Qust-al-Bahri-Qust (Saussaurea lappa)

The Magic Potion from India

By Dr M. Laiq Ali Khan

The plant of Qust, which is known as costus is two meter in length and creeps on the ground. It is generally found in the marshy and wet places along the rivers at the heights up to 5000 fts. These plants are found extensively in north west and north east sub Himalayan regions along the course of rivers. The Plant bears big serrated leaves, but the roots are being used for medicinal purpose. The roots are collected in the month of September and October. These are cut into small pieces and sold in the market.

Morphologically these look like liquorice roots but are very much fragrant. The labourers working on the hills used to prepare this to ward off the cold and it is a nutritive tonic.

Hazrat Zaid Bin Arqam narrates- ” We were directed by Rasool Allah (saw) to treat pleurisy with Qust Bahri and Roghan-e-Zaitoon” (Tirmizi, Sanad-e-Ahmed, Ibn Maja)

Hazrat Anas Bin Malik narrates that Rasool Allah (saw) stated ” Out of those things which are being used by you for treatment, the cupping and Qust Bahri are the best treatment.”

(Bukhari, Muslim, Sanad-e-Ahmed, Tirmizi, Nisai, Moota Imam Malik). Hazrat Anas Bin Malik narrates that Rasool Allah (saw) stated ” Dont let your children press their throats when this disease grips them lest the pain harm them.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

Hazrat Jabir Bin Abdullah narrates that Rasool Allah (saw) stated ” Oh ladies, it is a matter of sorrow for you that you kill your children and yourself. If someone’s child gets inflammation in his throat or Headache then he/she should take Qust and after grinding it in water, apply it to the child” (Mustadrak-al-Hakim, AL-Shashi, Ibn-al-Gharat)

Hazrat Jabir Bin Abdullah narrates that Rasool Allah (saw) stated “Don’t burn the glottis of your children, when you are having waras and quest-e-Hindi, make them lick these.”

“When Nabi-e-Akram (saw) entered the house of Hazrat Aisha (R), she was having a child bleeding through mouth and nose. Prophet (saw) asked, what was that? She answered, “the child has Azraa. Prophet (saw) said, “Alas ! ladies, that you used to kill your children like that. If in future any child got affected with Azra in his glottis or he felt headache, then ground the Qust-e-Hindi and make him lick it. Therefore, Hazrat Aisha carried out his instructions and the child became healthy.” (Muslim)

Ibn-al-Qayyim states that it contains different therapeutic advantages. It expels the phlegm and checks its excessive production. It is effective in common cold and corhyza. It is a good tonic for stomach and liver. It is an antidote for poisons, useful in Quadrant fevers. It removes the stains on the face if applied with honey and water. Galen suggests it in the cases of Tetanus and intestinal parasites.

Imam Zahbi says that it is useful in paralysis and increases the libido, an antidote for snake poison and its oil is effective in back pain.

According to the authentic books of Al-Hadith, it is described in almost all the places along with the description of cupping. This description might be interpreted by some writers to mean that if somebody fails to use the cupping, he may use the Qust in lieu of cupping. Azra is an ancient term, might be interpreted as Tonsilitis, in which Tonsils become swollen and painful with or without pus formation. Hence, this drug is especially effective against any type of Tonsilitis.

In case of Pleurisy, it should be used locally with Roghan-e-Zaitoon.

Masih says that Qust is a good tonic for all organs of the body, a good carminative, an anti inflammatory and effective against pleurisy.


Qust might be used in all types of phlegmatic diseases. It is effective in general weakness after diarrhoea and cholera. From olden days, even the days of Rasool Allah (saw), it was used to wash the internal organs by the females after the menses.

An oil prepared by Qust and olive oil is effective aginst Alopecia and tones up the body. It is effective against T.Versicolor if applied with water on the affected parts. It is a good remedy for freckles and chloasma if applied on face, with vinegar it is effective in Ringworm. The modern researches suggest that it is a Blood purifier, Antiseptic and increases the cutaneous circulation. Hence, it might be used in Dandruff, freekles, chloasma and Ringworm. It is a good insect repellant. Hence, might be used to keep off the insects from the clothes. Internally it is a good expectorant, anti-spasmodic and Neurotonic, hence, might be used for cough, Bronchitis, Bronchial Asthma, Paralysis, facial Palsy and Neurasthenia.