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Vegetable and fruits, edible and medicine: Blumea lacera

Last modified on 23/7/2009 at 3:35:00 PM. Total 11021 views.

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Blumea lacera
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Blumea lacera
L., Compositae, is one of the common rabi weeds of India (Oudhia and Tripathi 1999a). It is an annual herb, with a strong odor of turpentine. Stem is erect, ash colored, densely glandular, pubescent. Leaves are often incised or lyrate. There are many flower heads in single plant, arranged in axillary cymes or terminal panicle. Pappus is white. Fruits is an achene, oblong and not ribbed. Flowering time January to April (Agharkar 1991).

The plant occurs throughout the plains of India from the north-west ascending to 2,000 ft in the Himalayas. It is a common roadside weed in Ceylon and Malaya. It is distributed to the Malay Islands, Australia, China and Tropical Africa. Blumea consists of about 80 species (Caius 1986). Blumea lacera competes with rabi crops such as linseed, chickpea, and wheat for light, food and moisture (Oudhia, 1997) and harbors diseases and insects such as Euplexia dolorosa, Eublemma trifasiciata (Lefroy, 1909). Blumea lacera is described as a valuable medicinal plant in many popular systems of medicine including Ayurveda, homoeopathy, and unani. Stimulatory allelopathy of different parts of B. lacera on many agricultural crops has also been reported (Oudhia 1996). Not much work has been done on various utility aspects of B. lacera. In many parts of India, Blumea is cultivated for its green leaves and roots. Blumea is late kharif crop in these parts (Oudhia and Tripathi 1999b)

Reported Uses

Blumea is described in Ayurveda as bitter, astringent, acrid, thermogenic, errhine, anti-inflammatory, styptic, opthalmic, digestive, anthelmintic, liver tonic, expectorant, febrifuge, antipyretic, diuretic, deobstruant, and stimulant (Warner et al. 1996). The root kept in the mouth is said to cure disease of the mouth. In the Konkan region of India, the plant is used to drive away fleas and other insects. It is prescribed as an antiscorbutic in West Africa (Caius 1986). Essential oil from Blumea has been shown analgesic, hypothermic, and tranquilizing activities (Anonymous 1972). Campestrol has been isolated from aerial parts and 5-hydroxy-3, 6, 7, 3',4'- pentamethoxy flavone, 5,3',4' trihydroxy flavone and an unidentified flavone have been isolated from leaves (Rastogi and Mehrotra 1991). Blumea lacera is considered a valuable homoeopathic drug (Oudhia et al. 1998a) useful in case of enuresis, neuralgia, headache, cold borne cough. A tincture is useful in case of bleeding piles (Ghosh 1988). Natives of Chhattisgarh use this weed for treating health problems (Oudhia et al. 1998b). There is a heavy demand of different parts (fresh and dry both) of this weed in national and international drug markets (Oudhia and Tripathi 1999c). Farmers can earn extra income after selling various parts of Blumea with the help of co-operatives (Oudhia and Traipathi 1999d). Fresh leaves of Blumea are the most valuable part.

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Stimulatory allelopathy of B. lacera on many agricultural crops such as rice has been reported (Oudhia et al. 1997b, 1998c,d) including rabi and kharif obnoxious weeds such as Echinocloa colonum, Ageratum conyzoides (Oudhia et al., 1998c), Chenopodium album, Melilotus indica, Phalaris minor, Cirsium arvense, and Spilanthes (Oudhia et al. 1997a)

Cultivation

Blumea is a late kharif crop. Standard agrotechniques have not been developed. Seeds are generally sown in late August on prepared land with good tilth; fertilizers are not used. Leaves are harvested at time of 50% flowering. Blumea leaf beetle (Chrysolina madrasae Jackoby) is the main insect pest (Oudhia 1989, 1997, 1999a,b,c,d; Oudhia & Thakur 1996).

Source: hort.purdue.edu

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