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Agriculture > Medicinal Plants > Kasthurimanjal (Curcuma aromatica)




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.

Propagation

It is propagated vegetatively by rhizomes and by tissue culture methods.

Varieties

At present, only local types are available for cultivation.

Land preparation

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.

Seed rate

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.

Planting

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.

Fertilizer application

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.

Aftercultivation

Carry out gap filling if necessary within one month. Remove weeds two months after planting followed by topdressing, earthing up and mulching.

Plant protection

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.

Processing

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.

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