An attractive medicinal plant used in various medicines. The aromatic essential
oil of the roots is widely used in perfumery, as a condiment, and as a folk medicine.
Asians employ the rhizomes and leaves as a perfume in cosmetics, hair washes and
powders. They are used to protect the clothing against insects. They are chewed
with betel nut.
Kacholam is a plant adapted for tropical climate. Fertile loamy soil having good
drainage is ideal for the crop. Laterite soil with heavy organic manure application
is also well suited.
Preparation of land
Prepare the land to a good tilth during March by ploughing or digging. On receipt
of pre-monsoon showers in April, prepare beds of 1 m width 25 cm height and of convenient
length with spacing of 40 cm between beds.
Whole or split rhizome with at least one healthy sprout is the planting material
in kacholam. Select well developed healthy and disease free rhizomes. Rhizomes can
be stored in cool dry place or pits dug under shade, plastered with mud or cowdung.
Two weeks before planting of the new crop, smoking the rhizomes by spreading it
on Glycosmis pentaphylla ('panal') leaves is practised in certain localities.
Mostly local varieties are under cultivation and they include collections from Koothattukulam,
Thodupuzha, Varandarapalli, Kalladikode, Ponnukkara, Perumbavoor and Vellanikkara.
Rajani and Kasthuri are newly released high yielding varieties with an yield potential
of more than 2 tonnes dry rhizomes per ha and have good aroma and flavour.
Season and method of planting
Planting is done during the month `of May with the receipt of four or five pre-monsoon
showers. Take small pits in the beds in rows with a spacing of 20 x 15 cm and at
a depth of 4-5 cm and plant rhizomes with at least one viable healthy bud facing
upwards. Adopt seed rate of 700-800 kg/ha.
Apply FYM or compost as basal dose at the rate of 20 t/ha, either by broadcasting
and ploughing or by covering the rhizome in pits after planting. Apply N, P2O5
and K2O @ 50, 50 and 50 kg/ha at the time of the first and second weeding.
After planting, mulch the beds with dry or green leaves at the rate of 15 t/ha.
Remove weeds as and when necessary. Apply fertilizers and earth up the crop during
the first and second weeding (45 and 90 days after planting). Avoid water stagnation
in the beds. Further weeding will not be necessary because of the spreading of leaves
on the soil surface in the beds.
During heavy rains, leaf rot disease occurs in certain localities. For controlling
this disease, drench the beds with 1% Bordeaux mixture. Thiram 0.2% can also be
Harvesting and curing
The crop can be harvested seven months after planting. Drying of the leaves is the
indication of crop maturity for harvest. Harvest the crop carefully without cutting
the rhizomes, remove dried leaves and roots, wash the rhizome in water and dry.
With sharp knife, chop the rhizomes into circular pieces of uniform size except
the end portion, which has to be cut separately. Spread the cut rhizomes uniformly
on clean floor and allow drying for four days. On fourth day, heap the rhizomes
and keep it overnight. On the next day it is again spread and dried. Clean the dried
produce, bag and store in cool dry place or market it. Prolonged storage can cause
insect and fungus attack.