Agri Business

Kerala farm varsity offers tree-turmeric seedlings

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on August 01, 2019

Kerala Agricultural University has developed a germination technology to produce seedlings of maramanjal (tree turmeric), a medicinal plant.

A large number of a year-old polybag seedlings of the plant have been made ready for cultivation. Called daruharidra in Sanskrit and daruhadi in Hindi, the root and stem of tree turmeric have excellent antibiotic and antiseptic properties.

Tree turmeric, which belongs to Menispermaceae family and botanically known as Coscinium fenestratum, is native to the natural evergreen forests of South India. Highlands with relatively high humidity and shade are ideal for its growth. Its root and stem are widely used in various Ayurvedic, Unani, Sidha as well as traditional medicinal preparations for the treatment of diabetes, skin diseases, jaundice, wounds and ulcers. Its stem is used to treat snake bites.

Berberin contained in the plant is the active ingredient that gives it the medicinal properties.

Rated as one of the largest trading medicinal plants from the tropical forests, almost 80 per cent of tree turmeric plants in South India have been lost. Realising the medicinal and commercial potential of this endangered species, KAU has taken up conservation-oriented research work on the flowering, fruit setting, seed viability and dormancy of tree turmeric.

After extensive research works on seeding pattern as well as alternate propagation methods such as air layering, KAU scientists developed hormone treatment to synchronise the flowering pattern and to produce more viable seeds. Thousands of plants are available for cultivation. The polybag seedling cost only ₹500 per plant.

Published on August 01, 2019

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