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Anacyclus pyrethrum

Anacyclus pyrethrum (Akarkara) is an aphrodisiac herb in ayurveda that is said to enhance male vitality and virility in addition to being a brain tonic. Evidence is preliminary, but it seems to be a profertility agent and testosterone boosting herb with some neuroprotective effects.

Our evidence-based analysis on anacyclus pyrethrum features 12 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by Kamal Patel .
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Summary of Anacyclus pyrethrum

Primary Information, Benefits, Effects, and Important Facts

Anacyclus pyrethrum is a pro-fertility and virility enhancing herb that is currently in preliminary testing in rodents. The main bioactives in this plant are the alkylamides (similar to Spilanthes Acmella and Maca), and preliminary evidence seems to confirm its traditional claims of fertility and libido enhancement as well as its role as a 'brain tonic' (since it appears to have anti-amnesiac and anti-convulsive effects).

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Things To Know & Note

Primary Function:

Also Known As

Akarkara, Vajikaran Rasayana, Pellitory Root, Spanish Chamomile, pyrethrin

  • Anacyclus pyrethrum is not involved with Pyrethrum insecticides, as those are made from the plant Tanacetum cinerariifolium; the similarity of the two is in name only

  • It has been reported (anecdotally and through practise) that application of Anacyclus Pyrethrum to the skin causes reddening and warmth with some tingling

How to Take Anacyclus pyrethrum

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

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.

Research Breakdown on Anacyclus pyrethrum

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Sharma V, et al. Androgenic and Spermatogenic Activity of Alkylamide-Rich Ethanol Solution Extract of Anacyclus pyrethrum DC. Phytother Res. (2012)
  2. ^ a b c d Pahuja M, et al. Root extract of Anacyclus pyrethrum ameliorates seizures, seizure-induced oxidative stress and cognitive impairment in experimental animals. Epilepsy Res. (2012)
  3. ^ a b c d Bendjeddou D, Lalaoui K, Satta D. Immunostimulating activity of the hot water-soluble polysaccharide extracts of Anacyclus pyrethrum, Alpinia galanga and Citrullus colocynthis. J Ethnopharmacol. (2003)
  5. ^ Isolation and Structure of an N-isoButyldienediynamide from Pellitory (Anacyclus pyrethrum DC.).
  6. ^ Boonen J, et al. LC-MS N-alkylamide profiling of an ethanolic Anacyclus pyrethrum root extract. Planta Med. (2012)
  7. ^ a b Memory-enhancing activity of Anacyclus pyrethrum in albino Wistar rats.
  8. ^ a b Sharma V, et al. Immunomodulatory activity of petroleum ether extract of Anacyclus pyrethrum. Pharm Biol. (2010)
  9. ^ Sharma V, et al. Spilanthes acmella ethanolic flower extract: LC-MS alkylamide profiling and its effects on sexual behavior in male rats. Phytomedicine. (2011)
  10. ^ a b c d Evaluation of the Anabolic, Aphrodisiac and Reproductive Activity of Anacyclus Pyrethrum DC in Male Rats.
  11. ^ a b c Sharma V, et al. Effects of petroleum ether extract of Anacyclus pyrethrum DC. on sexual behavior in male rats. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. (2010)
  12. ^ Toxicological evaluation of ethanolic extract of Anacyclus pyrethrum in albino wistar rats.