Curcuma aromatica known as vanharidra in Sanskrit jangali-haldi
in Hindi and kasthurimanjal in Malayalam is a rhizomatous herbaceous medicinal
plant. The rhizome is an odoriferous ingredient of the cosmetics used for the cure
of chronic skin diseases caused by impure blood. It is used as appetizer and tonic
to women after childbirth. It is also useful against high fever and worm infestation.
Climate and soil
It is distributed in Southeast Asia. The plant grows wild in the eastern Himalayas
and in moist deciduous forests of Kerala and Karnataka. It is grown as a subsistence
crop in backyard, kitchen garden and interspaces of other crops in areas with good
rainfall. Well-drained rich loamy soils are ideal for the crop.
It is propagated vegetatively by rhizomes and by tissue culture methods.
At present, only local types are available for cultivation.
Clear the areas, remove all the pebbles and stones and plough the field to good
tilth. Incorporate FYM or organic manure @ 10-15 t/ha. Prepare raised seedbeds of
1.2 m breadth and of convenient length.
A healthy disease free mother rhizome with at least one germinated sprout is the
planting material. It is required at the rate of 1500 kg/ha.
Take small pits at 60 x 40 cm spacing on the seedbed and plant seed rhizomes with
the germinating sprout facing upwards. Cover the rhizome with FYM and mulch the
bed with leaves or straw.
Apply fertilizers @ 100:50:50 N:P2O5:K2O kg/ha;
entire P2O5 as basal and N and K2O in two equal
splits at planting and two months after planting.
Carry out gap filling if necessary within one month. Remove weeds two months after
planting followed by topdressing, earthing up and mulching.
No serious pests and diseases are encountered in the crop.
Harvesting and yield
The crop matures in 7 months. Drying up of leaves is the indication of maturity.
Dig out the rhizomes without causing damage. Remove the dry leaves and roots. The
cleaned rhizomes are either marketed or dried and stored. The average yield of fresh
rhizome is 28 t/ha which on drying gives 27% recovery.
The rhizome is thinly sliced and steam distilled for 3-4 hours for extracting the
essential oil and the yield is 90 litres per ha. Oil recovery is 0.33% on fresh
weight basis and 1.05% on dry weight basis.