We need help! In recent months our income dropped considerably and we need more donations from our users to avoid getting into financial difficulty. More >>>

Follow Us:

 

Saussurea costus - (Falc.)Lipsch.

Common Name Costus
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats A casual in irrigated areas, 2000 - 3300 metres from Pakistan to Himachel Pradesh[51]. Usually found in moist shady situations in Kashmir, sometimes forming the undergrowth in birch forests[211].
Range E. Asia - Himalayas.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Saussurea costus Costus


Saussurea costus Costus

Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.

Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Saussurea costus is a PERENNIAL growing to 3 m (9ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

S. lappa. (Decne.)Schultz-Bip.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment.

The aromatic root is sometimes used as a spice[183]. It has a characteristic penetrating odour reminiscent of violet, orris and vetiver[183].

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Anodyne;  Antibacterial;  Antispasmodic;  Aphrodisiac;  Carminative;  Emmenagogue;  Skin;  Stimulant;  
Tonic;  Vermifuge.

Costus is a commonly used medicinal herb in China and is considered to be one of their 50 fundamental herbs[218]. It is also used in Ayurvedic medicine where it is valued mainly for its tonic, stimulant and antiseptic properties[254]. It is said to be aphrodisiac and to be able to prevent the hair turning grey[254]. The root is anodyne, antibacterial, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, carminative, skin, stimulant, stomachic, tonic and vermifuge[61, 147, 176, 218]. It is used internally in the treatment of abdominal distension and pain, chest pains due to liver problems and jaundice, gall bladder pain, constipation associated with energy stagnation, and asthma[238]. The root is harvested in the autumn or spring and either dried for later use or decocted for the essential oil[238]. It is normally used with other herbs[218]. The root is also used in Tibetan medicine where it is considered to have an acrid, sweet and bitter taste with a neutral potency[241]. It is used in the treatment of swelling and fullness of the stomach, blockage and irregular menses, pulmonary disorders, difficulty in swallowing and rotting/wasting of muscle tissues[241]. An oil from the root is very beneficial in the treatment of rheumatism[211].

Other Uses

Essential;  Hair;  Incense.

An essential oil obtained from the roots is used medicinally, in perfumery, incenses and as a hair rinse when it is said to darken grey hair[61]. It has a strong lingering scent[238]. The smell is at first like violets, but as it ages it can become more fur-like or eventually become unpleasantly goat-like[245]. The roots are cut into lengths about 8cm long and then dried before being exported[211]. Smaller pieces of the root are ground into a powder and then used to make incense sticks[211]. The longer clean pieces are cut into very thin slices and then burnt at shrines or used as a tonic in hot baths[211].

Cultivation details

Succeeds in most soils in a sunny well-drained position[1]. Cultivated as a medicinal plant and for its use in perfumery in the Himalayas[51, 245]. The dried root has something of the mossy smell of violets when fresh, becoming fur-like or even unpleasantly goat-like with age[245]. Most of the roots are exported to China and Japan and the plant forms quite a large article of commerce in Kashmir, the trade being controlled by the State[211]. Wild plants have been greatly over-collected and the plant has been placed on the CITES I list of endangered species - it is now illegal to dig them up for export[238].

Propagation

Seed - we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame in the spring. Surface sow, or only just cover the seed, and make sure that the compost does not dry out. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Division in spring might be possible.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants

 

Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment

Author

(Falc.)Lipsch.

Botanical References

51200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Satish   Thu Jul 14 04:39:55 2005

Spasmodic in asthama and cough, rheumatism, brochuial asthama

l vijayanandakumar   Fri Feb 3 2006

is it called the insulin plant and for what reason

K Davidhizar   Sat Dec 26 2009

Horizon Herbs has seeds for this plant.

Useful Houseplants

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.

3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Saussurea costus  
All the information contained in these pages is Copyright (C) Plants For A Future, 1996-2012.
Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567,
Web Design & Management
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.