Ekka (Calotropis gigantea)

Ekka (Calotropis gigantea)

Calotropis gigantea (Crown flower, Ekka)

The Calotropis gigantea, is a flowering plant species in the genus Calotropis. It belongs to the family Apocyanaceae. This plant is native to India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, China, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental garden plant. 

The plant has been used traditionally to treat various ailments such as fever, cough, cold, asthma, bronchitis, etc.

Ekka is a natural remedy for cough and cold. It contains anti-inflammatory properties and is effective against respiratory tract infections. It helps reduce inflammation and swelling in the lungs. It can be taken orally or applied externally to affected areas.

Ekka (Calotropis gigantea)

Chemical Composition

A study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research reported that the plant contains alkaloids like calotropagenin, proceratenin, and calotropin. These compounds exhibit anti-inflammatory activity. Another study published in Phytochemistry International showed that calotropagenin exhibits cytotoxic activity against human lung adenocarcinoma cell lines A549 and H460.

Ekka (Calotropis gigantea)

Pharmacological activity

Anti-inflammatory: Calotropis gigantea suppresses the release of inflammatory mediators such as histamine, serotonin, bradykinins, prostaglandins, and cytokines. It inhibits the synthesis of cyclooxygenase enzymes, thereby reducing the production of prostaglandins.

Antibacterial: Calotropis gigantea observes antibacterial activity against many pathogenic microorganisms including Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Escherichia coli, and so on.

Antioxidant: Calotropis gigantea presented antioxidant activity in vitro. It scavenges free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced during oxidative stress.

Cytotoxicity: Calotropis gigantea offers cytotoxic effects on several types of cancer cells. It induces apoptosis in MCF7 breast cancer cells and PC3 prostate cancer cells. It also causes necrosis in HepG2 hepatocellular carcinoma cells.

Immunomodulatory: Calotropis gigantea stimulates phagocytic activity of macrophages and enhances their ability to kill intracellular pathogens. It stimulates the proliferation of lymphocytes and increases the number of T helper cells.

Analgesic: Calotropis gigantea suppresses pain by inhibiting the action of substance P and calcitonin gene related peptide.

Ekka (Calotropis gigantea)


This plant is used traditionally for the treatment of fever, cough, asthma, bronchitis, dysentery, diarrhea, jaundice, piles, skin diseases, ulcers, wounds, snake bites, scorpion stings, ringworm, eczema, psoriasis, leprosy, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, gout, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, liver disorders, hypertension, heart disease, epilepsy, mental illness, infertility, impotence, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, nervous tension, anxiety, depression, insomnia, stress, and obesity. It is also used as an antidote against poisonous snakes and scorpions.

Calotropis gigantea has been used for centuries to treat various ailments such as fever, coughs, colds, asthma, bronchitis, stomach aches, diarrhea, dysentery, malaria, and skin diseases. The plant contains alkaloids that help fight infections.

Calotropis gigantea has been used for centuries to treat snakebites. The plant contains alkaloids which help reduce swelling and pain. Calotropis also helps prevent infection from bacteria present in the wound.

In Ayurvedic medicine, it is used for treating fever, cough, asthma, and bronchitis. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is used to treat colds, fever, pneumonia, and other respiratory problems.

It is also used to treat rheumatism, arthritis, gout, and lumbago.

Leaves are used as vegetables while flowers, fruits, seeds, and stems are used as herbal medicine. Resin, latex, bark, and root are used as ointments, poultices, and decoctions. Flowers are used as tea.

Seeds are used as powder and oil. Roots are used as juice and decoction. Latex is used as an emulsion. The bark is used as a tincture. Fluid extract of the whole plant is used as syrup. Seed oil is used as a massage oil. Root paste is applied externally. Leaf juice is given orally. Flower juice is given orally. Fruits are eaten raw.

Precautions and side effects 

This herb should be taken under professional supervision if you are pregnant, nursing, or planning to become pregnant. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, dry mouth, constipation, blurred vision, difficulty urinating, changes in skin color, irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, unusual bleeding or bruising, swelling of the face or tongue, fainting, trouble breathing, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, coma, or death. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop taking this herb. Do not use this herb if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not give it to children. Keep out of reach of children. Store away from heat and moisture. 

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Extra reading

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Happy Gardening!

Dr. Vandana K.