Last Updated: July 22, 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

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Source and Composition



Anacyclus Pyrethrum (of the family Asteraceae) is a plant and herb from Ayurveda referred to as Akarhara (dried root extract, also called pyrethrin[1]) or Pellitory root while being under the classification of Vajikaran Rasayana with other virility enhancers. It is traditionally used as an aphrodisiac and fertility herb as well as a brain tonic for the treatment of paralysis, hemiplegia, cephalalgia (headache), epilepsy, and rheumatism.[2] It is also thought to 'purge' the body of toxins by stimulating blood flow to the brain and face, and causing increased salivation and mucus flow.[3]

In other places, it is known as akarkarabh or akallaka (North Africa) where it originated only to later be introduced to India.[4] It is also referred to as spanish chamomile due to looking visually similar to the chamomile plant.

Anacyclus pyrethrum is a herb traditionally used for male vitality and virility, with additional benefits in cognition



Anaclcus Pyrethrum tends to contain (root extract unless otherwise specified):

  • 13 Alkylamides mostly based off of isobutylamide[1] of which includes N-isobutyldienediynamide (Pellitorine or Pyrethrine)[5][6] and Anacylin[4] as the major alkylamides
  • Hydrocarolin[4]
  • Inulin[4]
  • Sesamin[4]
  • Polysaccharides in the hot water fragment of solution[3]


The known bioactives of the root extract appear to be the alkylamides, although the composition of this plant are not well known at this moment in time





200-600mg/kg of an ethanolic anacyclus pyrethrum extract 30 minutes prior to an electroshock induced seizure appeared to exert protective effects with the lowest dose being most effective (71.37% recovery) but at a lower potency than 25mg/kg phenytoin.[4] Elsewhere, a hydroalcoholic extract at 50-500mg/kg orally showed protective effects when ingested prior to a pentylenetetrazole-induced seizure (50-100% protection) and a higher dose (100-1,000mg/kg) showed protection against electroshock induced seiure (16.7-50%).[2]

The changes in oxidative biomarkers (enzymes and TBARS) as well as acetylcholinesterase seen with seizures are reduced with pretreatment of anacyclus pyrethrum.[2]

Anacyclus Pyrethrum appears to have anti-convulsive properties which are seen following oral ingestion in rats


Memory and Cognition

In rats with scopolamine-induced memory impairment, supplementation of an ethanolic extract of anacyclus pyrethrum at 50-200mg/kg was effective in preserving acquisition and retention of memory with the 100-200mg/kg dosage being comparable in potency to the reference drug Piracetam (200mg/kg).[7] Anacyclus pyrethrum also appears to enhance social memory with a potency comparable to piracetam.[7] Anti-amnesiac effects have also been noted in rats with induced seizures (normally reduces cognitive performance) due to the anti-convulsive properties of anacyclus pyrethrum.[2]

This herb appears to have respectable anti-amnesiac properties, although its pro-cognitive properties (for usage as a nootropic) have not yet been evaluated and it does not appear to exceed the reference drug in potency


Inflammation and Immunology



Anacyclus pyrethrum polysaccharide at 25-50mg/kg (I.P injection) was able to increase the phagocytocic index of macrophages in the range of 50-115% with 10mg/kg and 100mg/kg not being effective, a potency greater than Citrullus colocynthis yet lesser than Alpinia galanga.[3] When tested in vivo, 50-100mg/kg of a petroleum ether extract was able to preserve phagocytosis in the presence of cyclophosphamide.[8]

Anacyclus pyrethrum appears to increase phagocytosis of macrophages and prevent their immunosuppresion



Immune cell count in spleen cells appears to be enhanced with 25-50mg/kg injections of anacyclus pyrethrum polysaccharide, suggesting a mitogenic effect.[3]

Appears to have mitogenic effects, although it is not ascertained which cell populations are stimulated


Interactions with Hormones



Supplementation of anacyclus pyrethrum ethanolic root extract (50-150mg/kg) over 28 days in rats noted dose-dependent increases in testosterone and luteinizing hormone to approximately two-fold of baseline (exact values not given).[1] It is though anacyclyus works via stimulating the hypothalamus, as the alkylaimde class of molecules (also seen in Spilanthes acmella) have been known to work in this manner.[9]

May increase testosterone in otherwise normal rats alongside its fertility enhancing effects


Interactions with Sexuality



A water extract of anacyclus pyrethrum at 50-100mg/kg over 28 days appears to possess libido enhancing properties due to enhancing the penile erection index (202%), mounting and intromission frequency (increases of 196-266% and 173-384%, respectively), and latency time for mounting and intromission (82-90% and 63-76% of baseline, respectively).[10] All parameters follow dose and time dependence (100mg/kg outperforming 50mg/kg and 28 days outperforming 15 days) and persisted for up to 15 days after supplementation[10] and similar values have been noted elsewhere with the petroleum ether extract.[11]

Appears to have relatively potent libido enhancing properties which persist for a few weeks after supplement cessation


Interactions with Organ Systems



Oral ingestion of 50-150mg/kg of an ethanolic root extract of anacyclus pyrethrum over 28 days to male rats appears to causes increases in the weight of the testicles (2.6-12.3%) and in particular both the epididymus (8.6-26.1%) and seminal vesicles (4.3-9.8%).[1] The higher doses were comparable to 0.5mg/kg injections of testosterone and was not associated with any abnormal histological signs[1] and similar changes have been seen with a lyophilized water extract[10] and petroleum ether extract.[11]

In regards to semen the above doses have been noted to increase sperm motility, viability, fructose content, and count.[1]

There appear to be increases in testicular weight and seminal parameters suggest increased fertility in male rats



In rats, oral ingestion of 50-150mg/kg of an ethanolic root extract of anacyclus pyrethrum over 28 days appears to increase the weight of the prostate (7.5-21.5%) associated with androgenic activity.[1] This has been noted elsewhere to a similar but slightly lesser degree.[10][11]

There appears to be an increase in prostate weight associated with this herb, possibly related to the androgenic activities


Safety and Toxicology



300-2,000mg/kg of the ethanolic root extract failed to acutely kill any rats within 24 hours of observation[4] and elsewhere a study noting that '50mg/kg and 100mg/kg were 1/20th and 1/10th of the LD50 suggest that this value has been established at 1,000mg/kg for longterm use (of the petroleum root extract).[8] However, a more prolonged study (90 days) using 1,000mg/kg of the ethanolic extract in rats failed to find any evidence of toxicity.[12]

Toxicological data is preliminary and by no means expansive, but currently it seems like the dosages used for supplements are not associated with any lethality

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)