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Aristolochia indica

Plant profile

Family Aristolochiaceae
Ayurvedic name Isharmul
Unani name Zarawand Hindi
Hindi name Kiramar
English name The Indian Birthwort
Trade name Ishar-mul
Parts used Leaves and Roots
Aristolochia indica

Aristolochia indica

Morphological Characteristics

  • Aristolochia indica is a perennial creeper with a woody rootstock.
  • Leaves are alternate, entire with more or less undulate margins, somewhat cordate, acuminate or obovate.

Floral Characteristics

  • Flowers constitute of greenish-white or light purplish perianth with inflorescence in axillary cymes or fascicles, 1-2 lipped, hairy within limbs dilated.
  • Stamens are six in number, adnate and filaments are not distinguishable from the style.
  • Anthers are adnate to column and carpel is six locular with two ovules.
  • The flowers are usually foetid in odour.
  • Fruit is globose, oblong, septicidal, six valved capsule and opening from below upwards.
  • Seeds are many in number, flat and winged.

Distribution

Plant is distributed in lower hills and plains of India, Bengal and Assam.

Climate and Soil

  • It grows in warm and moist climate, with temperature ranging from 20ºC to 33º C, and annual rainfall ranging 100-150 cm and spread out to a greater part of the year.
  • It can also be cultivated over well drained sandy- loam soil rich in organic matter.
  • It needs irrigation at lower elevation where rainfall is low.

Propagation Material

Seeds.

Agro-technique

Nursery Technique

Raising Propagules: Seeds mature during May-July. Germination of seed is about 80%. Seeds may be sown in rows over raised beds and 10 cm apart. Seedlings at 4-5 leaves stage can be transferred in polybags or kept in the nursery bed till it attains 15 cm height, when it is ready for transplantation. Seed viability remains at 70-80% up to one year. Seeds should be treated in Bavistin/Captan/Thiram before sowing. About 30,000 seedlings are needed for one hectare land.

Planting in the Field

  • Land Preparation and Fertilizer Application: Land should be deeply ploughed and harrowed twice and made into good tilth. FYM @ 10 t/ha alongwith NPK @ 25:60:100 kg/ha during land preparation may be applied. Later N @ 25 kg/ha may be applied after planting and again at 3 months interval.
  • Transplanting and Optimum Spacing: Seedlings may be raised in May-July and their transplantation done in August-September. 60X60 cm spacing is optimal requirement.
  • Intercropping System: Annual herbs like chilli can be grown as intercrop.
  • Inter-culture and Maintenance Practices: Hoeing and hand weedings are carried out simultaneously 45 days after planting, thereafter at 6 months interval in first year. In second year, periodicity of interculture remains same.
  • Irrigation Practices: Usually rainfed crop, but supplementary irrigation is needed during dry seasons.
  • Weed Control: Pre-emergence application of Pendimethaline @ 1.0 kg/ha or Simazine @ 2.0 kg/ha may be applied, thereafter hand weeding at 90 days after tansplanting and later as per weed population. Application of post-emergence herbicides is not suggested.
  • Disease and Pest Control: Leaf blight is observed in the plantation during winter season. Application of Dithane M-45 @ 3 gm/lit at 15 days interval is found to control the disease. Infestation of Pachlioptera aristolochia is found to attack the vines and eat on tender leaves during May-August. Application of Rogor 30 EC @ 0.02% keeps the moth away. Thiodan 35 EC @ 0.09% is also found effective against the insect.
  • Crop Maturity and Harvesting: Crop matures after one year growth but the leaves are pruned and harvested after 180 days onwards periodically. The collection of roots is advisable after two years of age.
  • Post-harvest Management: Leaves and roots after collection are cleaned thoroughly and all foreign matters are removed. These may be dried in shade for a week when it has 10-12% moisture and then it is ready for storage. It is packed in air tight polythene bags and stacked in bamboo or wooden crates.
  • Chemical Constituents: Plant possesses aristolochic acid upto 0.017% and essential oil upto 0.5%. Besides, it has potassium and β-sitosterol. Two sesquiterpene hydrocarbons viz. ishwarane and aristolochene have been identified from the root and their structure is established.
  • Yield and Cost of Cultivation: Estimated yield is 640 kg/ha/year in the second year and onwards.

Therapeutic Uses

  • The dried roots and rhizomes are used as a bitter tonic.
  • The fresh juice of leaves and bark is used in the bowel complaints of children, diarrhoea and intermittent fevers.
  • The root is used in skin diseases and heals wounds and destroys the toxic effect of all poisons.
  • In the olden days, it was used against snake-bites in Southern India.
  • The plant possesses emmenagogue, abortifacient, antiarthritic, anti-inflammatory, antiperiodic, diuretic and antibilious properties.

Source: Agro-techniques of selected medicinal plants



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