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Khilendra Gurung Resource Research and Development Center Kathmandu, Nepal E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Introduction Dhatelo (Botanical name: Prinsepia utilis Royle; Family: Rosaceae) is a deciduous shrub native to Nepal, growing up to 3m high. Branches armed with stout spines. Leaves stalked, alternate, lanceolate, acuminate, slightly serrate, glabrous. Flowers stalked, white, in short axillary racemes. Fruit a drupe, oblong, purple when ripe. Flowers: February-March; Fruits: April-May. Propagated by seeds or branch cuttings. It grows in forest, scrub and hedges at an altitude of 1300-3000m in central to western Nepal; usually found in sunny open places on dry hillsides near spring or water-course. 2. Availability of the raw material There is no data on the availability and production of Dhatelo oil in Nepal. In average about 250 Dhatelo plants per hectare are found in the mid hills of western Nepal. About 1-2.5kg of seeds can be collected from each plant. Therefore, in average 437.50kg of seeds can be collected from one hectare. According to the literature and local practice about 15-20% of oil can be extracted from fully ripe dried seeds which imply that 65.625kg of Dhatelo oil can be obtained from one hectare area. 3. Harvesting techniques Dhatelo plants possess spines/thorns in the stem and branches and therefore, it is somewhat difficult to harvest fruits. The harvester picks the fruits of less bushy plant with bare hand but to collect fruits of bushy canopy they sometimes use sticks and sickles. Mainly females are involved in the collection of berries and children also assist to gather the fruits from the ground. The fruits are collected in hand woven baskets made from Himalayan bamboo. 4. Traditional uses of Dhatelo by rural communities of western Nepal Raw fruit are eaten by children. It has rather an astringent flavor. The seed yield edible oil locally used in cooking. Furthermore, seed oil is rubefacient. It is applied externally as a treatment for rheumatism and muscular pain caused by hard work. The oil is also applied to the forehead for the treatment of coughs and colds. The heated oil cake is applied as a poultice to the abdomen for the treatment of stomachache. A paste of this seed cake is used as a poultice to treat ringworm or eczema.
5. Processing method of Dhatelo oil Dhatelo oil is processed either in community level or in individual household level. About 15kg seeds are required to produce one kg of Dhatelo oil. The processed oil is used for domestic consumption mainly for cooking purpose. The Dhatelo fruit is collected and squeezed to liberate seeds. After cleaning and drying, the seeds are pounded using a traditional pounder, a "Dhiki ", into a fine powder. The powder is steamed on a perforated plate over the boiling pan. The oil is then extracted using a traditional oil expeller. The oil contains impurities which needs post filtration or purification to become edible. The final product is light brown/dark cream color with a strong smell and taste. 6. Process flow of Dhatelo oil 1. Collection of fruits ↓ 2. Squeezing of the fruits ↓ 3. Removal of inner part of mesocarp ↓ 4. Drying seeds in the fireplace in two story bamboo basket for 4-5 days/drying in sun for about a week and stored in the baskets. ↓ 5. Crushing and steaming of seed flour ↓ 6. Oil extraction using traditional expeller 7. Other uses The oil is also used for lighting. The oil cake is used for washing clothes. A deep purple color obtained from the fruits is used for painting windows and walls. Plants are grown as a hedge in the western Himalayas. Plants have an extensive root system and are used for binding the soil. Wood is hard, compact and very liable to split.