University of Horticultural Sciences, BagalkotKittur Rani Channamma College of Horticulture,Arabhavi CURRENT STATUS OF ORGANIC PRODUCTION PRACTICES IN HERBAL SPICES
What is organic farming? It is a method of farming system whichprimarily aimed at cultivating the land and raisingcrops in such a way, as to keep the soil alive andin good health by use of organic wastes (crop,animal and farm wastes, aquatic wastes) and otherbiological materials along with beneficialmicrobes (biofertilizers) to release nutrients tocrops for increased sustainable production in aneco-friendly pollution free environment.
Herbal spices Herbal spices are those herbs whose leaves are mostly used for seasoning the dishes.These include, Basil Common mint Rosemary Thyme Parsley Sage Savory
ORGANIC CULTIVATION OF SACRED BASIL Ocimum sanctum is commonly known as Tulsi or Holy Basil, which is a species worshipped by the Hindus. Ocimum sanctum belongs to family Lamiaceae. Among different species of genus Ocimum, the species sanctum occupies wide range of habitats. Among Indian species, Ocimum basilicum and Ocimum sanctum have the widest distribution, which cover the entire Indian subcontinent. Origin: Africa
USES Basil is used in some perfumes and for scenting of soaps of high quality. In flavouring of toothpaste and various food products. Basil oil is extensively used as flavouring agent in confexanery, baked foods, sauces, ketchup, pickles, fancy vinegars, spice meats, sausages and beverages. Dental and oral preparations. Insecticidal and insect repellent properties; it is effective against houseflies and mosquitoes. Leaf juice has narcotic effect and gives relief in irritation of throat and also for ring worm. Seeds possess demulcent, stimulant, dieuretic, diaphoretic and cooling properties, effectives in piles and constipation.
The oil extracted from the leaves is reported to possess antibacterial and insecticidal properties, and is effective as a mosquito repellent.The aromatic compounds found in the essential oils of Ocimum sanctum are mainly the mono-terpenes, sesquiterpenes and phenols, alcohols, esters, aldehydes, ketones and others.
BOTANY The genus Ocimum belongs to subfamily Ocimoideae of the family Lamiaceae. The plants of Ocimum sanctum are predominantly shrubs and herbs and are perennial in habit. The plants are usually much branched. Stems and twigs are usually quadrangular. Young twigs are greenish, purplish or brownish in colour. The leaves are simple, petiolate and ovate. They possess glandular hairs or stalked and sessile glands which secrete volatile oils and they exhibit racemose type of inflorescence. Flowers are hermophordite, zygomorphic and complete. Seeds are mostly brownish, globose or subglobose and are shining or non-mucilaginous.
VARIETIES: Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Lucknow has released the varieties CIM-Ayu, CIM- Angna and CIM-Kanchan.SOIL AND CLIMATE : Ocimum sanctum thrives well on a variety of soils and climatic conditions. Rich loam to poor laterite, alkaline to moderately acidic soils are well suited for cultivation of Ocimum sanctum. Well drained soils help in better vegetative growth. It flourishes under fair to high rainfall and humid conditions. Long days and high temperatures have been found to be favourable for plant growth and higher oil production. Tropical and subtropical climate is suited for its cultivation. Waterlogged conditions can cause root rot and result in stunted growth. So proper drainage should be provided.
NURSERY PREPARATION Raised seedbeds should be prepared and well manured by addition of farmyard manure about at 15 t/ha as basal dose. The seeds should be sown in the nursery. About 20-30g seeds are enough to raise the seedlings for planting one hectare land. After sowing the seeds in the nursery, a mixture of FYM /Vermicompost and soil is thinly spread over the seeds and irrigated with a sprinkler hose. The seeds take about 8-12 days to germinate and seedlings are ready for transplanting in about 6 weeks time.
Raised beds for nursery Ocimum planting material
SPACING : Spacing of 60 60 cm is found suitable for Ocimum sanctum.TRANSPLANTING : The seedlings that are 5-6 cm long are ready for transplanting (i.e 4-5 weeks old seedlings).IRRIGATION : The crop is irrigated immediately after planting. Seedlings are established well by the time of second irrigation. It is the right time to get the gaps filled and replace the weak plants so that uniform stand is achieved. In summer 3-4 irrigations per month are necessary whereas during the remaining period, irrigation is given as and when required. About 20-25 irrigations are enough during a year.
WEEDING In Ocimum sanctum, weeds like Cyanodondactylon and Cyperus rotundus can betroublesome. Before transplanting deep ploughinghas to be done and all the roots of the weeds arecollected manually and removed. Under wellmanaged conditions 4 or 5 weedings are enough.
PESTS AND DISEASES Ocimum sanctum is a hardy crop and no serious pests and diseases havebeen reported. In some situations like waterlogged conditions root-rot mayoccur. To avoid this, proper drainage system has to be maintained. If theproblem becomes serious drenching has to be done with 3% NSKE. Under cloudy conditions it is noticed that incidence of Tingid bugnamely Cochlochilo bullita (family: Tingidae) can cause serious damage bysucking the sap from leaves and causing defoliation and ultimately death ofwhole plant. To avoid this, as a precautionary measure, a foliar spray of 0.2 %neem oil has to be given and the spraying is repeated every 15 days till clearweather prevails.
HARVESTING Ocimum sanctum is ready for first havest 90-95 days after planting. Subsequent harvests are taken approximately once in three months. For leaf production, the crop has to be harvested at flower initiation. The crop should be cut at 15-20 cm above the ground level. The harvesting is done in such a way that most of the tender shoots are cut leaving the woody stem portions for regeneration.
POST HARVEST MANAGEMENT: Pharmaceutical companies prefer to buy dry herb for extraction of active constituents. For this Ocimum sanctum herb has to be shade dried for about 8-10 days by thinly spreading on gunny bags, preferably in well aerated drying sheds. The material must be turned over frequently to prevent fungal attack. The moisture content in the dried herb should be less than 10%.YIELD: From well managed organically grown Ocimum sanctum crop 12-15 t / ha fresh herb (equivalent to 2.4 to 3 t / ha dry matter) can be obtained in a year. Essential oil content in whole plant ranges between 0.25-0.47% on fresh weight. Young inflorescence contains 0.3-0.5% and whole herb 0.10-0.25%. Oil yields of 30-40 kg flower oil and 20-25 kg whole plant oil per ha.
Sweet/ French basil: Ocimum basilicumNutrient management: Application of FYM/ compost at 15 t/ha is recommended.Weed management: First weeding is done 1 month after planting and second one 4 weeks after the first. One hoeing 2 months after transplanting is sufficient.
Pest managementAphid: Aphis gossypiiSpraying 2% neem/ pongamia oil causes considerable mortality of aphids.Tingid bug: Monanthia globuliferaSpraying 1% neem/ pongamia oil causes considerable mortality of bugs.
ORGANIC CULTIVATION OF MINTSPlant Profile:Family : LamiaceaeEnglish name : MintIndian name : Pudina, Putiha (Sanskrit)Pudina (Hindi & Kannada)Putina (Tamil)Podina (Telugu)Species : Mentha arvensis (Japanese mint) M. piperita (Peppermint) M. spicata (spearmint) M. citrata (Bergamot mint)
Japanese Mint (Mentha arvensis) Pepper Mint (Mentha piperita) Spear Mint (Mentha spicata) Bergamot mint (Mentha citrata)
Mint species and their main constituentsCommon name Botanical name Main constituents of mentha oilJapanese mint Mentha arvensis Menthol (70-80 %)Pepper mint M. Piperita Menthol (35-50 %)Bergamot mint M.citrata Linalool and linalyl acetate (45 %)Spear mint m. Spicata Carvone (60-95%)Scotch spear mint m. cardiaca Carvone (53-68 %)Garden mint M. viridis Carvone (very less)
USES Essential oil: In ointments, pain balms, cough syrup Flavoring agent: tooth pastes, candies, chewing gum Cosmetics: deodorant, aftershave lotions Japanese and pepper mint: Menthol- ointments, pain balms, cough syrup Spear mint and scotch spear mint : Carvone- perfumery and flavouring industries Bergamot mint: linalool- cosmetic industries
SOIL Medium to fertile deep soil, rich in humus is ideal The soil should have good water holding capacity but water logging should be avoided. A pH range of 6-7.5 is ideal.CLIMATE Japanese mint can be grown in all tropical and subtropical areas under irrigation. However, it does not tolerate damp winters which cause root rot. Pepper mint and spear mint cannot be grown profitably in tropical and subtropical areas, specially with very high summer temperature (41OC) and the ideal yield is obtained only in humid and temperate conditions like Kashmir and hills of UP and HP. Open sunny situation without excessive rains during the growing period are congenial for good growth and development of the oil. Bergamot mint can be grown even in temperate climate, when it gives higher yields.
VARIETIES OF MINTJAPANESE MINT : (Mentha arvensis) Highly branched and grow up to 1 meter tall Oil content -0.5 -1% Broad ovate leaves Presence of glandular hairs on leaves, stem and calyxVARIETIES: Shivalik, EC-41911, Himalaya (MAS-1), Kalka (Hyb-77), Kosi, Saksha, Gomati, Damroo, Sambhav, Kushal, MAS-2.
PEPPER MINT: (Mentha piperita) Height of 45 -80 cm tall Oil content is 0.3-0.7 %VARIETIES: Kukrail Pranjal CIM Madhuras CIM Indus Tushar
SPEAR MINT (Mentha spicata)• Perennial herb• Height of 90 cm tall• Oil content 0.6 %• High carvone contentVARIETIES:CIMAP-MSS-1CIMAP-MSS-5CIMAP-MSS-98Punjab spearmint-1GangaNeerkalka
BERGAMOT MINT : ( Mentha citrata) Branching, perennial herb 60 cm tall oil content 0.4-0.5% oil emits lemon like smellVARIETIES:Kiran* It has high oil content and quality.* Mutant selection developed by gamma irradiation at CIMAP Lucknow.
CULTIVATION ASPECTSPROPAGATION:Mints are propagated through the creeping stolons, suckers or runnersStolons are obtained from previous years plantingBest time for obtaining stolons is during the months of December-January.Nutrient management: To promote establishment and good crop growth in early stages, addition of well rotted FYM/compost at 20-25 t/ha at the time of land preparation is recommended.
Planting In the plains, planting is done during winter months, whereas in temperate climate, planting is done in autumn or spring from last week of December to 1st week of March or from 1st week of January to 3rd week of February. Late planting always gives poor yield. Mints require thoroughly ploughed, harrowed fine soil. All the stubbles of weeds should be removed before the crop is planted. The stolons are cut into small pieces (7-10 cm) and planted in shallow furrows of about 7-10 cm deep at a distance of 45-60 cm from row to row manually or mechanically. Stolons are planted half way down on inner side of the ridges.
IRRIGATION AND INTERCULTURE Water requirement of mints is very high. Depending on soil and climatic conditions the crop is irrigated 6- 9 times before the first monsoon. The crop requires three irrigations after monsoon. Japanese mints require fifteen irrigations for getting maximum yield.
Weed management: Weeds are known to cause 70-75% reduction in yield. Weeds may reduce both herb and oil yields. The critical period of weed competition has been found to be 30-90 DAP and 16-45 days after first harvest. Four to five manual weedings are required. In sucker planted crop, 3 weedings have to be done at 45, 65 and 80 DAP, while 2 more weedings are done after 30 & 45 days after harvest. In transplanted crop, 2-3 weedings are sufficient. Mulching with citronella distillation waste and sugarcane leaves can be used to control weeds. Crop rotation may also help to maintain a reasonable control on weed growth. Paddy as a preceding crop in rotation with mint has been found to minimize weed competition 30-40%. The following crop rotations may be followed: Mint- Early paddy- Potato Mint- Maize- Potato Mint- Maize- Rape seed/ mustard Mint- paddy
PLANT PROTECTIONPest management: Semi looper : Thysanoplusia orichalcea Control: Spraying of 4% NSKE or 1% Neem oil Aphid: Aphis affinis Control: Spraying 4% PSKE or 1% Neem oilDisease management: Stolon rot: Macrophomina phaseoli Control: Avoid excess irrigation, uproot and burn the affected plants, apply trichoderma sp. to soil
HARVESTING AND YIELD Generally the crop is harvested 100-120 days after planting when the lower leaves start turning yellow. Further, harvesting should be done in bright sunny weather. Harvesting consists of cutting the green herb by means of sickle 2-3 cm above the ground. A second harvest is obtained 80 days after the first harvest and the third after about another 80 days. The first crop is ready by the end of June and the second in September or October. A good crop can give as high as 48000 kg of fresh herb per hectare. However, the average yield from three cuttings is 20,000 to 25,000 kg which in turn may yield about 50-70 kg oil per hectare.
EXTRACTION AND STORAGE Harvested herb may be wilted in shade for a few hours Both fresh and dry herb used for distillation To get better result herbage should be shade dried for a day before it is distilled Steam distillation usually prepared and duration of distillation is 1.5-2 hours Impurities present in oil can removed by filtration Moisture present oil can be removed by application of anhydrous sodium sulphate GI or aluminium containers are suitable for long time storage
ORGANIC CULTIVATION OF THYME• Thymus vulgaris is indeed the most important species and is widely used as a flavouring agent, a culinary herb and as a herbal medicine.• The genus Thymus belongs to the Labiate family (Lamiaceae).• Thymus vulgaris is native to southern Europe, from Spain to Italy.• It is commonly cultivated there as well as in most mild- temperate and subtropical climates, which include southern and central Europe.
USES It helps in digestion of fat Thyme tea -excellent for cough and cold. Helps to digest all foods. Induce appetite. Thymol has antiseptic properties. Effective in Mucous membranes in lungs and stomach. Oil of thyme - used in ointments, bath, toothpaste and mouth washes.
Soil: The plant prefers a light but fertile and calcareous soil for good growth and oil content. But on heavy, wet soils the aroma of the leaves will be less and there are chances that the plants may dry up soon.Climate: A warm climate is best suited for this crop. It can be grown both in the hills and the plains. Hilly regions are best suited for its cultivation. The plants are susceptible to frost.
Season: The seeds may be sown in nursery during April. Late summer is the time for transplanting the seedlings or planting rooted cuttings.Propagation: Thyme can be propagated by seeds and vegetatively by division of old plants or by cuttings or by layering of side shoots in March or April. The seeds are sown directly in rows or the seeds are sown in well prepared nursery beds in good soil. 3% solution of Panchagavya solution can be used to soak the seeds or cuttings for 20 minutes before planting. This treatment increases the germination of the seeds or rooting percentage of the cuttings. Good soil is preferred for nursery because the seedlings are very small and remain inconspicuous for several weeks after germination.
Land preparation: The land is prepared well by repeated ploughing or digging and brought to a fine tilth. Then the land is divided into plots of convenient size.Sowing/planting: When the seeds are sown directly, they can be sown in rows 90 cm apart and later when the seeds germinate the seedlings may be thinned out to 30-45 cm within the row. While, planting the seedlings or rooted cuttings or layers etc, they are planted 30-45 cm apart in rows, 60cm apart. A light irrigation is provided after planting.
Manures and fertilizers Application of well decomposed farmyard manure @ 50 t/ha and biodynamic compost @ 5 t/ha Application of vermicompost @ 5 t/ha Application of Neem cake @ 1.25 t/ha Application of Azospirillum and Phosphobacterium @ 25 kg/ha Foliar spraying of Panchagavya, an organic preparation @ 3 per cent at monthly intervals should be done. Spraying panchagavya 5 times a year will increase the yield and quality of the green leaves.
Irrigation: Since, the crop is planted late in summer, the crop requires frequent irrigations during the dry period.Intercultural operations: Intercultural operations and weeding are done at regular intervals to encourage good growth of plants. In the hills in order to avoid frost injury to plants during winter, mulching is done. Foliar spraying of 5% neem oil, 10% vermiwash and 3% dasagavya should be done once in a month.
Pests and DiseasesThe plant is not damaged by any pest of serious nature, but wilt disease is a major problem in this crop.This disease can be controlled by improving the phytosanitation.
Harvesting and yield The leaves and flowers which are used for culinary and medicinal purposes are harvested five months after sowing/planting. The leaves and flowers are plucked from the plants or shoots of about 15 cm are cut off from the plants, dried in shade or in dryer immediately after harvest and stored in air tight containers to prevent the loss of flavour. The dried leaves are curled, brownish - green colour, usually not longer than 6-7mm. The dried shoots may also be powdered and packed.
Under favourable conditions the yield of dry herb is around 1,100 - 2200 kg per hectare. The yield is comparatively low during the first year. The plants become woody, and replanting becomes necessary after three or four years. For extracting the oil, fresh herb is collected at the stage when it just start flowering. At the time of collection the lower portions of the stem, along with any yellow or brown leaves needs to be rejected.
REFERENCES• Amit, C., Rahman, L., Verma, R.S., Anand, s.,verma, R.k., Ajith, K.Y., Kukreje, A.k, and Khanuja, S.P.S., 2009, Improved varietal development of medicinal and aromatic plants A review. J. medicinal and aromatic plant sci., 31(3):246-255.• Nagaraj., 2007, Organic cultivation of Bacopa monnieri and Ocimum sanctum, Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Resource Centre, Allalasandra, Bangalore - 560065.• Parvatha Reddy, 2008, Organic farming for sustainable horticulture. Pg. No.: 289 -291.
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