JATROPHA: THE BIO-FUEL PLANT
Jatropha curcas L.
Jatropha belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae is a multipurpose shrub or small tree of significant importance because of its several industrial and medicinal uses. Jatropha oil is a potential source of 'biofuel' in countries where the resources to import fossil fuel is poor. It could be served as a panacea for energy shortages in the future world.
Jatropha is otherwise known as Kattamanakku. In India it is found almost in all states and is generally grown as a live fence for protection of agricultural fields against damage by livestock as unpalatable to cattle and goats. There is no need to protect it from livestock during farming. It is a small ever-green, nearly glabrous tree or soft wooden shrub, 3 to 4 metres high. It can be cultivated in all the tropical & sub-tropical regions.
Latex : The latex of Jatropha contains the alkaloids such as 'jatrophine', 'jatropham' 'Jatrophone' and 'curcain' which are believed to have anti-cancerous properties. Leaves contain apigenin, vitexin and isovitexin. The - amyrin, stigmosterol and stigmastenes along with two new flavonoid glycosides found in leaves and twigs. The seed fat is rich in palmitic, oleic and linoleic acids. The toxicity of the seeds is because of 'curcin' alkaloids.
It is used to dress sores and ulcers and inflamed tongues. The alkaloids of latex such as Jatrophine and Jatropham are found to have anticancerous properties. The latex is applied topically against honey bees and wasp stings. It is also used as an external application for skin diseases, burns ring worms, haemorrhoids and ulcer. The tender twigs are used for cleaning teeth.
Leaves, Bark & Roots
The leaves are regarded as galactogogue, rubefacient and antiparasitic, used against scabies, paralysis, rheumatism and hard tumors. The leaf juice is used as external application for piles. It is also applied for inflammations of the tongue in babies. The twig sap is a stypic to dress wounds and ulcers. An emulsion of the sap with benzyl benzoate is said to be effective against scabies wet eczema and dermatitis.
The juice is reported to relieve tooth ache and strengthen gums. The juice of the plant is also used as purgative and haemostatic. The roots are reported to have anthelmintic action and used as antidote for snake bites. The bark is used as fish poison and used externally for sores. The decoction of the bark and roots is given for the treatment in rheumatism, leprosy, dyspepsia and diarrhoea. The root bark is used to external applications for sores.
Seeds & Oil
Seeds are apreient and used for dropsy, gout, paralysis and skin ailments. The Jatropha curcas oil Possess purgative properties. It is used as an external application for skin diseases and rheumatism. It is reported to be abortificient, emetic, laxative and efficacious in dropsy, sciatica and paralysis. In Java, the oil is applied to hair as growth stimulant. It is also used for sores and domestic livestock.
The extracts are used in folk remedies for their abortifacient, anodyne, antiseptic, cicatrizant, depurative, diuretic, emetic, laxative, norcotic, purgative, rubefacient, styptic and vermifuge properties. It is a folk remedy for dropsy, dysentery, dyspepsia, eczema, erysipelas, fever, gonorrhea, inflammation, jaundice neuralgia, paralysis, parturition, pleurisy, pnemonia, rhematism, scabies, sores, syphilis, tetanus, tumors, ulcers and yellow fever.
Besides the above, the plant has gained prominence as a source of biofuel. The seeds contains moisture (6.62%), protein (18.2%), fat (38%), carbohydrates (17.3%), fibre (15.5%) and ash (4.5%). The oil content is 35-40% in seeds and 50 - 60% in kernel. The oil contain 21% unsaturated fatty acids. The oil obtained from decorticated seeds by expression or solvent extraction is known in the trade as 'Jatropha'. The oil on refining can be used as a biofuel in the form of extender, to the HSD to the tune of 20%. This is an environmentally safe, cost effective and renewable source of non-conventional energy as a promising substitute to hydel power, diesel, kerosene, LPG, coal, firewood etc. This non-conventional energy source will save considerable foreign exchange and help in removing regional imbalance in energy use. Jatropha oil can be used as a direct substitute to kerosene as fuel for cooking and heating. It was also observed that the smoke of jatropha oil is almost odorless and nonpungent, unlike kerosene and the fumes do not have an unpleasant smell in the food.
Diesel forms nearly 40% of the total energy consumed in the form of oil. The annual import of crude oil is estimated to be Rs. 50,000 crores. The oil import will be an unbearable drain on our foreign exchange reserves and the resultant foreign exchange crunch can cripple the entire economy. The non-edible vegetable oil of Jatropha curcas has the requisite potential of providing a promising and commercially viable alternative to diesel as it has the desirable physico-chemical and performance characteristics comparable to diesel to facilitate continuing to run the machine without much in change design. Oil yield are given in Table 1.
|Year of Planting||Expected yield/ha of irrigated crop
The crude jatropha oil has been used as safer material to control stored food grain from insects, snails, housefly, aphids, pink boll worm, Spodoptera, Helicoverpa, damping off, wilt etc. The fumes are used against house bed bugs. The seeds are considered anthelminthic and when ground with palm oil is used as rat poison. The ether extract shows anitibiotic activity against Styphylococcus aureus and Echerichia coli. The bi-product glycerin emanating out of Bio-Diesel clarification is used for soap making. Biogas is also produced from the oil cake and it contains 70 percent methane. Its degradation rate is 70-80 per cent. The leaves of this plant can be used to rear Eri-silkworm and Tusser silk worm. In Java and Malayisa the tender leaves are eaten after cooking. The bark of Jatropha curcas yields a dark blue dye and is used for colouring cloth, fishing nets and lines. The yellow dye extracted from leaves and tender stems is used to colour cotton clothes.
The plants shed their leaves in winter months form a mulch around the base of the plant. Besides, it provide plentiful organic matter and increase the microbial activity including earthworm. The tender branches and leaves are widely used to manure coconut trees. The trees release the O2 into the environment and accumulates CO2 in the plants. On incorporation it enriches the soil carbon. The plants reduce soil erosion and will help to conserve moisture. Jatropha can be grown as agro-forestry crop on wastelands or barren and marginal lands where no irrigation facilities are available. Being a xerophytic succulent, its water requirement is extremely low and it can stand long periods of drought by shedding most of its leaves to reduce the transpiration loss. It can also be used for land reclamation. It is a crop with low capital investment, short gestation period and long productive period. The country's 175 m ha of wasteland could be put effectively for rural income generation and fuel production.
It is commonly grown as a live hedge around agricultural fields, meadows and forest plantation as it can be easily propagated, grows rapidly, hardy and is not browsed by goats or cattle. It can be curt or lopped at any desired height and is well adopted for hedges around agricultural fields. It does not compete bunds, it can provide shelter from dessicating winds. Nine species of Jatropha are being grown in gardens for their ornamental foliage and flowers. Jatropha curcas can be used for quick greening of waste land for eco rehabilitation and bio-aesthetic reasons. It can be used as a filler of all ugly vacant plots. It also suits to the agro forestry system. Growing Jatropha with or without irrigation makes it a promising and profitable agro-forestry crop both under rainfed and irrigated conditions ensuring optimal utilization of land, manpower, water and financial resources.
Origin and Distribution
It is believed to be native of south America and Africa but later spread to other continents of the world by Portugese settlers. The Arabs have been using this plant for medicinal purpose. Today it is found scattered in all the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world such as Brazil, Fiji, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico and Salvador. There are more than 200 different names for it all over the world which indicates its great significance to man and various possibilities of its uses. Though it is found in almost all the State of India as a live fence. Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are the main states cultivating this crop.
Description of the plant
It is a evergreen, soft wooded glabrous shrub or erect tree of 6 m height with spreading branches and stubby twigs, with a milky or yellowish latex exudate. Leaves deciduous, alternate but apically crowded, ovate, acute to acuminate basally cordate, 3-5 lobed in outline, 6-40 cm long, 6-35 cm broad, the petioles 2.5-7.5 cm long. Flowers in April-May in several to many greenish cymes, Yellowish, bellshaped, sepals 5, broadly deltoid. Male Flowers many with 10 stamens, 5 united at the base only, 5 united into a column. Female flowers borne singly with elliptic, 3 celled, triovulate ovary with 3 spreading bifurcate stigma, flowers in April-May. Fruit is a capsule, 2.5 -4 cm long and diameter, finally splitting into 3 valves, all or two of which commonly have an oblong black seed of 2 x 1 cm size.
Description of the species
The genus Jatropha has 175 species and there are 12 species found to occur in India. The important species are
- J. glandulifera var green Roxb (Jangli arand). It is a weed found scattered in Southern India. Leaves and stems are green in colour and possess oil grands.
- J. glandulifera var pink Roxb (pink jangli arand). It is also a weed plant and it differs with previous species by its pinkish leaves and stems.
- J. Multiflora (Coral plant/Bhadradanti). It is an ornamental shrub, leaves are 8-10 lobed, flowers are pink in colour.
- J. gossipifolia var. rose (Bherenda). It is a profusely flowering ornamental shrub, flowers are rose coloured and capsules are small and possess less oil.
- J. gossipifolia var. pink L. (Pink bherenda). It is also a pink flowering shrub with small capsules suitable for ornamental purposes.
- J. nana dehz or Gibs. Small shrub, leaves three lobed, fruits are small, oil content is less, good for hedge.
- J. podagrica. It is a bonsai plant, flowers are rose, leaves broadly ovate, alternate, and the basal stem is bulged like a bottle.
Two types viz., (1) Nicaragua type and (2) Mexican type are reported in the Western world. Mexican types are free of toxic substances and the Nicaragua types are poisonous types. The centres of diversity of land races and ecotypes are central and South America. In Madagascar J.mahafalensis (2n=22) is commonly cultivated. In India as there is no named varieties and the local types are widely being cultivated.
Soil : Jatropha curcas is a hardy plant well adopted to arid and semi arid conditions. It has low fertility and moisture demand and can come up stony, gravelly or shallow and even calcareous soils. The crop is undemanding in soil type and even does not require tillage. It does not thrive in wetland conditions.
Climate : It can be grown over a wide range of arid or semi-arid climatic conditions. Whilst jatropha grows well in low rainfall conditions (200 mm), it can also tolerate to high rainfall (upto 1200 mm) conditions. It can stand long periods of drought by shedding most of its leaves to reduce the transpiration loss. It tolerates annual temperature range of 18-28.5Â°C. For the emergence of seeds, hot and humid climate is preferred. Flowering is induced in rainy season and bears fruits in winter.
Propagation : Jatropha can be propagated from seeds as well as cuttings. The seeds can be sorted and the plumpy and filled seeds alone to be selected. The overnight soaking of seeds in water improves the germination percentage. The pot mixture may be filled up in 18 x 13 cm polybags and the seeds are sown. The seedlings germinates within a week time and will be ready for transplanting in 45 days. Plants from seeds develop a typical taproot and four lateral roots. Seedlings starts bearing from 3-4 yeas. The rooted semihard wood and hard wood cuttings also may be used for planting. Vegetative propagation is easy and results in rapid growth. Cuttings are ready for planting in 2-3 months time and they start bearing in the same year of planting.
Seed rate and spacing
The seed rate for planting one hectare is 5-6 kg. The spacing is 2 x 2 m and will accommodate 2500 plants per hectare under irrigated or partially irrigated conditions. In South Indian conditions 2 x 1.5 m spacing (3250 plants) is found to be ideal. On rainfed wastelands, high density planting with a spacing of 2 x 1 m or 1.5 x 1.5 m accommodating 5000 or 4444 plants per hectare respectively shall also be desirable.
Field preparation and Planting
The land should be ploughed once or twice depending on the nature of soil. In case of heavy soil deep ploughing is given whereas in light soils, shallow ploughing is enough. In loose soils pits are dug at 1 x 1 x 1' size and filled with soil and organic mix. Under clay soil the trenches may be taken with 30 cm depth, 30 cm width and 2 m distance between them. Pits are filled with soil and compost or organic manure @ 400g/pit.
a) Direct Planting
The seeds or cuttings are directly planted in the main field with the onset of monsoon during June-August months. For direct sowing two seeds are dipped at each spot at the specified spacing. When the seedlings are 4 weeks old, weaker seedlings should be removed to retain one healthy seedling on each spot and the seedlings so removed could be used for gap filling. The large semi hard wood or hard wood cuttings can also be directly planted in the field.
For transplanting seedlings are grown in polybas 1/2 kg capacity filled with soil and organic manure mixture (7:10:5) @ 100 g per polybag plus 400 g soil. Two seeds should be sown around 6 cm deep in cash polybag and watering should be done regularly. When the seedlings are around 4 weeks, weaker of the two seedlings should be removed and used for gap filling. The grown up seedlings or cuttings are transplanted in the main field. The pits are filled with 500 g farm yard manure and 100 g neem cake to ensure profuse rooting.
Manuring : Although Jatropha is adapted to low fertility sites and alkaline soils, better yield is obtained on poor quality soils if fertilizers with small amounts of calcium, magnesium and sulphur are used. Mycorrhizal associations have been observed with Jatropha and are known to aid the plants growth under conditions where phosphate is limiting. In general application of super phosphate @ 150kg/ha and alternated with one dose of 40:100:40 kg/ha NPK at 6 monthly intervals improves the yield. The application may coincide with rainy season or ensure proper irrigation immediately after application of fertilizers. From fourth year onwards 10 per cent extra super phosphate should be added to the above dose.
Irrigation : During dry period, the crop is irrigated at 7-15 days interval depending on the requirement. Though the weekly irrigation is preferable, fortnight interval is compulsory. Drip irrigation is not ideal as it induces too much of vegetative growth.
The field should be kept free from weeds at all times. Around 3-4 weedings in the initial period are enough to keep the field free from weeds until the crop crosses the grand growth period stage. Light harrowings are beneficial during the early growth stage. Pinching the terminal is essential at six months age to induce laterals. Application of GA 100 ppm spray induces flowering and pod development. The entire plant has to be cut to ground level leaving 45 cm stump once in 10 years. The regrowth is quick and start yielding in about a year.
Intercropping : Jatropha can be intercropped with coconut/arecanut gardens along the buds of water canals. In pure Jatropha plantations herbals like Aswagandha, Asparagus and pulses, vegetables etc., can be grown as intercrops during initial growth period.
Pests : Bark eater and pod borer are the major pests. They can be controlled with herbal pesticides such as mixtures of vitex, Neem, Aloe, Calotropis, Clerodendron interme etc. or Rogor@2ml/lit of water.
Diseases : Collar rot may be the problem in beginning & can be controlled with 0.2% COC.
Harvesting and yield
The seeds ae harvested as needed for medicinal purpose. For oil purpose seeds might be harvested all at once when the fruits are turning yellowish. The pods are collected and the seeds are separated mechanically or manually. The seeds are to be dried in sun for four days (6 - 10% moisture level) before packing.
Grown up Jatropha plants yields 4-6 kg dried seeds per plant with an estimated yield of 10-12 t of seeds per hectare in irrigated plantations from 6th year onwards.
Post harvest processing
The dried seeds contain 65 per cent kernel and approx. 35%. The extraction process standardized for edible oils will be followed for extraction of Jatropha oil also. The oil is extracted by solvent extraction or mechanically by hydraulic presser by screw press. Using a well established procedure manufactures can mix the oil with methanol in a particular proportion at a specific temperature and separate the glycerol content, stirring continuously for 2 hours. Washing twice the residual solution yields purified Bio-Diesel. The production unit comprises, among other things, a vessel with a heater, a stirrer assembly, a container for methanol and oil and few setting tanks to separate glycerol and a washing tank to purify the fuel.
Bio-diesel is a nontoxic, biodegradable 100% natural energy alternative to petroleum fuel. It is an environmentally friendly fuel. It can be produced from the non-edible oilseeds on wastelands. In India, about 30 million hectares of wasteland shall be planted for bio-diesel can completely replace the current use of fossil fuels to some extent. Jatropha is the one of the tree borne species having 35 - 40% of oil can be used for production of bio-diesel. The comparative approx. Table 2.
||9,470 k cal / kg
||10,170 k cal / kg
B. Process of Manufacturer
Jatropha oilseed is having 35% to 40% oil. This can be extracted by screw press method or solvent extraction method. In the transesterification process extracted oils is allowed to react with methanol (or) ethanol with presence of NaOH/KOH catalyst for producing methyl ester (Bio-diesel, equal weight of Jatropha oil, 240 kg of Methanol and 25 kg of catalyst (NaOH or KOH) is required. 260 kg of glycerin, by product of this process can be used to make ethanol which is re-used to make more bio-diesel, or it can be burned as a heating fuel. Oil cake which is the waste of oil extraction process can be used to produce animal feed or fertilizer.
The term Bio-Diesel refers to the ethyl or methyl esters of vegetable oils. Chemically Bio-Diesel is described as mono alkyl esters. Bio-Diesel is produced from any organic vegetable oils or animal fats which contain triglycerides, by a process of transesterification. Bio-Diesel contain oxygen in their molecular structure. This is significantly advantageous to the burning process in an internal combustion engine, not only in improving the efficiency of the fuel but also in turning noxious oxides into less harmful dioxides (carbon and nitrogen) and thus avoids greenhouse gas accumulation. The presence of toxic substances render the oil non-edible and through recent technologies it could be converted into edible oil. In general, the oil is reported to be mixed with ground nut oil for adulteration. This indicates the possibilities of obtaining edible oil from jatropha oil base. The oil is being extensively used in wool spinning, cosmetics, soap, varnishes and candles making. The oil is used as an illuminant because it burns without emitting smoke and is being used as a lubricant also. At present the Jatropha oil is being imported to meet the demand of the cosmetic industry. The protein content in Jatropha oil cake may be used as raw material for plastics and synthetic fibres. The oil cake contains rich source of nitrogen (3.2 to 4.4%), phosphorous (1.4 to 2.09%) and potassium (1.2 to 1.68%) and valued as organic manure. Though the cake contains 38 percent proteins, it is non-edible due to the presence of toxic substances and could be converted into cattle feed through latest technologies. Jatropha oil cake can, hopefully replace synthetic fertilizers.
C. Market :
Now India is importing 70% of the oil it uses. Recent war between US and Iraq has increased more than 30$ a barrel. So, there is a need for alternative. Bio-Diesel is one such alternative to solve the problem. Also, it is having better properties to use as fuel.
A. Basis and Presumption
If the seed is cultivated in own land, raw material cost will reduce. Sixth Years onwards average production of Jatropha oilseed per hectare is 4, 000 kg for rainfed crop & 12,000 kg for rainfed crop & 12,000 kg for irrigated crop. So, land requirement for cultivation of required amount of oilseed is 7 to 22 hectares.
- The basis for calculation of production capacity is on single shift basis, working of 25 days per month on 75% efficiency. The time required for achieving envisaged capacity utilisation is assumed as one year.
- BEP for the scheme has been calculated on full capacity utilisation.
- Rate of interest has been taken as 18% on an average. This however, is likely to vary depending upon the financial outlay and location of the unit.
- Labour wages have been taken under basis of minimum applicable. These are likely to change depending upon the location of the project.
- Terms of loan differ from one financial institution to another and in general minimum gestation period is normally six months and it could be upto two years. Maximum period for repayment of loan is 7 years including gestation period. The exact terms and conditions may be found by the entrepreneurs from the concerned financial institutions.
- The cost of machinery & Equipment as indicated in the scheme are approximate to those ruling at the time of preparation of the scheme. The entrepreneur may check up the exact price for specific make and model of the machine selected.
- Non-refundable deposits, cost of preparation project report, etc. may be considered under pre operative expenses.
- The provisions for other aspects such as raw materials, Utilities, overheads, etc. are drawn on the basis of standard norms and output. The cost indicated against each are approximate based on local market conditions and observation. The entrepreneur may find out the exact cost from the concerned sources.
B. Implementation Schedule :
Project implementation will take a period of 8 months from the date of approval of the scheme. Break-up of activities with relative time for each activity is shown in Table-3.
Table 3 Project Schedule
||Nature of Activities (Estimated) (Time Period in months from Start)
||Time period in month
||Scheme preparation & Approval
||SSI Provisional registration
||Sanction of loan
||Clearance from Pollution Control Board
||Placement of order for delivery of m/c.
||Installation of machinery
||Commencement of production
C. Inspection and Quality Control:
As per specification
D. Production capacity per annum:
Total production per year:
300 MT of Bio-diesel (Rs. 20900/- per ton)
70 MT of Glycerin (Rs. 60500/- per ton)
620 MT of oilcake (Rs. 2420/- per ton)
Stevia is a totally natural sweetener with no calories, suited for people who cannot tolerate sugar. Stevia is also useful for people who are conscious in their food.
Stevia is the safest natural sweetener, and it can substitute cane sugar in various preparations and formulations. It has been used to treat many ailments including diabetes, high blood pressure, digestive disorders, addictions and several skin defects.
Family: Perennial shrub of the aster family (Asteraceae)
Known as Stevaia rebaudiana and it belongs to the family composites
Alternate name: re-bau'-dee-ah-nah
Native: Paraguay and Brazil
It keptin a cool, dry place; Sweetvia should last at least one year.
BOTANICAL TRAIT AND CONSTITUENT
The leaves contain several chemicals called glycosides, which taste sweet, but do not provide calories. The major glycoside is called stevioside and a sweetener in use
The glycosides in the leaves of Stevia, include upto 10% stevioside.
Stevioside accounts for its incredible sweetness, making it unique among the nearly 300 species of stevia plants.
There are indications that stevia (or Ca-he-he) has been used to sweeten a native beverage called mate since Pre-Coloumbian times.
Natural scientist, Antonio Bertoni first recorded its usage by native tribes in 1887.
For hundreds of years, people in Paraguay and Brazil have used a natural sweet leaf to sweeten bitter herbal teas including mate.
For over 20 years, Japanese consumers have used extracts of this same plant as a safe, natural, non-caloric sweetener.
Prior to 1900, Stevia had grown only in the wild, with consumption limited to those having access to its natural habitat.
In 1908, a ton of dried leaves was harvested as the very first stevia crop. Before long, stevia plantations began springing up, a development that corresponded with a marked reduction in the plant's natural growth area due to the clearing of forests by timber interests and, to an extent, the removal of thousands of stevia plants for transplantation (the growing of stevia from seed simply doesn't work). Consequently, its use began to increase dramatically, both in and beyond Latin America.
In 1931, in France, two chemists isolated the most prevalent of several compounds that give the stevia leaf its sweet taste, pure white crystalline extract they named stevioside.
Within the next couple of decades, however, the Japanese had discovered just how useful stevioside really was.
The Japanese either banned or strictly regulated artificial sweeteners during the 1960s, consistent with a popular movement of being away from allowing chemicals in the food supply. They soon discovered the ideal replacement for both sugar and its synthetic substitutes was refined stevia extracts.
Originally introduced to Japan in 1970 by a consortium of food-product manufacturers, stevioside and other stevia products quickly caught on.
By 1988, Stevia reportedly represented approximately 41% of the market share of potently sweet substances consumed in Japan.
In addition to widespread use as a tabletop sweetener, like the packets of saccharin ("Sweet-n-Low") and aspartame ("Equal") commonly found in the United States, stevia was used by the Japanese to sweeten a variety of food products, including ice cream, bread, candies, pickles, seafood, vegetables, and soft drinks.
In addition to demonstrating stevia's nearly instant popularity in locales far removed from its native habitat, Japan's experience proved several other significant facts about this phenomenal plant: its adaptability and its safety.
Adaptability was proven through the discovery that the plant could be grown throughout most of this temperate island nation, albeit under special hothouse conditions.
Studies were even initiated to evaluate the substitution of stevia for rice under cultivation in some areas. Stevia's safety was proven through extensive scientific testing.
APPLICATION AND BENEFITS
First, as a prepackaged replacement for sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Second, it has been used in various food products, including the Japanese sugar-free versions of wrigley's gums, Beatrice foods yogurts and even diet Coke.
It has also been used in Japanese style pickles, dried seafood, fish meat products, vegetables and seafood boiled down with soy sauce, confectioneries and a host of other products.
Whether Stevia will reach into food applications such as these in the USA market will depend largely on the FDA's regulatory position and health industry efforts to re-classify Stevia as a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) substance.
APPLICATION AND USE LEVEL
There are excellent results when extremely small amounts are used. Consequently, if too much is used, it will overwhelm the consumer.
Some suggested applications for Sweetvia are One flat mini-spoon in hot/cold drinks.
Sprinkled sparingly on cereals (mix in milk before adding cereal).
Sprinkled sparingly on fruit.
Use in baked goods.
Sweetvia will not break down like aspartame.
Sweetvia will not brown like sugar.
One mini-spoon Sweetvia = 1 tsp. Sugar is suggested
Mixed in melted unsweetened chocolate and used as a coating for nuts & fruit.
Mixed in cream cheese with cinnamon and spread on a bagel.
A secret ingredient in shakes of all kinds.
A key ingredient in homemade ice cream.
Add to plain yogurt along with fresh fruit.
Benefits of Stevia
Calories are in stevia are virtually none. And the refined stevia extracts are considered to be non-caloric.
Stevia will not raise blood sugar levels
Stevia can be part of healthy diet for anyone, including those with blood sugar problems, since it does not raise blood sugar levels.
Two tests conducted by Purdue University's Dental Science Research Group have concluded that stevioside is both fluoride compatible and "significantly" inhibits the development of plaque. Thus stevia may actually help to prevent cavities.
Stevia presents advantages over saccharine:
- It is not toxic but, on the contrary, it is healthful, as shown by long experience and according to the studies of Dr. Rebaudi.
- It is a sweetening agent of great power.
- It can be employed directly in its natural state, (pulverized leaves).
- It is much more inexpensive than saccharine.
- Including stevia in one's diet can help them lose weight.
Stevia powder can be used in baking or stove top cooking. It can be mixed with distilled water to make a liquid; however, it must refrigerated once it's mixed with the liquid.
Although the herb is found growing wild, the most potent hybrids, the richest in steviosides, are cultivated on plantations.
The herbs are carefully nurtured and harvested at only certain times of the year. For insured safety and quality, Stevia should be organically grown without chemicals or pesticides.
Adaptable for various climates
While the herb's native local (South America) may make it appear somewhat exotic, it has proved to be quite adaptable and capable of being cultivated in climate zones as diverse as Florida in USA and Southern Canada.
Insect repelling tendencies
Organic gardeners in particular should find stevia an ideal addition to their yield. Though nontoxic, stevia plants have been found to have insect-repelling tendencies. Their very sweetness, in fact, may be a kind of natural defense mechanism against aphids and other bugs that find it not to their taste. Perhaps that's why crop-devouring grasshoppers have been reported to bypass stevia under cultivation.
The plants can be propagated through seeds and cuttings. Seeds are highly heterogeneous and vary in stevioside contents; so it is better, if available to go for commercial cultivation through rooted cuttings from selected plants which contain high level of sweet and low level of associated bitterness. Commercial rooting hormones and procedures can be exploited for successful rooting.
It would be difficult, at best, to start a stevia patch from scratch - that is, by planting seeds. Even if one could get them to germinate, results might well prove disappointing, since stevioside levels can very greatly in plants grown from seed.
The recommended method is rather to buy garden-ready 'starter' plants, may well be obtainable from a nursery or herbalist.
Not all stevia plants are created equal in terms of stevioside content, and hence, sweetness. It's therefore a good idea to try to determine if the plants that one would be buying have been grown from cuttings whose source was high in stevioside.
It is best to plant stevia in rows 20 to 24 inches apart, leaving about 18 inches between plants.
The plants should grow to a height of about 30 inches and a width of 18 to 24 inches.
A spacing of 25 cm x 60 cm is recommended for its cultivation, and it ensures a cropping density of 75,000 plants in a hectare.
Stevia plants do best in a rich, loamy soil
A region with low wind velocity, and assured water resources suits this plant well.
Since the feeder roots tend to be quite near the surface, it is a good idea to add compost for extra nutrients if the soil in the area is sandy.
Adding a layer of compost or mulch around each stevia plant will help keep the shallow feeder roots from drying out.
Stevia plants respond well to fertilizers with a lower nitrogen content than the fertilizer's phosphoric acid or potash content.
Stevia plants prefer low nitrogen, but high level of phosphorus and potassium. Slow release nitrogen sources are better due to requirement of low level of N and steady release of N from source. Advances in bio-fertilizer technology can also be successfully exploited for commercial cultivation of stevia.
Most organic fertilizers would work well, since they release nitrogen slowly.
As it cannot stand drought, Stevia needs regular irrigation.
Frequent light watering is recommended during the summer months.
Besides being sensitive to cold during their developmental stage, the roots can also be adversely affected by excessive levels of moisture. So it is necessary to take care not to overwater them and to make sure the soil in which they are planted drains easily and is not subjected to flooding or puddling.
The ideal condition for the plant to grow luxuriantly is 50000 to 60000 lux of sunlight for more than 12 hours a day with temperatures hovering between 25 and 35 Deg. C
The night temperature should not fall below 10 Deg. C
In order to reduce the impact of drought and high temperature, additions of mulches around the plants are recommended.
The plants will grow to a height of 75 cm width of 45 to 60 cm.
The first harvest of crop can be had in four to five months after planting. Subsequent harvests can be had once every three months for up to three years after planting. The freshly harvested plants are hung upside down and dried in shade.
In countries like Brazil, harvesting is done as late as possible, since cool autumn temperatures and shorter days tend to intensify the sweetness of the plants as they evolve into a reproductive state. While exposure to frost is still to be avoided, covering the plants during an early frost can give the benefit of another few weeks' growth and more sweetness.
When the time does come to harvest the stevia, the easiest technique is to cut the branches off with pruning shears before stripping the leaves.
An extra bonus, the very tips of the stems can be chipped off and added to harvest yield, as they are apt to contain as much stevioside as do the leaves.
In a relatively frost-free climate, the plants may well be able to survive the winter outside, provided one would not cut the branches too short (leaving about 4 inches of stem at the base during pruning).
In that case, the most successful harvest will probably come in the second year.
Once all the leaves have been harvested they have to be dried. This can be accomplished on a screen or net. (For a larger application, an alfalfa or grain drier can be used. The drying process is not one that requires excessive heat; more important is good air circulation).
On a moderately warm climate, stevia crop can be quick dried in the full sun in about 12 hours. (Drying times longer than that will lower the stevioside content of the final product.)
A dehydrator can also be used, although sun drying is the preferred method.
Crushing the dried leaves is the final step in releasing stevia's sweetening power. This can be done either by hand or, for greater effect, in grinder or in a special blender for herbs.
Liquid stevia extract
One can also make liquid stevia extract by adding a cup of warm water to 1/4 cup of fresh, finely-crushed stevia leaves. This mixture should set for 24 hours and then be refrigerated.
Replacement and planting
The field should be well worked to bring the soil to a fine tilth before planting. Liberal application of ripe farmyard manure would prove to be highly beneficial.
Three-year-old plants will not be as productive and, ideally, should be replaced with new cuttings.
In harsher climates, however, it might be a good idea to take cuttings that will form the basis for the next year's crop. Cuttings need to be rooted before planting, using either commercial rooting hormones or a natural base made from willow tree tips, pulverized onto a slurry in the blender. After dipping the cuttings in such a preparation, they should be planted in a rooting medium for two to three weeks, giving the new root system a chance to form. They should then be potted-
Preferably in 4.5-inch pots - and placed in the sunniest and least drafty part until the following spring.
The plant is totally inocuous, posing no threat to human life and health, holding out in fact great hope of the production of a non caloric sweetener with health benefits that it is to be utilized fully to possible extent.
GROWING STEVIA IN HOME GARDEN
The stevia plant can be grown either in pots on balcony or any sunny spot, or else in a hydroponic unit. Stevia plants also do quite well in "container gardens."
A 10" to 12" diameter container filled with a lightweight growing mix is an ideal size for each plant. A little mulch on the top will help retain the moisture in the shallow root zone. A properly fertilized hydroponic unit or container garden can provide with as much stevia as an outdoor garden, if not more.
Stevia can be grown easily in pots, house gardens or as a commercial field crop. The plant reaches a height of about 45-cm in three months. It prefers a well-drained light soil such as red soil and sandy loam. Liberal application of ripe farmyard manure would prove to be highly beneficial.
PROCESS FOR EXTRACTION AND GRADES
Stevioside is a complex molecule naturally found in Stevia that gives the stevia plant its special properties. The higher percentage of steviosides, the more potent the extract will be.
Extracts of stevia leaves can be prepared by a number of methods.
Sweetvia is manufactured the best way possible utilizing water extraction and citric acid discoloration.
Most commercial processes consist of water or alcohol extraction, discoloration by bleach or citric acid, and purification using ion-exchange resins, electrolytic techniques, or precipitating agents.
However, some companies, like Stevia, USA use a natural water process to obtain the stevioside. This method offers a superior stevia product.
It is easy to make own liquid
Since Sweetvia dissolves well, mix the desired amount in water. Use distilled water and start with one mini-spoon per ounce. Add more to taste and test it with a small amount of water (under three ounces) If it is needed to use it over a long period of time, it is necessary to refrigerate it.
Home-grown stevia may lack the potency of refined white stevia extract; whole stevioside content generally ranges from 81 to 91 percent, as compared to a leaf level of approximately 12 percent.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an important medicinal plant mentioned in various texts of indigenous systems of medicine (Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani). It is well known for its medicinal properties since the time of Punarvastu Atreya, an ancient scholar who taught medicine at Taxila. University about 1000 BC and mentioned numerous medicinal uses of this drug. Ayurvedic texts including Charak Samhita, Sushrut Samhita and Astanghridaya (collectively known as Brihatriyi) and Bhava-Prakasha mention ashwagandha to be a general tonic as well as a cure for morbidity arising from diseases such as pain, arthritis and inflammation. Ashwagandha is mentioned in the various Ayurvedic Nighantus as a tonic, alterative, pungent, astringent, hot and aphrodisiac and is recommended in rheumatism, cough, dropsy, consumption and senile debility.
According to Dutt ashwagandha was regarded as tonic, alterative and aphrodisiac in Hindu medicine and was employed in consumption, emaciation, rheumatism and debility caused by old age. It was used in many tonic preparations as prescribed by Chakradutta and others and was a major constituent of the aphrodisiac medicines. Ashwagandha mixed with honey and butter was recommended for sexual debility. For spermatorrhoea and loss of strength it was given along with Piper longum fruiting spikes. Dymock stated that in the Makhsan-el-Adwiya it was described as tonic and alterative and was said to have the same properties as white Behen (safed Behen). According to Dymock et. al., Indian Mohammedan writers merely repeated what the Hindus said about this drug. They did not recognise in it the Kaknaj-el-manoum of the Arabs, which was supposed to represent the of the Greeks, the description of which by Theophrastus agreed well with W. somnifera.
The plant was first mentioned in the English language texts by Van Rheede who called it 'Pevetti' and mentioned that an ointment was prepared from the leaves. Ainslie described bazar asgund to be of pale colour having little sensible taste or smell. He stated that the Tamool Vytians considered the roots to have deobstruent and diuretic qualities, given in decoction to the quantity of about half a teacupful twice daily; the leaves moistened with a little warm castor oil were a useful external application in cases of carbuncle. In the Pharmacopoeia of India, the root is said to have been in use in that period externally much like the leaves, and was being regarded as a useful internal medicine in rheumatism and dyspepsia and to be feebly diuretic. Roxburgh referred to the medicinal uses of ashwagandha and stated that Telinga physicians treated the roots as alexepharmic. The authors of Bombay flora described the roots and seeds as diuretic and considered them narcotic and hypnotic respectively.
Folklore Uses of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Stewart stated that the root was occasionally employed by local people in Punjab and Sind to effect abortion. Pammel also mentioned that the plant has abortifacient properties. The authors of Bombay flora said that the seeds were used to coagulate milk like those of W. coagulans. The occurrence of W. coagulans. The occurrence of W. somnifera in South Africa recorded as early as 1908. The medicinal properties attributed to the plant as a sedative and hypnotic were considered to be due to the presence of an alkaloid.
In Wad and Kalat, a fomentation of the leaves was used to cure eye sores, boils and swellings of the hands and feet by causing the boils to ripen and burst. The leaves were used for killing lice in Las Bela and in the Pab hills. In kotra, the flowers were applied on sores. The Sutos used a decoction of the root for cold, an ointment of the leaf for bed sores and an infusion of the bark for asthma. Transvaal Sutos administered the decoction of the root to tone up the disorders of the uterus. An enema of the decorticated root was given by the Zulus to subside fever in infants. They regarded the plant as a specific cure for gangrenous rectitis. They also successfully employed the leaf in the healing of sores and in the treatment of syphilis.
The Xosas used the plant for disinfecting anthrax-infected meat. The fresh juice of the leaf was applied by the Xosas to anthrax pustules. They also made an ointment for wounds and sores by boiling the leaf in fat. A decoction of the root bark was administered to patients of asthma and other chest complaints by them. The green berries were bruised and rubbed on skin for ringworm in both human beings and animals. A paste of the green berry, leaf and small twigs was applied to saddle sores and girth galls in horses and a leaf paste to syphilitic sores. Europeans in the Orange Free State used the leaf paste for erysipelas, the decoction of the root for chest complaints and the decoction of the leaf for the treatment of hemorrhoids.
In the foot hills of western Garhwal Himalaya region, the root powder of W. somnifera is used in pulmonary tuberculosis. The root paste is used in the treatment of glandular swellings of bubonic plague.
The drug is used in insanity and epilepsy in Dibrugarh district of Assam. For epilepsy, roots of Anacyclus pyrethrum, roots of W. somnifera and dried fruits of large variety of Vitis vinifera are taken in equal quantity, crushed and ground together to make a fine powder. Before sunrise, 10g of this powder is taken orally with a 50 ml mixture made up of cow milk, curd, ghee, cow urine, cow dung, each taken in equal quantity. The second dose in the same quantity is taken before sleeping each day with a small quantity of kusturi (musk), ras sindur and makardhwaja. For insanity, 1 kg each of dhanbarua (Assamese name; Botanical name not know), W. somnifera and Bacopa monnieri are put in 8-10 litres of water for 5 days along with 0.25 kg of misri (crystallized sugar) and 0.25 kg of crushed seeds of watermelon. The liquid is kept for fermentation for a few days. Then a quarter litre of this liquid is given thrice daily in the morning, noon and evening with one roti of a mixture of kusturi (musk), swarnabhasma (gold oxide), bangabhasma (tin oxide) and kesar or saffron (stigmas of Crecus sativus). Each of these ingredients are taken in equal quantity to make the mixture together with 1 teaspoonful of chatni made from A. pyrethrum and grape of long variety (V. vinifera).
In Madhya Pradesh, the drug (root) is used for toning up uterus of women who habitually miscarry. It is also used for easy abortion. The berries and seeds are given in chest complaints.
The leaves are heated and applied to painful joints and boils by the Meo community of Gurgaon district in Haryana.
The tribal people of Eastern Rajasthan use ashwagandha against lumbago and rheumatism. Roots are given in asthma.
The tribal inhabitants of north Gujarat apply leaf paste to fester boils. They consider leaf and root powders as narcotic, diuretic and deobstruent. The plant is used as uterine tonic in sterlity in rural areas of Kutch district of Gujarat.
In Mysore district the crushed berries along with juice of castor plant are drunk for relieving the poison of a serpent.
In Chitteri hills of Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu the paste of W. somnifera and paste of the leaf of Vishamunkil (Crinum asiaticum) are used for pubo.
In Tibet, powder of the roots is used as general tonic in seminal diseases as well as a nervine tonic.
In Ethiopian highlands, the plant is used to control joint infections (arthritis). The crushed leaves are applied as a poultice to the affected areas. The plant has been used in other parts of Africa like Algeria for its hypnotic properties.
In Nigeria, the water extract of leaves is used for sore eyes, boils and swollen parts of the body. A paste of the leaves is applied over syphilitic regions and to kill the lice infecting the body. The decoction of the root is used as milk tonic, aphrodisiac and abortifacient. The dose is one to two tablespoons daily of the decoction and for abortion is two wineglasses a day. The powdered root with honey one tablespoonful a day is given for the treatment of bloody discharge from uterus. A decoction of the root with black pepper and alligator pepper is very effective remedy for toning up the uterus of women who habitually miscarry. The fruits are diuretic and are chewed for chest complaints. The leaves are used as antibiotics against broad spectrum bacteria and viruses.
Cataplasm of fresh crushed leaves and fruits is applied externally on open wounds in Israel, India, East Africa, Egypt. Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Crushed leaves with olive oil are applied on swellings in Golan region of Israel. Poultice of fresh leaves is applied or massaged with olive oil in rheumatism in Israel. Egypt and Iraq. In Egypt roots are also similarly used. Cataplasm of crushed leaves is applied on the affected organs in external pains and in inflammations in Israel and India.
The plant is reported to possess several medicinal properties. It is employed in Afghanistan for killing lice. It is also used for rectitis and syphilis. The tender shoots are used as a vegetable. The plant is said to afford fodder for goats in Pakistan but is suspected of poisoning stock. The seeds are used as masticatory.
In South Baringo (Kenya), goats eat the leaves, not to any appreciable extent but rather as a last choice. The plant is reputed to be poisonous to livestock but disregarding its suspected poisonous properties it is well supplied with crude protein, calcium and phosphorous and it is by no means fibrous.
There are records of fatal cases of poisoning by the seeds of W. somnifera. The symptoms observed were vomiting, insensibility, convulsions; the patient became unconscious with dilated pupils insensible to light; there were continued tetanic spasms of the muscles of the face and extremites, tongue not bitten, no lockjaw, face and lips livid, veins distended.
Ashwagandha in Vedas
The plant's uses are mentioned in the Ashwalayan Grihya Sutra and in Shuthpath Brahmin. The plant has been marked as Ashmagandha (rock smell).
2. Uses in Traditional Systems of Medicine
In the texts of Ayurveda such as Charak Samhita, Sushrut Samhita, Astanghridaya and Bhava-Prakasha etc., there appear several statements about pharmacodynamics and properties of ashwagandha. It is noted that ashwagandha is essentially a Tikta, Kashaya, Katu and Madhura in Rasa; Madhura in Vipaka; Ushna in Virya; Laghu and Snigdha in Gunna; Vrishya, Balya, Vishaghna and Nidrajanana in Prabhava and Kaphavata in Dosaghnata.
The drug has been described as one of the components of the Balya (tonics), Brimhaneeya (weight promoting drugs or Roborants) and Madhurskandha by Charaka (Su. 4/2.7; V. 8/139). It is mainly indicated in the treatment of Shosha (malnutrition). Shukra dosa (defects of semen), Vata-vyadhi (nervine diseases), Unmada (mental disease) and Apasmara (epilepsy). Table I gives some details of those Ayurvedic formulations in which ashwagandha is an important component. Besides, in other Indian traditional systems of medicine including Siddha and Unani, ashwagandha is again the main component of several formulations prescribed for a variety of ailments.
The Department of Indian Traditional Medicine in the Ministry of Health of Government of India have developed approved formularies of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani systems of medicine. The formularies provide lists of many formulations. For each formulation, the prescribed components, method of preparation and therapeutic uses have also been given. The pharmaceutical industry is permitted to manufacture the formulations indicated in the above formularies as over the counter drugs. The pharmacies also manufacture preparations based on the texts produced by the practitioners of the present and past. These formulations are often different in composition from standard ones listed in the approved formularies. The companies that manufacture the formulations based on formularies and other texts have conducted trials on their products.
Nardostachys jatamansi DC. Family -
Syn. Nardostachys grandiflora Valerianaceae
An erect perennial herb, 10-60 cm in height, with woody stout, rootstock covered with reddish brown fibres of the petioles of radical leaves. Leaves radical, longitudinally nerved; flower pale-pink or blue.
Found in alpine Himalayas from 3.300-5000m heights, hills of Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Jammu & Kashmir and Sikkim
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES & USES
The rhizome is bitter, astringent, sweet, acrid, cooling, emollient, aromatic, antiseptic, anodyne, digestive, carminative, laxative stomachic, liver stimulant, diuretic, emmenagogue, deodorant, vermifuge, expectorant, nervine tonic, improves IQ, somniferous, aphrodisiac, sudorific, trichogenous, anti-pyretic and tonic. It is useful in burring sensation, cough, asthma, bronchitis, pectoralgia, cephalalgia, inflammations dyspepsiam colic, flatulence, hepatopathy, nephropathy, strangury, amnorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea, hyertension, grey hair, falling of hair etc.
Soil and Climate
Sunday loam and acidic soil rich in organic carbon and nitrogen is found best for germination as well as for better survival of seedlings and productivity. Moist and partial sades are found suitable for cultivation. Further moist rough wall provide suitable microhabitat for better growth. At lower altitude (1800-2200m) plain beds with slight tilt (5Â°-10Â°) are found suitable for cultivation unlike horizontal and vertical beds at alpine site.
Nursery raising and Planting
Seeds are sown during November-December in polyhouse at lower altitude, during March-April in open beds at medium altitude and during May in alpine area. Seedlings are transplanted after six to eight weeks in the field. At lower altitude root growth as well as number and length of leaves increases rapidly as compared to higher elevation. Fibrous root formation takes place after third year of growth, when plants are raised by seedling. About 44,000 plants are planted in one acre of land.
Vegetative propagation through splitting of roots is found most successful in Nardostachys jatamansi and observed better for multiplication as well as for higher production within a short period than cultivation through seedlings.
For cultivation, better survival and yield of Jatamansi at lower altitude (1800m) 60-70q. manure is required for one acre of land. However, the results are found best in litter treatment instead of live stock manure. The sites rich in organic carbon needed 46-60q. manure per acre for higher yield.
Irrigation and Weed Control
Beds need excessive watering/irrigation to decrease the mortality rate. Water requirement will change with respect to season like no irrigation is needed during monsoon. Water requirement also depends on the location of sites and texture of soil. During dry season i.e. May-June and September-October watering must be done at every two days interval at lower altitude. Weeding also depends on the condition of the soil and pressure of weeds. Generally, weeding must be done at weekly interval in the first year of growth and during the second and third year twice in a month.
Plants should be harvested just before senescence after maturation to obtain the higher quantity of active principles. To obtain higher amount of bioactive ingredients, it must be collected during the month of September at lower altitude, while in the month of October at higher altitude. The harvesting period for this species is 3-4 years; the harvested roots are washed and dried in shade.
New sesquiterpene lactone-Jatamansone. b-maaliene and calrene from the oil. A new terpene coumarin-jatamansin and oroselol from roots. a-pinene, b-pinene, 3-carene, b-eudesmol, elelmol, a C-30 hydrocarbon, b-sitisterol, jatamansin, angelicin and jatamansinol from roots. Nardol from roots. A new diethenoid bicyclic ketone-nardostachone from roots. Structure of jatamansic acid. Seychellene and seychelane isolated, seychellane found to be mixture of two epimers. Norseychelanone, patchoulli alcohol and a-b-patchoulenes isolated from roots. Actinidine a alkaloid isolated from rhizomes. Nardostachnol, 9-dehydroaristolene 1(10)-dehydroaristolene, 2b-maaliene and 1,2,9.10-tetrahydroaristolene identified in essential oil. 9-aristilene-1-a-ol, 1(10)-aristolen-2-one, b-sitosterol and three unidentified compounds were isolated from roots. Jatamanasanonne a ketonic principle isolated from rhizomes.
Jatamansone, the sesquiterpene shown to exert tranquillizing activity in mice and monkeys, hypothermic activity in mice and antiemetic effects in dogs. Volatile oil of N. Jatamansi was found to be active as antiarrhythmic agent in dogs. The essential oil of N.jatamansi showed anthelmintic and antifungal activity. Jatamanssanone possess neuroppharmacological profile in the hyperkinetic states. Jatamansone was tested in hypertension. Valeranone shows different biological activities along with hypertension and anti-ulcerogenic effects.
The roots of Selinum vaginatum C.B. Clarke and Cymbopogon schoenanthus spring are used at times, for adulterating. However the yield of volatile oil, its physicochemical constants and a G.C. profile can serve as standards for identification of the drug and determination of its constituents there by checking the purity and strength of the drug.
Jatamansi is used for fumigation for warding off micoorganisms.
Powder - 1-3 g
Mahapaisachika ghrita, Balataila, Gandha taila, Jatamansyaska.
Chlorophytum borivilianum Family - Liliaceae Santapau
It is herb with linear leaves appearing over ground with the advent of summer rains. Flowers white. It is propagated through rootstocks.
Foot Hills of Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh & Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Kanataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES & USES
It is merging as a natural aphrodisiac and also utilised in various neutraceutical and phytopharmaceutical. It is prescribed in debility, gonorrhoea and also considered useful in diarrhoea and asthma.
CULTIVATION & PROPAGATION
Soil and Climate
Safed Musli requires well drained loamy to sandy loam soils rich in organic matter. Warm and humid climatic condition with good amount of soil moisture during the growing season favour luxuriant vegetative growth and facilitate fleshy root development.
Nursery Raising and Planting
It could be propagated through seeds as well as by vegetative means (root stock bearing buds or growing points).
1. Vegetative propagation
The initiation of sprouts of fleshy roots starts by the mid of May but sometimes it could be as early as the last week of April in stored material. In the forest seedlings emerge from the ground within 4-6 days after the rains. However, for the purpose of raising plants in the field either the sprouted seedlings should be collected from the forest between 10 to 30 days after the rains and transplanted in the field or fleshy root bunches should be taken out from the ground or storage place by mid of May.
2. By seeds
The seeds are black in colour and with angular edges. It takes 12-16 days to sprout. The seeds should be sown in prepared seedbed, which is heavily manured by FYM, or leaf litter in the first or second week of June and adequate moisture should be continuously maintained during absence of rain in the early monsoon. The seedlings can be transplanted in the field during the next rainy season only at 30 x 15 cm spacing because the development of plants as well as roots by means of seeds in the first year is not vigorous enough as compared to the vegetatively propagated plants.
Even a small, 1 cm long and slightly shrinken fleshy roots or rootstocks have a capacity to reproduce into new plants. These fleshy roots sprout from second week of May to second week of June. The sprouted fleshy propagules should be planted in the field in first or second week of June, followed by irrigation. The practice of planting on top of the ridges of 15-20 cm height at a row distance of 30 x 15 cm is found adequate for obtaining commercial yield. It is estimated that 250-300 kg of rootstocks will be required for planting one hecatare land. Safed Musli could be easily intercropped in between maize rows.
The use of 10-15 ton of farmyard manure (FYM)/hectare provides good nutrient status to the substratum for supporting healthy plant growth.
The crop may be sown after the rainfall. If there is no rains after sowing of fleshy root propagules and its transplanting then one irrigation should be provided immediately. Later, when soil moisture has receded in the fields, irrigation may be done after 10 to 15 days interval.
One to two weeding-cum-hoeings are needed to keep the soil porous and free of weedy growth.
The crop matures in about 90 days after cultivation. At maturity the leaves start yellowing and ultimately dry up from the collar part and fall down. The crop could thus be harvested when leaves have dried which occurs in the month of September & October. During digging of plants, fleshy root bunches should be lifted from the soil. The harvested fleshy roots a removed and cleaned and white musali tubers are dried and spread in the shade for about 4-7 days.
Glycosides, saponins, sapogenins, steroids, asparagin, vitamins & carbohydrates.
About one ton of fleshy root per hectare, is collected. This, after processing and drying is reduced to 200 kg.
Rauvolfia serpentina Family - Apocynaceae
Benth. ex Kurz
It is an erect evergreen, perennial under-shrub, 75 cm. to 1 m. in height. Root is prominent, tuberous, usually branched, 0.5 to 2.5 cm in diameter. Up to 40 to 60 cm deep into soil. The roots possess high alkaloid concentration.
||Rauwolfia root, serpentina root
||Sarppaganti, Sivan amalpodi
It is found in the foothills of Himalayan range, up to the elevation of 1300-1400 m. and almost throughout the country. Also seen in lower hills of Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir etc.
Roots & leaves.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES & USES
The roots are bitter, acrid, laxative, anthelmintic, thermogenic and diuretic and possess sedative properties. It is highly reputed for hypertension and is useful in stangury, fever, wounds and colic, insomnia, epilepsy, giddiness & dyspepsia. The decoction of the root is used to increase uterine contractions. The juice of the leaf is used as a remedy for the removal of opacities of the cornea.
CULTIVATION & PROPAGATION
Soil and Climate
The plant requires slightly acidic to neutral soils for good growth with medium to deep well drained fertile soils. Clay-loam to silt-loam soils, rich in organic content is suitable for its commercial cultivation. It grows well in frost-free tropical to sub-tropical situations under irrigation.
Nursery Raising & Planting
The crop can be propagated either by seed, stem cutting or root cuttings. Seed propagation is the best method for raising commercial plantation.
By root cutting: Nearly 5 cm long root cutting are planted during spring in nursery beds manured with farmyard manure (FYM), sand and sawdust. The beds are kept moist by watering. The cuttings begin to sprout within three weeks. These can be planted in field during rainy season after 8 to 10 cm rains are received; the seedlings are transplanted at 45 cm row to row and 30 cm plant-to-plant distance. In this manner, an estimated 100 kg of root cuttings are found sufficient for planting one-hectare.
By stem cuttings: Hard woody stem cutting measuring 15 to 22 cm are closely planted during June in the nursery beds where continuous moisture is maintained. After sprouting, these plants are transplanted in the main field at given spacing.
By root stumps: About 5 cm of roots, intact with a portion of stem above the collar, are directly transplanted in the field having irrigation facilities.
By seed: Seed germination is highly variable. It is reported to vary from 5 to 30 percent even when heavy seeds are chosen for sowing purpose. Light and heavy seeds can easily be separated by simple water floatation. Germination of heavy seeds during May-June after soaking them in water for 24 hours was 20-40 per cent and 62.77 percent germination was recorded in freshly collected heavy seeds. 6 kg of seeds is sufficient to raise one-hectare plantation.
In Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh by the end of April, in West Bengal by first week of May or little later, and in Jammu & Dehradun during third week of May are found to be most suitable time for sowing seed in the nursery. The nursery is prepared by raised beds of 10x10 m. under partial shade made up of one-third of well matured FYM and leaf mould, and two-third amount medium silt-loam soil. About 500 sq m. Seedbeds area is sufficient for raising seedlings and enough for planting one-hectare land. The seeds are sown, 2-3 cm apart in rows in shallow furrows by the end of April. The furrows are then covered with a fine mixture of soil and FYM. The bed should be kept moist by light watering. Germination starts after 15-20 days and continues up to 30 to 40 days. Seedlings are ready by mid-July for transplantation. The seedlings are transplanted at 30 cm distance within the rows spaced at 45 cm. If rains are not received during or immediately after transplantation irrigation is necessary for better growth. Sarpagandha takes a long duration (18 months) as it is a slow growing crop particularly in the initial stage; thus different intercrops have been tried.
Farmyard manure at 20 to 25 q/hectare is required for land preparation, which has given good response.
Sarpagandha, if grown in the areas which receive rainfall of 150 cm or above well distributed throughout the growing season such as in Assam and Kerala, can be raised and rainfed under subtropical conditions. It needs regular irrigation with high temperature combined with low rainfall during rainy season. It is suggested that 15 to 16 irrigations, at 20 days interval in summer and at 30 days interval in winter are sufficient.
Field should be kept relatively weed-free in the early stage of growth. This means giving two to three weedings and two howings in the first year where sole Sarpagandha crop is taken or 5-6 weeding where intercrops with Sarpagandha are practised.
Root yields at different age and climate has shown that 18 months old crop produce maximum root yield . Transplanting is done in July; the harvesting period coincides with the shedding of leaves during early autumn in the next year. At this stage, the roots contain maximum concentration of total alkaloids. During harvest the root may be found to go up to 40 cm deep in the soil. During root harvesting the thin roots are also collected.
After digging, the roots are cleaned, washed and cut into 12 to 15 cm pieces for drying and storage. The dry roots possess upto 8-10 per cent of moisture. The dried roots are stored in polythene lined with gunny bags in cool dry place to protect it from mould.
Serpentine a terpene constituents from root was uprooted. Reserpine and diserpidine from R. serpentina. Isolation of reserpine, reserpinine, yohimbine, ajmaline, serpentine and serpenitine and ajmalicin from roots. Detection of reserpine, reserpinine, yohimbine, ajmaline, serpentinean deserpentinine but PC. Rauigalline and ajmaline was detected in root extract. Raunatine from roots of R.serpentina. A new yohambanoid, rescinnaminol from roots and its structure. Rescinnamidine from roots of the plant. Two new indole alkaloids-sandwicoline and sandwincolidine were isolated from the Nepalian roots, a new alkaloid ajmalicidine from the roots from thai orogin plants. Reserpine and ajmalicine alkaloids are isolated from roots. Ajmalicidine an alkaloid isolated from roots. Indobine another alkaloid from roots of the plant.
Reserpinine depressive and hypotensive effects studied decrease the body temperature. Different activities of reserpine were studied. Ajmaline increased diuresis. Yohimbine shows antidiuretic activity. Serpentine shows anticancer activity against mammary cancer in mice.
On an average, root yield vary from 15 to 25 q/hectare of dry weight under irrigation depending upon soil fertility, crop stand and management.
Sarpagandha should be taken with warm water in mental problems.
Powder 3-5 g.