Erukku (Calotropis) Wonderful Benefits & Medicinal Uses


Erukku is a genus of flowering plants in the family Apocynaceae. The plant is called milkweed plant or crown flower in english,  erukku in Tamil, madar in Hindi. It is a plant that grows wildly all over in Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Thailand, Sri Lanka & Philippines. 

Many of us think this plant has very little use but on the contrary every part of this plant has got wonderful medicinal values. Crown flower’s botanical name is calotropis gigantea. The flowers are fragrant and are often used in making floral tassels in our culture.

Erukku is actually considered a weed in India. There are two varieties of the plant that is very common in India, one produces white flowers and another produces purple flowers.

Though it is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine, all parts of this plant is poisonous at certain dosage. When you cut the leaves and stem, a milky juice will flow out, this juice was used as an arrow poison in olden days.
If you break the leaves from the plant, a white milky latex will flow out, if we touch this latex and then touch our eyes, it will cause reversible eye blindness. Though this plant is very poisonous, if we know how to use it correctly we can get wonderful benefits out of it.

Calotropis contains chemicals that might help thin mucous and make it easier to cough up. In studies in animals, calotropis has shown some activity against pain, inflammation, bacteria, fever, and ulcers caused by alcohol and medications such as aspirin, indomethacin (Indocin), and others.

Erukku is used for digestive disorders including diarrhea, constipation and stomach ulcers; for painful conditions including toothache, cramps, and joint pain; and for parasitic infections including elephantiasis and worms. Some people use Erukku for syphilis, boils, inflammation (swelling), epilepsy, hysteria, fever, muscular spasm, warts, leprosy, gout, snakebites, and cancer.

In inhalation therapy, smoke from the bark is inhaled for coughs, asthma, and to cause sweating.

Vernacular Names of Erukku

Erukku is known with names such as Giant Milkweed, Crown Flower, Giant Calotrope, Swallow-wort, Calotropis gigantean, Biduri, Indian milkweed, Kapal kapal, Kayu berduri, Kemengu, Lechoso, Pua kalaunu, Rak-dok, Rembaga, Remiga, Widuri, Bow-string hemp, Crown-flower, Akon, bowstring hemp, calotrope, crownplant, giant milkweed and giant rubber bush.

Erukku Benefits & Medicinal Uses

1. Treat Diabetes

It is curious to know that Erukku has certain anti-diabetic agents that are hailed for having the good influence on Diabetes. Recent study quote that the leaves and flower of Erukku have some potential anti-diabetic agents that can treat diabetes with ease. It has certain properties that can enhance the sensitivity of insulin and stimulate the production of inulin simultaneously.


2. Good anti-inflammatory nature

The anti-inflammatory nature of Erukku helps us treat inflammatory diseases such as gout and rheumatism. Warm the crushed leaves and apply it on painful joints for immediate relief.


3. Rid Blemishes of the skin

You may apply the latex of the plant mixed with turmeric to the facial skin to get rid of discoloration and blemishes. You can add suitable churna and cure vitiligo.


4. Treat Ear pain

To get a cure for ear disorders or pain in the ear, use yellow Erukku leaves. Wash the leaves in water and extract the juice after you dry them. To 1 tablespoon of the juice, add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Add Cinnamon, asafoetida, calamus, and garlic (1/4 teaspoon each) to the mixture.

Cool, strain, and store it for use as ear drops. Or, you can use the leaves roasted with ghee to make the juice. Then, use it as ear drops. You can also cure deafness by taking the juice from a yellow leaf and putting it in the ear.


5. Helps bowel movement

The preparations of the Erukku plant help ease constipation.


6. Improve speed of healing

Calotropis Gigantea helps improve the healing of the superficial wounds on the skin.


7. Excellent vermifuge

Like the flower, the Erukku’s leaves also find use in curing worm infestations.


8. Cure for boils

Take the latex of the Calotropis Gigantea tree. Mix it with turmeric and apply it on the affected area.


9. Hypoglycemic effect

The Erukku leaves find a use for controlling the high levels of sugar in the blood.


10. Vomit therapy

Latex of the Erukku’s leaves can cause vomiting and purgation. Hence, it finds use in purgation and vomiting therapy.


11. Cure foot blister

You get immediate relief for foot blister by applying the latex of the Erukku tree.


12. Cure cholera

Take the dried bark of the Erukku plant and powder it. To this, we add pepper powder and ginger juice. We roll it into small tablets the size of a pea. Take the tablet every two hours with mint juice. This will help cure the fever.


13. Antidote for snake poison

During the olden times, people chewed the leaves of the Calotropis Gigantea plant and applied the latex over the wound of a snake bite.


14. Relief for a toothache

We apply the latex on the gums to get relief from a toothache.


15. Relief from gastritis

They process the leaves of the Erukku plant and use it to get relief from gastritis.


16. Cure for chronic diarrhea and indigestion

Use the preparations of the Erukku plant to cure diarrhea that is long lasting. It settles the stomach and helps augment the digestive process.


17. Use as an abortifacient

Milky discharge of the Erukku plant is an abortifacient. So, women who want to abort their child will use the latex preparations.


18. Spasmogenic property

The preparations of the plant are capable of Spasmogenic effect. So, it finds use in the treatment of a variety of diseases.


19. Treat sexually transmitted diseases

People use the white flowers of the Erukku plant for treating diseases such as syphilis.


20. Good anti-fungal property

You can treat diseases such as candida by using the Sodom plant preparations. The medicine can prove poisonous if you overdose so be careful.

Precautions and Side Effects

  • Sap (latex) is somewhat poisonous.
  • It is used for poisoning arrows.
  • All parts of the plant are toxic, due to the presence of several cardiac glycosides.
  • Plant is also known to cause allergic contact dermatitis, and the latex causes kerato-conjunctivitis.
  • Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested.
  • Avoid use during pregnancy and breast feeding.
  • Excessive use is considered poisonous.
  • Dosage of different parts of this herb should be carefully modulated as over dosage can induce severe vomiting and diarrhea in patients.
  • It should not be given to children.

References : Link1 | Link2 | Link3 

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