Last Updated: February 21 2023

Akarkara (Anacyclus pyrethrum) is an herb used in traditional medicine that is also sold as a supplement. There is currently a lack of clinical evidence to support its numerous claimed benefits.

Akarkara is most often used for

What is Akarkara?

Akarkara is an herb (Anacyclus pyrethrum) used in traditional medicine that contains many phytochemicals, including phenols and flavonoids.[13][14][15][16] Its extracts are claimed to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsive, analgesic (painkilling), and aphrodisiac properties.[13][14][17] Supplements derived from Anacyclus pyrethrum are often sold under the name Akarkara, but other names like pellitory root are also used.

What are Akarkara’s main benefits?

Cell culture (in vitro) experiments show that extracts from Anacyclus pyrethrum have antimicrobial and antioxidant activity.[17][18] Several animal studies have confirmed the antioxidant activity,[19][20] along with anti-inflammatory[14][19][20] and immunomodulatory effects.[21][22][23] Animal studies also show that extracts from Anacyclus pyrethrum can act as a painkiller,[14][24][19] have neuroprotective effects against seizures in models of epilepsy,[25][26][27][28] and enhance memory.[28][29] Further studies in male rats also find evidence of a benefit to sperm health (count, viability, and motility[30][31]) and libido.[32][33]

Unfortunately, these effects have only been demonstrated in cell culture or animal experiments; no clinical data exist. Therefore, it is not currently possible to make conclusions about the potential efficacy of Akarkara supplements on human health. The only human data currently available is from a study of 13 women in whom a 12-week treatment with a face cream containing Anacyclus pyrethrum extracts showed potential to protect skin from damage.[34]

What are Akarkara’s main drawbacks?

The main drawback is the lack of randomized controlled trials assessing the effects of Akarkara supplements or extracts from Anacyclus pyrethrum on humans. Therefore, it remains to be determined whether Akarkara can provide any benefit to humans. Importantly, the animal studies cited above don’t report any major side effects following treatment with extracts from Anacyclus pyrethrum. Furthermore, pharmacological studies in rodents find evidence of toxicity at high doses (e.g., 2,000 milligrams of extract per kilogram of body weight)[35] but not when extracts from Anacyclus pyrethrum are administered at low doses.[19][35][36] Finally, the one aforementioned human trial with Akarkara did not report on any safety or adverse events data.[34] Consequently, Akarkara supplements are likely safe for human consumption, but because there is currently no data on toxicology, side effects, or adverse outcomes from human studies, it is not yet possible to make firm conclusions about their safety.

How does Akarkara work?

The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties of Akarkara shown in cell culture and animal experiments are likely caused by the various phytochemicals — phenols, flavonoids, tannins, and polysaccharides — identified in Anacyclus pyrethrum extracts.[13][14][15][16][17][26][31] However, determining exactly how extracts from Anacyclus pyrethrum cause the numerous documented benefits in animal experiments will only be possible if mechanistic studies are completed. Therefore, it is currently unclear exactly how Akarkara might protect against seizures,[25][26][27][28] enhance memory,[28][29] improve sperm health,[30][31] or increase libido,[32][33] as shown in animal models. Furthermore, these effects must be tested in clinical trials to demonstrate the relevance of Akarkara supplements to human health.

What else is Akarkara known as?
Note that Akarkara is also known as:
  • Akarkara
  • Vajikaran Rasayana
  • Pellitory Root
  • Spanish Chamomile
  • Pyrethrin
  • Anacyclus Pyrethrum
Dosage information

Studies in rats use a range of 50-150 mg/kg bodyweight Anacyclus pyrethrum roots (DC) daily, with all tested extracts (ethanolic, petroleum ether, water) appearing to be effective. This results in an estimated human dosage range of:

  • 550-1,600 mg daily for a 150 lb person
  • 700-2,200 mg daily for a 200 lb person
  • 900-2,700 mg daily for a 250 lb person

These are just estimates as to the effective range of the root extract in humans, since there is currently no human evidence to base recommendations on.

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6.^Boonen J, Sharma V, Dixit VK, Burvenich C, De Spiegeleer BLC-MS N-alkylamide profiling of an ethanolic Anacyclus pyrethrum root extractPlanta Med.(2012 Nov)
8.^Sharma V, Thakur M, Chauhan NS, Dixit VKImmunomodulatory activity of petroleum ether extract of Anacyclus pyrethrumPharm Biol.(2010 Nov)
9.^Sharma V, Boonen J, Chauhan NS, Thakur M, De Spiegeleer B, Dixit VKSpilanthes acmella ethanolic flower extract: LC-MS alkylamide profiling and its effects on sexual behavior in male ratsPhytomedicine.(2011 Oct 15)
11.^Sharma V, Thakur M, Chauhan NS, Dixit VKEffects of petroleum ether extract of Anacyclus pyrethrum DC. on sexual behavior in male ratsZhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao.(2010 Aug)