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What other names is Costus known by?

Aplotaxis lappa, Auckland Costus, Aucklandia costus, Aucklandia Lappa, Costus Oil, Costus Root, Huile de Costus, Kushtha, Kuth, Mokko, Mokkou, Mu Xiang, Racine de Costus, Radix Aucklandiae, Saussurea costus, Saussurea lappa, Saussureae Radix, Yun Mu Xiang.

What is Costus?

Costus is an herb. The root and oil from the root are used to make medicine.

Costus root is used for treating worm (nematode) infections.

Costus oil is used for asthma, cough, gas, and severe intestinal diseases such as dysentery and cholera. It is also used as a tonic and to stimulate digestion.

In foods and beverages, costus oil is used as a flavoring component.

In manufacturing, costus oil is used as a fixative and fragrance in cosmetics.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Worm (nematode) infections. Some research shows that, in children, costus root reduces the number of worm eggs in the feces about as effectively as treatment with a standard medication called pyrantel pamoate. Egg reduction is a measure of the effectiveness of the treatment.
  • Digestive problems.
  • Gas.
  • Asthma.
  • Cough.
  • Dysentery.
  • Cholera.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of costus for these uses.

How does Costus work?

Costus root contains chemicals that seem to kill worms (nematodes). Some researchers think that the chemicals in costus oil might prevent the airways from narrowing, and this effect lowers blood pressure.

Are there safety concerns?

Costus oil is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in amounts found in foods. Costus root is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth, appropriately. However, costus often contains a contaminant called aristolochic acid. Aristolochic acid damages the kidneys and causes cancer. Costus products that contain aristolochic acid are UNSAFE. Don't use any costus preparation unless lab tests prove it is free of aristolochic acid. Under law, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can confiscate any plant product that it believes contains aristolochic acid. The product won't be released until the maker proves it is aristolochic acid-free.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking costus if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Costus may cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking costus.

Dosing considerations for Costus.

The appropriate dose of costus depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for costus. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.


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Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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Reviewed on 9/17/2019

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