The area under medicinal ‘coleus’ (botanical name: ‘coleus forskohlii’ and in Tamil ‘Marunthu Koorkan) cultivation has increased in Attur region this season, thanks to favourable market conditions.
The ‘coleus’ is cultivated on about 700 hectares in Salem district. Attur, Thalaivasal and Kallakurichi are the major coleus production centres in the district.
“Forskohlin”, an alkaloid in roots, is used in the treatment of blood pressure and ‘Glaucoma’ eye ailment and also all kinds of nervous disorders. Coleus has anti-histamine and anti-asthma health benefit. It promotes weight loss in obese patients. Harvested tubers are cut into small pieces and dried under shade until it reaches eight per cent moisture level.
In Tamil Nadu, Salem, Tiruvannamalai, Villuppuram districts are the major medicinal coleus production centres. In Attur region, contract farming of coleus gained popularity among small and marginal farmers. It is easy to grow and a profitable crop for the farmers.
According to M. Selvapriya, agriculture consultant, this crop is raised during the months of June to October and well drained red loamy soil is suited for cultivation. Crop duration is six to seven months. The crop yields 15 to 20 tonnes per hectare fresh tubers and 2,000-2,000 tonnes per hectare dry tubers.
Source: The Hindu