Sarpagandha Cultivation Guide for Beginners

Sarpagandha is an important medicinal herb. The cultivation of Sarpagandha is profitable. And you can start growing Sarpagandha with a small piece of land. Additionally, the farming demands comparatively small input capital investment. Find here a detailed Sarpagandha cultivation business plan for your ready reference.

The scientific name of Sarpagandha is Rauvolfia Serpentina. In addition, it belongs to the Apocynaceae family. The other popular name is snakeroot. Sarpagandha is known as Dhanbarua in Orissa, Harki in Maharashtra, Sarpagandhi in Karnataka, Patalagarud in Goa, Tulunni in Kerala, Patala Gandi in Andhra Pradesh and Covannamiloori in Tamil Nadu.

Apart from India, some of the major Sarpagandha growers are Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Andaman, and Assam. The plant contains a number of bioactive chemicals, including ajmaline, deserpidine, rescinnamine, serpentinite, and yohimbine. The useful parts are roots and leaves.

Economic Importance Of Sarpagandha Cultivation

The natural reserves of this plant are declining rapidly. Due to the over-harvesting of this plant, there is an emerging demand for the cultivation of Sarpagandha. Sarpagandha is considered as one of the best-known medicinal plants in the world.

Generally, traditional practitioners, Ayurvedic and Siddha drug manufacturers are the major consumers of this product. Additionally, the plant has a very good export potential also. Generally, Croatia, Nepal, Australia, Oman, Kazakhstan, and Tanzania are the major importing countries from India.

Medicinal Values Of Sarpagandha

  • Sarpagandha is useful for in the treatment of cataract.
  • It also cures plague and fever.
  • The root helps to reduce the difficulty of childbirth.
  • The extract is also used against dysentery since ages.
  • It is also useful against irregular heart action in old ages.
  • Additionally, it is useful for lowering blood pressure.
  • Finally, it cures insomnia, hysteria, and hypertension.

Things To Consider In Sarpagandha Farming

  • Sarpagandha cultivation demands specific agroclimatic conditions. So, you must consider the location of your field to go for plantation.
  • Additionally, you must ensure the availability of agriculture and the required allied infrastructures.
  • Generally, the business provides tax-free high returns. Additionally, a number of government support schemes are available. However, you must check the latest provisions.
  • The market for medicinal plants is volatile. Therefore, you must have a clear marketing plan for your produce.
  • Finally, it is important to craft a comprehensive business plan. It helps in arranging the finance and it gives the proper directions.

Agroclimatic Condition For Sarpagandha Farming

Sarpagandha grows in a wide range of climatic conditions. However, hot and humid tropical regions with sufficient rainfall are the most suited places. In addition, a range of temperature 10-30°C is ideal for the plants.

The plant requires slightly acidic to neutral soils for good growth with medium to deep well drained fertile soils. Clay-loam to silt-loam soils, rich in organic contents are suitable for its commercial cultivation. It grows well in frost-free tropical to subtropical situations under irrigation.

Basic Steps For Sarpagandha Cultivation

Propagation

The plant can propagate by three ways like from seeds, from root cutting, and from stem cuttings.

Seed

First of all, you can collect the ripe seeds from the beginning of June to the end of October. then retain their viability for six months. Sow the seeds in raised beds at a depth of 1cm in the nursery in lines 10cm apart with 5cm distance from seed to seed. You can sow about 5.5kg of seeds in 0.05 ha area of the nursery. It ensures an adequate number of seedlings to plant one hectare. The seeds germinate within three weeks.

Root cuttings

You can use the large tap roots, as well as lateral secondary rootlets, for preparing the cuttings of 2.5-3.0cm. Plant them in holes of 5cm deep at the advent of monsoon and covered with the 2.5 to 5.0 cm top layer of soil. If you maintain good moisture, then the cuttings sprout within three weeks of time duration.

Stem cuttings

You can plant stem cuttings of 15 to 20cm length with three internodes in the month of July-August in the nursery and keep it moist. They strike roots within 60 days. After that, you can transplant them to the main field.

Land Preparation

Plough the deeply and left for weathering. After pre-monsoon showers, add FYM. Do the second ploughing and two cross harrowings to break the clods. Finally, dress the land by planking and layout the beds. You must raise the nursery in a partially shaded area with adequate irrigation facility. Each bed must have about 1.5 m wide, 150-200 mm high and of convenient length. Beds with shallow furrows 80-100 mm apart are prepared in April and irrigated.

Planting

June and July are suitable months for transplanting seedlings and vegetatively propagated plants. The seedlings, which are 7.5-12.0cm high, are carefully dug out from nursery beds and planted. You must go for regular irrigation, weeding, and manuring for optimum growth.

Manuring

It is always better to use organic manure. Additionally, you can apply a basal dose of 20kg nitrogen (N), 30kg phosphorus (P2O5) and 30kg-potash (K2O) per hectare. Also, you can apply two top dressing of 20kg annually during the growing season.

Irrigation

You must provide irrigation at regular intervals. In hot dry season, irrigate the crop fortnightly and once a month during winter.

Weeding

First of all, you must keep the field relatively weed-free in the initial period of growth. This means giving two to three weedings and two hoeings in the first year are important. Two weedings in the first year and one weeding in the second year followed by one hoeing usually at the beginning of the growing season are required. If you notice appearing flowers on very young plants, nip them to promote root growth.

Plant Protection

Plant protection is an essential aspect in the cultivation. You must provide proper plant protection to avoid severe damage. Generally, caterpillars roll the leaves and feed on tender leave and cause defoliation. Additionally, Die back disease is very common in Sarpagandha cultivation.

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Harvesting & Yield

The ideal age for the harvesting of the roots is after two or three years from the planting. In addition to the thick tap root, you can also collect fibrous secondary roots as they are rich in the alkaloid content. Irrigation before the digging facilitates easy picking of main as well as secondary roots. The root-bark should not be damaged during harvesting. You can obtain about 2000 kg of dried roots from one hectare.

Drying & Keeping Sarpagandha Roots

First of all, thoroughly dry the harvested roots. After air-drying, artificially dry the roots so as to reduce the moisture content to about 3%. Then break the dried roots into small pieces of 15-20cm and pack in airtight containers for storage in a cool, dry place.