Techniques in commercial cultivation, scientific harvesting and preservation of medicinal plants

Dr. Indira Balachandran

Arya Vaidya Sala, Kottakkal Kerala

CULTIVATION
Trees as pure crop • Ceasalpinia sappan L. - Chappangam, Pathimukam


• •

Myristica fragrans Houtt. - Jati
Emblica officinalis Gaertn. - Nelli Gmelina arborea Roxb. - Kumizhu

 Shrubs as pure crop • Plumbago indica L. - Chettikkoduveli • Adhatoda beddomei Cl. - Chittatalotakam • Holostemma ada-kodien Schult. - Atapatiyan

• Trichosanthes cucumerina L. - Patolam
• Acorus calamus L. - Vayambu • Bacopa monnieri (L.) Pennel - Brahmi

 Shrubs as intercrops

Adhatoda beddomei (Vasa – Chittatalotakam)
Parts used – Whole plant • In Coconut plantations and for the first four years in Rubber estates


• • • • • •

5 tender stem cuttings on each mound at an espacement of 2 ft
On hill slopes directly in the soil Harvesting within 2 – 2½ years Total expenditure – Rs. 25,000 – 30,000 / acre Yield from intercrop – 6000 Kg – whole plant from 1 acre Yield from pure crop – 8000 Kg Price per Kg. – Rs. 15

Net Profit – Rs. 65,000 / acre (in intercropping)
Rs. 95,000 / acre (from pure crop)

 Shrubs as intercrops

Nilgirianthus ciliatus (Sahachara – Karimkurinji) Parts used: Root and a part of stem • • • • • • Propagation by tender stem cuttings – In Rubber and Coconut plantations Harvesting time – within 2 –3 years Total expenses – Rs. 22,000 – 25,000 / acre Yield per acre – 8,000 – 10,000 Kg (root and stem) Price per Kg. – Rs. 6.50 (Fresh); Rs. 21 (Semi-processed) (Reduction in weight after drying 50%) Net Profit – Rs. 30,000 – 40,000 / acre

 Shrubs as intercrops

Baliospermum solanifolium (Danti – Nagadanti) Part used - Roots • Propagation – Stem cuttings with 3 – 4 nodes
• 4 cuttings on each mound having one foot diameter and 20 cm height. More economical than planting rooted seedlings in pits • Harvesting – within 2 –3 years


• • •

Yield – 6000 Kg from 1 acre
Total expenses – Rs. 30,000 / acre Price - Rs. 18/Kg - Semi-processed (cut into 2" long pieces) fresh roots Net profit – Rs. 78,000 / acre

The leaves and tender aerial portion can be used as green manure to coconut trees

 Shrubs as intercrops

Plumbago indica (Chitraka – Chettikkoduveli)
Part used – Roots • • • • • • • • Propagation by tender stem cuttings having 3 nodes Planted on raised manured beds without much interspace Alluvial soil with drainage capacity is more suitable Harvesting – within 1½ - 2 years Yield – 2 – 2½ tons Total expenses – Rs. 40,000 – 50,000 / acre Price per Kg – Rs. 55 Net profit – Rs. 70,000 – 87,500 / acre

Additional profit can be made by the sale of seedlings of the above four items from 2nd year onwards

 Shrubs as intercrops

Clitoria ternatea (Aparajita – Sankhupushpam) Parts used – Whole plant and roots • • • • • • Propagation through seeds Seedlings planted on raised beds at a distance of 20 cm Bright sunlight is required Harvesting – within 6 months Total expenses – Rs. 10,000 – 15,000 / acre Yield / acre – 2,000 – 2,500 Kg


Price – Rs. 20 / Kg (Whole plant)
Net Profit – Rs. 30,000 – 35,000 / acre

 Shrubs as intercrops

Coleus zeylanicus (Valakam – Iruveli)
Parts used – root and stem • • • Tender stem cuttings are planted on beds at 15–20 cm distance Harvesting – Within 6 – 9 months Expenses – Rs. 15,000 / acre


• •

Yield – 1000 Kg (dried and semi processed root and stem)
Price – Rs. 65 – 70 / Kg Net Profit – Rs. 50,000 / acre

 Shrubs as intercrops

Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi) Part used : Whole plant


Can be cultivated in paddy fields and marshy places using stem cuttings
Expenses – Rs. 50,000 / acre


• •

Yield – 10,000 – 12,000 Kg
Price – Rs. 10 / Kg Net Profit – 50,000 – 70,000 / acre 3 harvests possible in a year

 Shrubs as intercrops

Pseudarthria viscida (Saliparni – Orila) Desmodium gangeticum (Prisniparni – Moovila) Part used - Roots • As a cover crop in Rubber plantations for first 4 years


• • •

Planting – Simple broadcasting of seeds in ploughed field
Harvesting – Within 6 months Expense – Rs. 50,000 / acre Net Profit – Rs. 30,000 / acre

Special methods of cultivation
Hemidesmus indicus (L.) R. Br.
Sans. : Anantamulah, Sariba
Mal.: Nannari, Naruneendi • • Propagation through seeds

Usual Practice
Planting of 4 leaved seedlings on raised beds at an espacement of 1 inch.

Harvesting – Too expensive; wastage is high

Wastage during harvesting of H. indicus roots
No. plants in one bundle 20
20

Wt. of roots obtained (Kg) 4.800
5.000

Wastage during harvest (gm) 80
40

20
20

4.400
3.200

60
50

Special method – Cultivation in Bamboo Hemidesmus indicus
• 2 m long, thick, vertically split bamboo stems


• • • • • •

Remove nodal partitions except at basal node & make holes on lowest nodal partition
Rejoin the two bamboo halves using nylon rope Fill the bamboo stem with potting mixture 2 or 3 rooted seedlings are planted on the top and the bamboo stems are kept erect in the soil Harvest the entire roots after two years by separating the bamboo halves No damage and wastage Yield – 300 g / bamboo bit

Propagation of Hemidesmusstages

Splitting of Bamboo

Removal of nodal portion

Making holes in the last nodal portion

Tying split bamboos with nylon rope

Filling Bamboo with potting mixture

Painting last internode and making hole in the ground for fixing bamboo

Overall view

Placing seedling on top of bamboo

Harvesting

Special method – Cultivation in long polybags
Holostemma ada-kodien Schult.
Sans. Jeevanthi; Mal. Atapathiyan

• Useful parts – Tuberous roots • Propagation – Seeds and roots Usual practice • Cultivated either on soil beds or on mounds • Harvesting – Too expensive; wastage high Wastage during harvesting of H. ada-kodien
No. of plants in one mound 5 5 5 5 Fresh wt. of roots obtained (gm) 875 600 950 540 Wastage during harvesting (gm) 15.0 10.0 15.1 13.8

Special method - Holostemma ada-kodien
• Half of the polybags are filled with potting mixture • Keep them in 15 cm deep pits at a distance of 1ft • 2 rooted seedlings are planted in each polybag • Bamboo splits as support to the polybag and to the plant • Organic manuring twice at 6 months interval • Harvest after two years

• Roots are extracted by tearing the polybags
• No damage and wastage

Propagation in polythene bags using bamboo splits as support

Propagation in polythene bags Overall view

Harvesting of root from polybag

Harvesing, Semi-processing & storage Problems in existing practices Harvesting
Unscientific harvesting of roots Roots from shrubs Eg.: Sida rhombifolia ssp. retusa (Bala – Kurunthotti) Pseudarthria viscida (Saliparni – Moovila) Desmodium gangeticum (Prisniparni – Orila) • • Collection before seed setting and seed dispersal Wastage due to simple plucking Wastage in harvesting
Fresh weight (Kg)
2.70 2.95
Sustainable method

No. Sida plants in a bundle
100 100

Wastage (gm)
0.9 2.1

• Use iron crowbar for loosening the soil
• Collection after fruiting season • Keep small area untouched for natural regeneration

Unscientific harvesting of tuberous roots
Eg.: Asparagus racemosus Willd. • The whole bunch of roots is dug out

• Large and medium sized roots are taken leaving the small ones as waste
Wastage in harvesting No. of roots from 2 yr old plant 82 Fresh wt. (Kg) 3.450 Wastage (Kg) 1.8

72

3.000

1.5

Collect only large and stout tuberous roots Allow further growth of the plant Sustainable method

Unscientific harvesting of roots from trees Eg.: Aegle marmelos (L.) Corr. Oroxylum indicum (L.) Benth. ex Kurz • • No. of preparations in which used – 77 The whole tree is cut down to take the roots!!!
Wastage during hervesting
Plant species A. marmelos A. marmelos O. indicum O. indicum Age of the tree (Yrs) 14 14 14 14 Total raw drug obtained (Kg) 90.0 125.0 60.0 61.0 Wastage (Kg) 20.0 10.0 9.5 9.0

Sustainable method • Collect only the mature side roots - tap root undisturbed

Harvest of leaves 3 times / year, Harvest of fruits once a year

Unscientific extraction of bark
Eg.: Holarrhena pubescens (Buch.-Ham.) Don
• By cutting down the entire tree and chopping the main stem and branches • Removing the entire bark from the existing tree

Wastage during harvesting
Age of the tree (Yrs) 13 15 Quantity of bark obtained (Kg) 16.0 12.5 Wastage (Kg) 5.050 5.200

17
18
Sustainable method • Remove only 1/3 of the mature bark

28.0
33.0

6.250
8.000

• Remove only the outer and the middle bark leaving the inner bark for regeneration Advantage - Extraction 4 times a year without killing the tree

Extraction of bark from Holarrhena pubescens
Unscientific method Sustainable method

Unscientific collection of fruits
Eg.: Emblica officinalis Gaertn Garcinia gummi-gutta (L.) Roxb.

• By cutting down the fruit bearing branches
Sustainable method • Collect the fruits alone by hand or with hooks (Precaution against mechanical damage)

Unscientific extraction of black dammer
Canarium strictum Roxb. • Make incision on the stem& set fire underneath the tree • Collect the exuded resin using chopper after a month

Avoid fire setting underneath the tree

Collection at improper time
•Nature and quantity of chemical constituent – high seasonal variation

• Best time of collection
– Highest content of active principles in plant parts – Maximum quantity on drying

Eg.:

Acacia catechu (Heart wood) – November–January
Acorus calamus (Rhizome) – May–July Terminalia arjuna (Bark) – February–April

Semi-processing
• Small pieces get wasted while slicing (Roots& heart wood) and wastage will increase when slicing is done after drying (Tuberous roots)
• Fungal attack due to improper drying methods (Fruits, bark, whole plant etc.)

Suggestion • Keep the semi-processing yard clean • Dry the raw material up to desired moisture content Eg.Gooseberry fruits: dry till fruits attain 65% loss in weight Holarrhena bark - dry till bark attain 67% loss in weight Oroxylum root chips - dry till attain 54% loss in weight • Slice the raw material just after harvesting and washing

Problems in storage
• Fungal attack due to insufficient drying • Rodent attack and contamination by excreta • Attack of insects • Decaying due to storage in unhygienic condition The required % of driage in various plant species
Plant species Aegle marmelos Emblica officinalis Holostemma ada-kodien Holarrhena pubescens Driage (%) 37 65 67 67

Suggestions: Proper drying, packing and storage in hygienic, well–ventilated go-downs Other remedial measures: Fumigation, treatment using chemicals and radioactive rays ? Further research & documentation is required