MANURES, FERTILISERS AND PESTICIDES
The medicinal plants have to be grown without chemical fertilizers
and use of pesticides. Organic manures like, Farm Yard Manure (FYM), Vermi-Compost, Green Manure etc. may be used
as per requirement of the species. To prevent diseases, bio-pesticides could be prepared (either single or mixture) from Neem (kernel, seeds & leaves), Chitrakmool, Dhatura, Cow's urine etc.
Rauvolfia, if grown in 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 crop under subtropical
conditions. It need regular irrigation where temperature rise high combined with low rain fall during rainy season. It is suggested that 15 to 16 irrigations, amounts to irrigation at 20 days interval in summer and at 30 days interval in winter.
HARVESTING/ POST HARVESTING
Root yields at different age and season have showed that 18 months duration crop produce maximum root yield. Transplanting is done
in July, the harvesting period coincides with the shedding of leaves during early autumn season next year.
At this stage, the roots contain maximum concretion of total alkaloids. At harvest the root may be found to go up to 40 cm deep in the soil. Harvesting is done by digging up the roots and thin roots are also
After digging the roots are cleaned, washed and cut into 12 to 15 cm pieces for convenience in drying and storage.
The dry roots possess upto 8-10 per cent of moisture. The dried roots are stored in polythene lined gunny bags in cool dry place to protect it from mould.
On an average, root yield vary from 15 to 25 q/ha of dry weight under irrigation depending upon soil fertility, crop stand and management. Some
cultivators reports that the average yield is 2700 to 3300 kg dried roots/ha and 810 kg seed per hectare.
The roots of Rauvolfia is generally used in medicine. Rauvolfia is mainly used for the treatment of various central nervous system disorders
associated with psychosis, schizophrenia, insanity, insomnia, and epilepsy. Extracts of the roots are valued for the treatment of intestinal disorders, particularly
diarrhea and dysentery and also as anathematic. Mixed with other plant extracts, they have been used in the treatment of cholera, colic and fever. The root was believed to stimulate uterine
contrition and recommended for use in child-birth in difficult cases. The juice of the leaves has been used as a remedy for opacity of the cornea.
Rauvolfia main uses are:
In insanity: The rauwolfia plant is highly beneficial in treating insanity. One gram of powdered root can be taken twice a day with 250 ml of goats milk, sweetened with sugar candy.
It is unsuitable for those with a low blood pressure, depressed and hypotensive patients.
High blood pressure: The Rauvolfia herb is the best remedy for high blood
pressure and it has been adapted by medical fraternity in most countries. Those alkaloids which have a direct effect on hypertension have
been isolated in it and are widely used by the practitioners of modern medicine. But they have certain unpleasant side effects which the drug
taken in its raw form, does not have. Half a teaspoon of its powder taken thrice a day is effective in relieving hypertension.
;In insomnia: Rauwolfia is a wee-known remedy in treating insomnia because of its sedative properties. The very first dose of
Rauwolfia enables the patient of a phlegmatic and gouty nature to go to sleep. About 0.6 to 1.25 grams
of the powder of its root is mixed with some scented vehicle and taken. It is non-stimulating and should be given in doses of 0.25 grams to the patient at bedtime for sound sleep.
In Hysteria: Rauwolfia is useful in treating hysteria. One gram of powdered root can be administered thrice with milk. Treatment should be continued till a complete cure is obtained.
In itching skin: It relieves itching in urticaria. One gram of powdered root can be taken with water.
Other uses: It is used as an antidote to the bites of poisonous reptile like snakes.
It is also used to treat dysentery and other painful affections of the intestinal canal. The root of Serpentina
also possess anti bacterial properties. Infusion, decoction and extract of the roots are employed to increase uterine contractions for
expulsion of foetus, to treat painful affections of bowels, diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, colic and fever.
The root was believed to stimulate uterine contraction and recommended for use in child-birth in difficult cases. The juice of the leaves has been used as a remedy for capacity of the cornea (Wealth of India)
In patients with cardiac arrhythmia, myocardial infarction or severe cardiac damage, bronchitis, asthma or gastric ulcer,
Serpentinas' s chemical reserpine has a relatively low toxicity, but even the minimum therapeutic doses may give rise to nasal
congestion, lethargy, drowsiness, peculiar dreams, vertigo and gastro-intestinal upsets; sometimes dyspnea and
urticarial rash may occur. Higher doses may cause flushing, injection of conjunctivae, insomnia, bradycardia, occasionally
parkinsonism, and severe mental depression which may lead to suicide. Cases of asthenia and edema have also been reported.
Side effects of reserpine are usually transient and quickly disappear on reducing the dosage or discontinuing treatment
Expenditure per ha. Rs.19,000/-
Return per ha. Rs.60,000/-
Net income Rs.41,000/- (YEAR-2001)
Note: Market for medicinal plants is volatile and the economics may vary.
The rauvolfia root is an effective blood-pressure lowering agents, acting on the central nervous system.
Very high doses used for hypertension, rauvolfia alkaloids cause a
depletion of norepinephrine, resulting in a tranquilizing effect.
Many researchers discovered that only Rauvolfia alkaloids and clonidin do not have an undesirable influence
In a Chinese study on 200 patients with moderate hypertension,
rauvolfia alkaloids lowered blood pressure was reduced by as much as 30-40% with minimal side effects.
Rauwolfia root has proven highly effective (89%) in cases of chronic hives.
In epidemiological studies, rauvolfia alkaloids did not increase the risk of breast cancer
Rauwolfia root has occasionally proven effective in cases of malnutrition that
were unresponsive to high protein or high-energy diets.
Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
Regional Research Laboratory CANAL ROAD, Jammu Tawi (J&K)
CIMAP, PO CIMAP, KUKRAIL PICNIC SPOT, Lucknow (UP)
Tropical Forest Research Institute, Mandlar Road, Jabalpur (MP)