Production Technology of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants.

Common name : Safflower
Botanical name : Carthamus tinctorius Linn.
Family : Asteraceae
Transliteration : Gur-gum

Erect annual thistle like herb, stem white and strong, up to 1.5 m tall, branched towards the apex. Leaves spiny, oblong or ovate-lanceolate, glabrous and alternate, spinose-toothed with the upper leaves clasping the stem. Flowers are borne on heads or capitula arising from the top of branches (1-5 heads/plant), with yellow, orange, red or white corollas surrounded by clusters of leafy spiny bracts. Fruits or seeds (achenes) are white, 6-7 mm long, shiny and almost four-sided in shape.

Used as diuretic, an aid to digestion, weight loss, to calm nerves and sooth hysteria; supports the heart and liver; helps promote circulation, dissolves clots, and induce menstruation; used to treat post child birth pains, stiffness and pain in joints and internal bleeding. Can be taken hot to produce strong perspiration as a remedy for cold. Petals are one of the chief ingredients used in the formulation of Tsheringma Herbal Tea produced by Institute for Traditional Medicine Services (ITMS). It is also used a substitute for real saffron (Crocus sativus = drezang).

Seed is eaten roasted or fried and used for chutney preparations. Oil extracted from the seed is highly nutritious due to its low cholesterol content. Oil contains higher percentage of essential unsaturated fatty acids than other vegetable oils.

Other uses
Tender shoots can be taken as salad. Meal or seedcake is very nutritious feed for livestock.

Origins: (a) Ethiopia and Afghanistan; (b) India and Myanmar
Many cultivars differing in flower colour, degree of spininess, head size, oil content, resistance to diseases.

Climate and soil
Safflower is grown as summer crop in areas of medium altitude as winter crop in low altitudes; is adapted to dry land or irrigated cropping system. Not suitable in areas with rainfall above 1000 mm. Light, well drained soils with a pH of about 7 is found to be best. Crop is susceptible to increased humidity or prolonged waterlogged conditions, particularly during the flowering season. Dry conditions are favourable for flower development. Thrives well as a winter crop in the South (Tsirang) and as a summer crop in Western Bhutan (Paro/Thimphu).

Sowing and Planting
Sowing time
Field is prepared by ploughing once or twice until fine texture is achieved. Raise beds at 1 m width keeping the lengths as permitted by the field. Irrigate the field prior to sowing if it is dry.
Sowing is carried out in the months of April-may and September -October in the areas of medium altitude and low altitude respectively. Sowing time should be adjusted to avoid rainfall during blooming stage. Presoaking of seed for 24 hours is suggested to ensure good germination. Seed rate varies from 17-20 kg/ha.
Sowing Distances:
• Row to row: 20 cm = 5 furrows/bed
• Plant to plant: 10 cm
• Depth: 2.5 cm
Manures and fertilizer: Apply Farm yard manure when plants start to form buds to increase flower production. Add 10 tons of FYM.
Cultural practices
Safflower is very sensitive to weed competition during its rosette stage; therefore keep plants weed free during this critical phase( weeding at least twice after germination and after 4-leaves stage). An important operation clipping to induce flowering is carried out after two months of plant development.

Harvesting petals
Petal harvest begins 5 months from sowing. Petals are cleanly nipped with the help of scissors at their clump three days after bloom. We recommend to repeat petal harvest after 2 to 3 days.
Harvest preferred during morning hours to attain max. Ingredients and colour. Spread petals on a clean tarpaulin and dry under shade. Pack in air tight moisture free containers.


Highest yield of 120 kg/acre shown in 3rd week of March as shown in graph.

Harvesting seeds
Uproot ripened plants after approx. 6 months when stems & leaves appear yellowish/brown. Heap in the filed for few days until thoroughly dry. Manual threshing & winnowing recommended to obtain clean seed.

Pests and diseases
Alternaria sp.: rotting of roots in connection with water logging
o Seed selection (select healthy seeds)
o Rogue out infected plants
o Avoid water logging

Yield and income
Petals up to 124 kg/acre (summer crop)
Seed: 680 kg/acre (winter crop)

Common name : Caraway
Botanical name : Carum carvi L.
Family : Umbelliferae
Transliteration : – ‘goned’

Caraway is an erect herb with thick tuberous rootstocks, growing up to 80 cm in height with narrow grooved leafy stems. It is a biennial crop. During the first year a rosette of dark green, finely cut, feathery leaves is formed and only in the second year the flowering and fruiting takes place. Flowers produced on umbels, flowers in late spring.

Parts used: fruits

Used fro flavouring children’s medicine, meats and confectionery products; as an antidote to flatulence and aid to digestion; helps in respiratory, eye & urinary problems, also used in mouthwash and gargle preparations as well as in perfumery industry; locally used as condiments and spices. Caraway oil is rubbed on skin ti improve complexion. Caraway ‘goned’ seed (fructus carvi) is an important ingredient of the Bhutanese Traditional Medicine as well as an important spice in Europe, the US and Australia. Six formulations of the ITMS, eg: Bi-ma-la, Agar-35, Tsa-kar-juk-pa etc.

Habitat: Moderate temperate to alpine climate. Frequent near human settlements, rough grazeland; 2000-4150 masl.

Location: Ha, Thimphu, Paro regions, Upper Moc hu and Kulong Chu regions.

Domesticated/wild: semi domesticated

Recommended areas of cultivation: Ha, Bumthang, Lingshi and Paro.

Caraway (Carum carvi) is widely distributed in the temperate regions of North and Middle Europe, Asia and Africa. It is found in wild in north Himalayan region. It is cultivated almost throughout the northern and central Europe, mainly Holland and central Asia. In India it is cultivated as a winter crop in the plains and as summer crops in hills of Kashmir and Kumaon, garhwal and Uttranchal.
Wild or semi-cultivated caraway found in Bhutan around settlements of Soe and Lingshi at altitudes between 2400 to 4000 masl.

The crop requires a dry temperate climate and thrives well in wet tilled soils rich in humus at an elevation of 3000-4000 m. The crop grows as an annual one in plains and as a perennial in the hills. Caraway is grown as a summer crop at places 2000-4000 m masl. High temperature are not required in the consequent phases of development; a daily mean temperature of 16-20 oC is advantageous at the time of flowering and seed setting. It is sensitive to the availability of sunshine especially in the first year.

Caraway grows well on a variety of soils. Sandy loam soils rich in organic matter are preferred. The highest yield can be obtained when cultivated in deep, humid ( although without ground water) medium soils. Dry sandy soils, areas where water accumulates and arid soils are not suitable for the cultivation of caraway.

Plants are raised either from seeds. Plough twice & remove weeds carefully. Apply sufficient manure (up to 15 tons of FYM/acre) and prepare a fine surface for sowing. Seeds are sown directly in the field either by broadcasting or sown on lines 2-3 cm deep, 20-30 cm apart @ 1.3 kg/acre during months of March and April. After germination when the plantlets are about 5-6 cm tall and have 6-7 leaves, thin out the seedlings to a spacing of 30-40 cm. Weed regularly and irrigate every two weeks in dry months. The plants over winter and re-emerge next spring (second year). When plants are about 10 cm tall (April) apply well matured compost or FYM as a side dressing after a round of weeding.

Harvest & Post-harvest Operations
Harvesting is done by cutting below the lowest branch or pulling up the plant. Avoid abrupt shaking to prevent seed shattering. Harvest during early hours of the day. In subtropical areas where the crop is planted in autumn, it is ready for harvesting in March -April, whereas in temperate areas the plant flowers only after winter is over. It matures in the next year in July after 15 months. The crop is harvested when the oldest seed has turned brown.
Dry in bundles in shade on clean plastic sheet/tarpaulin/cloth. Shake or thresh plant to remove the seeds.

Normally it is stord in dark and cool place in aluminium containers.

Value addition
High value carvone can be produced using fractional column.

Yield: 160 – 400 kg/acre
Market outlets: ITMS, Spices Manufacturers in Europe.

Common Name: Kuth/Costus
Botanical Name: Saussurea lappa Clarke

Family: Asteraceae
Transliteration: Ru-ta

Parts used: Root
Description: Perennial herb, 4-5 ft tall, robust stem (annual), basal leaves pinnate, lobed terminally, up to 40 cm long; stem leaves 30 cm long, entire or irregularly toothed
Roots have a pungent taste along with a characteristic fragrant aromatic odour. Flowers purple (July – Aug).

Medicinal Uses: Used as tonic; used against asthma, Cough, cholera, bronchitis; It has aphrodisiac and anthelmintic properties, used as insecticide and pesticide; roots are highly aromatic are used in incense making. Saussurea lappa oil is banned in the EU for use as fragranc;:e due to cutaneous toxicities.

Habitat: Woodland, moist open slopes, and shady places and edges; 2000-3300 masl.
Domesticated/Wild: Domesticated.
Recommended areas of cultivation: Bumthang, Ha, Paro, T /phu.
Recommended production technologies:
Propagated through root segments and seed.
Soil and Climate: Well drained sandy to loamy soil of great depth is considered best since the plant develops long and thick roots. It requires a cool and humid climate.
Field Preparation
Prepare field by ploughing twice & crushing clods into fine texture, add sufficient FYM prior to sowing, irrigate the field before sowing if it is dry,
Nursery Preparation
Start Nursery in well-prepared fields in March-April. Apply sufficient FYM before sowing.Sow seeds at 2-3 cm depth (2 seeds/hole) at a row spacing of 30 cm x 30 cm. Seed rate: 1.5 Kg/Acre.

Field Planting
Transplant when the plantlets are sufficiently developed (2-3 leaved stage) into well-manured raised beds of 1.5 m breadth and lengths as permitted by the field/area.
Keep a plant spacing of 50 x 50 cm to permit optimum leaf development. Transplanting is recommended in the months of June – July.
In the absence of rainwater for 3-5 days after transplanting.

Cultural operations
Weed at least twice after transplanting and once after 4-leaved stage to keep the plants weed free. The plant dries up at the end of the first year growing season (4-5 leave stage during fall).Earth up & fertilize with FYM/leaf compost during the following spring when the plant starts sprouting. Provide mild irrigation.

Harvest & Pot harvest technology
Harvest & Post Harvest
The crops come into fruiting within two -three years depending on the climatic conditions. Harvest the roots in Oct- Nov of the second growing season. Dig out roots, wash thoroughly, chop to 1 to 2 cm slices, dry in shade on a tarpaulin or mat.

Yield & Market Status
Average yield: 300 Kg dried and ~ 650 – 780 Kg fresh roots/acre.More than 100 farmers cultivating in 8 districts are cultivating Ruta. It has both external & internal market opportunities, organic production can add value
Essential oil extraction can add value-Nu 30,000 per liter of oil, minimal or no pest & disease attack, production cost is economical in terms of return. However, scenario is surplus production for Bhutan’s demand and less volume of production for export. Farmers are conditioned to the high prices offered by the ITMS vis-à-vis prevailing international market rates. Oil banned in Europe owing to its allergy inducing properties. It is one of the threatened and CITES protected species.

Common Name: Tibetan Dragons Head
Botanical Name: Dracocephalum tanguiticum Maxim
Family: Lamiaceae
Transliteration: Ti-yang-ku

Description: Perennial herb, 30-60cm tall. Stem quadrangular, dark green with dark red tinge and sparsely covered with smooth white hairs. Leaves opposite, pinnatified, elliptic-ovate, 2-4cm, glabrous. Flowers in terminal spikes, floral whorls 2-6 flowered, corolla 20- 27mm long, pubescent. May-July/ Purple.

Parts used: Whole plant (aerial parts).
Medicinal Uses: Used for stomach ache, liver and lung ailments; improves the blood, heals wounds and dries up watery pus.
Habitat: Stony slopes of mountain streams, pebbles, and sometimes on sandy mountain slopes; in wheat fields, alongside trails as well as gardens in Tibet & the Himalayan regions; 3000-4200 masl. Tiyanku is NOT found in Bhutan in wild.
Location: Introduced
Domesticated/Wild: Domesticated.
Recommended areas of cultivation: Successfully cultivated in Soe and Lingsh.

Recommended production technologies: Propagated through seed and cuttings.

Soil and Climate: Best in Well-drained moisture retaining soil.
Nursery raising
Nursery preparation in early spring (March/April), seeds are sown at 0.5 cm deep rows.
Germination after 30 to 40 days.
Seed rate: 200 to 300 g/acre.

When plants are about 7 cm tall, transplant into well-prepared field.
Row to row distance: 30 cm
Plant to plant distance: 15 cm

Vegetative Propagation
Propagation through stem cuttings is best during April-May.
Recommended length of the cutting is 5-6 cm with at least two nods.
Rooting of stem cuttings in individual pots under light shade. Once fully rooted plantlets are transplanted at a distance of 20 x 20 cm.

2nd Year and onwards
Being perennial, plants will sprout in April of the following year. Cut dried stems from previous year, earth up and apply sufficient FYM at the base followed by irrigation.
Plants will flower from May onwards.

Harvest and postharvest technology
Harvesting time differs according to altitude & climate. Aerial parts are harvested in June/July when 50% of plants are in bloom. Early morning harvest is preferred to preserve maximum constituents. Plants are either spread on a tarpaulin and dried under shade or hung in bundles and dried under the roof. The crop can be harvested over 3 to 5 years if well maintained.

Yields: 600 to 800 kg of dried herb/acre

Market Outlets: No known outside as of now.