Costus is the root of the plant Saussurea lappa, a tall perennial plant that grows on high valleys in the Kashmir region. The root and oil from the root are used to make medicine. The plant was used by the Romans as a perfume and also as a culinary spice. In recent times, it is used in a variety of weight-loss products and alternative medicine treatments. It can be used alone, but most of the time combined with other herbs to achieve better results. The active ingredients in costus come from its essential oil. To obtain the oil, dried costus root is chopped and softened in warm water, then distilled with steam. The resulting mixture’s active ingredients are then extracted, resulting in a yellow-brown fluid that has a musty odour.
An herb that belongs to the family Asteraceae, originated in India it has been used for thousands of years for its health benefits. It claims to be an effective alterative, diuretic, tonic, antispasmodic, anthelmintic, stomachic, anodyne, stimulant, insecticidal, aromatic, aphrodisiac, expectorant, carminative, bronchodilator, prophylatic and astringent. In a study conducted on the root extracts of Costus, it was found that when root extracts interacted with blood, the lymphocytic count was increased to a significant extent. This suggests that the root can be used for enhancing immunity. Some research also suggests that costus extract may be effective against infections such as cholera and typhoid, and that it may kill intestinal parasites such as roundworms. In India, costus is sometimes applied externally or inhaled to open the bronchial passages.
Costus is beneficial in curing cough, asthma, cholera, jaundice, leprosy, rheumatism and a number of other diseases. Externally, it is applied as an ointment to wounds, skin diseases and tumours. It is used in the treatment of swelling and fullness of the stomach, blockage and irregular menses, pulmonary disorders, difficulty in swallowing and rotting or wasting of muscle tissues. Its oil from the root is very beneficial in the treatment of rheumatism.
Costus herb should not be used without contacting a health care provider best if someone that specializes in herbs.