is pounded and kept in water for a while. This eye drop is useful for vision and alleviates eye disorders. (Vanga Sena. Netra. 43)
  • Seeds of Arka cooked in milk alleviate defects of vision. (Vaidya Manorma. 16/ 27)


Karna Roga (An ear disease): 


  • Leaf buds of Arka pounded with sours and mixed with oil and salt are kept within the divided stem of Snuhi, covered with the leaves of the same, and heated by the process of Putapaka. The juice so extracted is instilled into the ear. It removes earaches. (Sushruta Samhita Uttara Tantra. 21. 23- 24)
  • A mature leaf of Arka smeared with ghee and heated on fire is pressed to extract juice which is dropped into the ear in case of earache. (Vrinda Madhava. 59/ 12, Sharangdhara Samhita. 3. 11. 132)
  • Arka removes maggot, pus, etc from the ear. (Vaidya Manorma. 16/ 63)


Danta Roga (Caries): Filling with the latex of Saptaparna and Arka allays organisms and pain. (Ashtanga hridya Uttara Tantra. 22/ 20)
Vishakta (Poisoning):


  • Powder of the root bark of Arka mixed with Dhattura and Karavira and taken with cold water destroys snake poison. (Raja Amrittanda. 29/ 6)
  • Sesamum paste and oil, Arka latex, and jaggery all combined destroy the poison of dog bite. The patient should also be evacuated with the formulation having Arka latex. (Susruta Samhita Kalpa Sthana. 7/ 51- 52)
  • Arka latex applied to the spot alleviates the poison of the scorpion. (Gada Nigreha. 7. 5. 1)


Raktagulma: Flower of Arka mixed with oil promotes bleeding. (Yogaratnakara. 266)


Gynecological disorders (Yonivyapad): In the disease of the female genital tract caused by Kapha thefollowing remedy should be applied- powdered barley mixed withrock salt is impregnated with Arka latex and a suppository is madewhich is kept in the vagina followed by sprinkling with tepid water. (Charaka Samhita Chikitsa Sthana. 30/ 71)


Pidika (Boils): Root of Arka pounded with cow’s urine is pasted on the boils and thus, they subside. (Gada Nigreha. 4. 1. 120)


Vamana Virechanopaga (For evacuation): Arka latex is useful for both emesis and purgation. (Charaka Samhita Sutra Sthana. 1/ 115)


Vrishan vriddhi (Scrotal enlargement): The paste of the root bark of Arka pounded with sour-gruel alleviates even the severe scrotal enlargement. (Chakradutta. 40/ 21)

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Matra (Therapeutic administration and dosage) of Arka

  • Mula Twaka Churna (powder)- 500mg to 750 mg
  • Ksheer (latex)- ¼ to ½ grams.

Toxicity Of Arka

  • Root bark- In higher doses root bark causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Prolonged higher doses cause headache, burning micturition, and Leucorrhea.
  • Latex- Latex contains a poisonous principle due to which it has a caustic effect on the mucous membrane and tender skin. Ksheera (latex) of Arka results in increased heartbeat and respiration in animals leading to distress and ultimately death. Accidental splashing of latex into the eye causes congestion of the eye with a tear.

Calotropin is one of the most violent poisonous substances known. It is fifteen times more toxic than strychnine.
Fatal dose

  • Moola Twaka Churnarna (Root bark powder)- 2 – 5 grams
  • Patra Churna (Leaf powder)- 3- 10 grams


  • Stomach wash
  • Fresh leaf juice of Nalini (Indigofera tinctoria) may be administered.
  • Sugar solution to drink
  • Chincha (Tamarindus indica) Rasa (Juice).
  • Palash (Butea monosperma) Kwatha (Decoction)
  • Intake of a large quantity of milk or ghee.

Classical reference of Arka

Synonyms of Shveta Arka

Bhava Prakasha Samhita Guduchyadi Varga – 67

श्वेत अर्को गण रूपः स्यान मन्दारो वसुकोशपि च।

श्वेत पुष्पः सदापुष्प: स चालर्क: प्रतापस: ।।

Synonyms of Rakta Arka

Bhava Prakasha Samhita Guduchyadi Varga – 68

रक्तो अपरो अर्क नामा स्यादर्कपर्णी विकीरण: ।

रक्तपुष्प: शुक्लफलस्तथा अस्फोट: प्रकीर्तित: ।।

Action and properties

Bhava Prakasha Samhita Guduchyadi Varga – 69

अर्क द्विजम सरं वातकुष्ठकण्डू विषव्रणान्‌ ।

निहन्ति प्लीहगुल्मार्शः श्रलेष्मोदरशकृत्क़ृमीन्‌ ।

Bhava Prakasha Samhita Guduchyadi Varga – 70- 71

अर्क पुष्प 

अलर्क कुसुम वृष्य॑ लघु दीपनपाचनम्‌ ।

अरोचक प्रसेकार्श: कास श्वास निवारणम्‌ ।

रक्त अर्क पुष्पम मधुरं  सतिक्तम  कृमि  कुष्ठ घनम कफनाशञ्च।।  

अर्शो विष हन्ति च रक्त पित्तम संग्राहि गुल्मेश्वयथौहित॑ तत्‌ ।

Bhava Prakasha Samhita Guduchyadi Varga – 72

अर्क दुग्ध 

क्षीरं अर्कस्य तिक्तोष्ण स्निग्धं लवणं लघु। 

कुष्ठ गुल्म उदरहरम श्रेष्ठ्म मेतद्विरेचनं। 

Dhanwantri Nighantu, Karveeradi Varga- 13

अर्क: – अर्कस्तु कटुरुष्णश्च वातहृद्दीपन: सर: ।

शोफ व्रणहरः कण्डूकुष्ठप्लीहकृमीज्येत्‌ । ।

Dhanwantri Nighantu, Karveeradi Varga- 15

राजार्क: – राजर्क:  कटु तिक्तोष्णो कफमेदोविषापह: ।

वातकुष्ठ व्रणान्हन्ति शोफकण्डूविसर्पनुत्‌ । 

Raja Nighnatu, Karveeradi Varga- 28

अर्क: – अर्कस्तु कटुरुष्णश्च वातजिद्दीपनीयक: ।

शोफ व्रणहर: कण्डू कुष्ठक्रिमिविनाशन: ।।

Raja Nighnatu, Karveeradi Varga- 30

शुक्लार्क: श्वेतार्क कटु तिक्तोष्णे मलशोधनकारक: ।

मूत्रकृच्छास्तर शोफार्ति व्रण दोष विनाशन: ।।

Raja Nighnatu, Karveeradi Varga- 32

राजार्क: – राजार्क: कटु तिक्तोष्ण: कफमेदोविषापह: । 

वातकुष्ठ व्रणान हन्ति शोफकण्डू विसर्पनुत्‌ ।।

Raja Nighnatu, Karveeradi Varga- 34

श्वेत मन्दारः – श्वेतमन्दारकोअत्युष्णस्तिक्तो मलविशोधन: ।

मूत्रकृच्छु व्रण हन्ति कृमीनत्यन्तदारुणान्‌ ।।

Priya Nighantu Shatpushpadi Varga- 66, 67

अर्क पत्रं सरं भेदि तीक्ष्णं वातकफापहम्‌ ।

हन्ति त्वग्दोषगुल्मार्श: श्वासप्लीहयकृतकृमीन्‌ । ।

क्षीरमर्कस्य विज्ञेय॑ वमने स विरेचने ।

त्वग्दोष श्वित्र नाशि स्यान्रियतं लेपनादपि ।।

Charaka Samhita Sutra Sthana. 1/ 116

क्षीरमर्कस्य विज्ञायं वमने स विरेचने।। 

Siddha Bhaishjya Manni Mala. 4/ 254



सौवर्चलं सादरमर्क पुष्पं मरीचमेकत्र समं विमर्द्य। 

गुज्जाप्रमाणा: गुटिका विधेया: कर्षन्ति कार्श्य क्रमश: कृशानो: ।। 

Siddha Bhaishjya Manni Mala. 4/ 278


रविमूलादि वटी-

छायाविशुष्क॑ रविमूलवल्कं विशिष्य निम्बूकरसैर्विमृद्य। 

वट्यो निबद्धाश्चश्णकप्रमाणा विसूचिकां ध्नन्ति कफानिलोत्थाम्‌।। 

Charaka Samhita Chikitsa  Sthana. 14/ 49


अर्कमूलं शमीपत्रमर्शोम्यो धूपनं हितम्‌। 

आर्क पय: सुधाकाण्डं कटुकालाबुपल्लवा: । 

Charaka Samhita Chikitsa  Sthana. 14/ 57

करञ्ज्जो बस्तमूत्रज्च लेपनं श्रेष्ठमर्शसाम। 

Vnga Sena, Arsha, 18- 19

वातिके अर्शसि

लवणान्यर्कपन्राणि विनीय तरुणानि च।

तैलेनाम्लेन युक्तानि युक्तया क्षारं दहेद्‌ भिषक्।। 

उष्णोदकेन मद्दौर्वा रसैरम्लैश्न लाभतः ।

पीत: प्रशमयत्येष: क्षारो अर्शो वातसंभवम्‌।। 

Siddha Bhaishjya Mannimala. 5/ 354


तैलप्लुता विवस्वत्प्रसूनगर्भगलवड्धिकैकैव ।

सहसा कण्ठे क्षिप्ता हिक्कां हन्ति महदेतदाश्चर्यम्‌।।

Shusruta Samhita Uttara Tantra. 51/ 36, 37


धानाश्चप्यथ भक्षयेत्‌। 

अर्काड्कुरै्भावितानां यवानां साध्वनेकश: ।

तर्पणम वा पिबेदेषां सक्षौद्रं शवासपीडित: ।। 

Siddha Bhaishjya Mannimala. 4/ 334


कृत्वां सितां प्रभाते रविदुग्धद्विब्रिबिन्दुभिर्दिग्धाम्‌।

सारय॑ निगीर्य खादन्‌ मधुरस्निग्ध॑ विमुच्यते कासात्‌।। 

Gada Nigreha, 2. 9. 45

क्षये गल शुद्धये 

सामुद्रकज्च संचूर्ण्य भानु दुग्धेन भावितम्‌। 

पाययेद्‌ गव्यदुग्धेन गले मल विशुद्धये।। 

Raja Amrittanda, 3/ 18


अंकोलमूलमथवा अर्क जटा प्रपिष्टा स्वच्छेन तण्डुलजलेन सम प्रयत्नात्‌।

स्यात्‌ कामलामयहरी कृतनावनानामाघ्रातमात्रमपि जालिनिकाफल वा।। 

Vrinda Madhava. 37/ 43, Bhava Prakasha Samhita Chikitsa Sthana, 33/ 12

प्लीह रोगे 

अर्कपत्र सलवणमन्तर्धूमं विदाहयेत्‌।

मस्तुना वा पिबेत्‌ क्षारं प्लीह रोगं व्यपोहति।। 

Vrinda Madhava. 


संपिष्टमारनालेन रूपिकामूलवल्कलम्‌।

प्रलेषाच्छलीपदं हन्ति बदधमूलमपि स्थिरम्।। 

Charaka Samhita Chikitsa Sthana, 27/ 26



सुनिषण्णकनिम्बार्क वेत्रारग्वधपल्लते: ।। 

Raja Amrittanda. 5/ 30


अर्कक्षारजपापुष्पतैललाक्षारसै: समैः ।

कण्ठमाला शमं याति प्रलिप्ता सप्तभिर्दिनि: ।। 

Vrinda Madhava. 51/ 136

त्वग् रोगे

अर्कपत्ररसे पक्‍व रजनीकल्कसंयुतम्‌।

कटु तैलं निहन्त्येतत्‌ कच्छूपामाविचर्चिका: ।। 

Charaka Samhita Sutra Sthana, 3/ 12

मन:शिलाले मरिचानि तैलमार्क पय: कुष्ठहर: प्रदेह: ।

Vaidya Manorma. 11/ 48

भगवन्‌ भास्करक्षीर पामाहमभिवादये।

यत्र देशे भवान्‌ प्राप्तस्तदेश न व्रजाम्यहम्‌।। 

Vanga Sena Kshudfra Roga. 54

अर्कक्षीरहरिद्राभ्यां मर्दयित्वा प्रलेपनात्‌।

मुख कार्ष्ण्य शमं याति चिरकालोदभवे ध्रुवम्‌।। 

Shusruta Samhita Chikitsa Sthana, 9/ 51

निम्ब क्वाथं जातसत्व: पिबेद्‌ वा क्वाथं क्वार्थ वा अर्कालर्कसप्तच्छदानाम्‌।

Shusruta Samhita Sutra Sthana, 37/ 16


अर्को उतमा स्नुहि क्षीरं पिष्द्वा क्षारोत्तमानि च।

जातीमूल हरिद्रे द्वये कासीसं कटुरोहिणीम्‌।। 

पूर्वोद्विस्तानि चान्यानि कुर्यात्‌ संशोधन घृतम्‌।। 

Charaka Samhita Chikitsa Sthana, 25/ 15

व्रण प्रच्छादने विद्वान्‌ पत्राण्यकस्य चादिशेत्‌। 

Shashra Yoga, Taila, 115

महावृक्षार्कजे दुग्थे मधूच्छिष्टेन साधितम्‌।

तैल॑ सकृतप्रयोगेण दुष्ट व्रण विरोपणम्‌।।

Vrinda Madhava. 49/ 9

मेढ्र पाके 

जपाजात्यश्वमारार्कशम्याकानां दलैः पृथक्‌।

कृत प्रक्षालने क्वार् मेढ्र पाके प्रयोजयेत्‌।। 

Gada Nigreha, Shiro Roga, 3. 1. 93- 94


कटुतैलार्कदुग्धाभ्यां मर्दिता पुटपाकजा।

माषचूर्णमषी हन्याच्छिरो अरूंषि प्रलेपत: ।। 

रूपिकालेपनं कण्डूक्लेददाहार्तिनाशनम्‌।। 

Vanga Sena, Netra Roga. 43


आर्कञ्च मूलमा पोथ्य  मुहूर्त वारिणि न्यसेत्‌।

एतदाश्च्योतन दृष्ट्यं नयनामयनाशनम्‌।। 

Vaidya Manorma, 16/ 27


दुग्ध पात्र पक्वं अर्क बीजमाशु नाशयेत्‌।

अन्धकारमक्षिसंभव॑ नृणां सुनिश्चितम्‌।। 

Shusruta Samhita Uttara Tantra, 21/ 23, 24


अर्का अन्कुरानम्लपिष्टांस्तैलाक्तान्‌ लवणान्वितान।

सन्निदध्यात्‌ स्नुहि काण्डे कोरिते तच्छदावृत।। 

पुटपाकक्रमस्विन्नान्‌ पीडयेदारसागमात्‌।

सुखोष्णं तद्रसं कर्ण दापयेच्छूलशान्तये।।

Vrinda Madhava. 59/ 12, Sharangdhara Samhita. 3. 11. 132

अर्कस्य पत्र परिणामपीतमाज्येन लिप्तं शिखिनावत तप्तं। 

आपीडय तोय॑ श्रवणे निषिक्त॑ निहन्ति शूल॑ बहुवेदनाञ्च्। 

Vaidya Manorma. 16/ 63

सपूयपूतीन्‌ जन्त्वादीन्‌ जयेद्‌ वा अर्कमथापि वा। 

Ashtanga Hridya Uttara Tantra, 22/ 20


सप्तच्छदा अर्क क्षीराभ्यां पूरण क्रिमिशूलजित्‌। 

Raja Amrittanda. 29/ 6



अर्कमूलत्वच चूर्णं पित्तं शीतेन वारिणा।

धत्तूरकाश्वमाराभ्यां गोनाशविषनाशनम्‌।। 

Shusruta Samhita Kalpa Sthana. 7/ 52


पललं तिलतैलञ्च रूपिकाया: पयो गुड: ।

निहन्ति विषमालर्क मेघवृन्दमिवानिल: ।। 

Shusruta Samhita Kalpa Sthana. 7/ 51

अर्कक्षीरयुतज्चास्य दद्याच्चापि विशोधनम्‌। 

Gada Nigreha. 7. 5. 1


अर्कक्षीर धुवं पुंसां प्रच्छन्नागतशोणिते।

न्यस्त दंशे क्षणादेव वृश्चिकस्य विषं हरेत।। 

Yoga Ratnakara, page. 266

रक्त गुल्म     

तैल अर्कज्म पुष्प रुधिरस्रावकारि च।

Charaka Samhita Chikitsa Sthana. 30/ 71

योनिव्यापदि श्लेष्मा 

भावितं पयसा अर्कजं यव चूर्णं प्रशाम्यति। 

वर्ति: कृता मुहुर्धार्या तत: सेच्या सुखाम्बुना।। 

Gada Nigreha. 4. 1. 120


नराणामर्कमूलेन पाक गत्वा प्रशाम्यति ।

गोमूत्रपरिपिष्टेन पिटका: संप्रलेपिता: ।। 

Charaka Samhita Sutra Sthana. 1/ 115


क्षीरमर्कस्य विज्ञेय॑ वमने सविरेचने। 

Chakra Dutta. 40/ 21


निष्पिष्टमारनालेन रूपिकामूलवल्कलम्‌।

लेपो वृद्धयामयं हन्ति बदधमूलमपि दुढम्‌।। 

Arka use in Rasa Shastra

For purification of Abhraka (mica), Arka is used.

Specific Formulation of Arka

  • Arka Lavana for Pliha Vriddhi, Gulma
  • Arkeshwara Rasa for Rakta Pitta
  • Arka Ksheeradi lepa for Arsha
  • Arka Murti Rasa for Tridoshaja Jwara
  • Arka Pushpadi vati for Udara Shool, Agni Mandya
  • Arka Manashiladi Taila for Pama Kustha, Kandu

Contraindication and side effects of Arka

Avoid the use of Arka during pregnancy and lactation. Overdosage may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and toxicity, so it’s better to use Arka under medical supervision.

Suggestive reading regarding Arka

  • Meena, Ajay & Yadav, A. & Meda, Mruthyumjaya. (2011). Ayurvedic uses and pharmacological activities of Calotropis procera Linn. Asian J Tradit Med. 6. 45-53.
  • Saxena VK and Saxena YP, Isolation and study of triterpenoids from Calotropis procera. J. Res. Indian Med. Yoga Homeopathy, 1979, 14: 152-154.
  • Lal SD, Kumar P and Pannu DS, Quercetin-3-rutinoside in Calotropis procera. J Sci Res, 1985, 7 (1): 141-142.
  • Larhsini M, Bousaid M, Lazrek HB, and Jana M, Evaluation of antifungal and molluscicidal properties of extracts of Calotropis procera. Fitotrapia,1997, 68: 371-373.
  • Kumar VL, Sangraula H, Dewan S. Preliminary studies on the analgesic activity of latex of Calotropris procera. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2000, 73(1-2): 307-311.
  • Vasconcelos Silvania MM. Antinociceptive activity of Calotropis procera latex in mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2005, 99(1): 125-129.
  • Ranab AC, Kamatha. Jagadish V. Preliminary study on the antifertility activity of Calotropis procera roots in female rats. Fitoterapia, 2002, 73 (1): 111-115.
  • Mathura Rajani, Gupta Suresh K. Anti-tumor studies with extracts of Calotropis procera (Ait.) R.Br. root employing Hep2 cells and their possible mechanism of action. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, 2009.
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Article Written By: Dr. Sahil Gupta (B.A.M.S., M.H.A.)

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