Bengal hemp

Botanical Name : Crotalaria juncea L.

Family: Fabaceae (alt. Leguminosae)
Genus :Crotalaria L. – rattlebox
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Crotalarieae.
Kingdom :  Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom:   Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Division :  Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Superdivision :   Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order :   Fabales
Species:    Crotalaria juncea L. – sunn h


Synonyms
: Crotalaria benghalensis Lam.,Crotalaria fenestrata Sims,Crotalaria ferestrata Sims,Crotalaria porrecta Wall.,Crotalaria sericea Willd.,Crotalaria tenuifolia Roxb.,Crotalaria viminea Wall.


Common Names :-

Cambodia: kâk’tung
China: shu ma, tai yang ma (Taiwan)
English: brown hemp, Indian-hemp, Madras-hemp, sann-hemp, sunn crotalaria, sunn-hemp,Bengal hemp
French: cascavelle, chanvre du Bengale, chanvre indien, crotolaire jonciforme, grand sonnette, grand tcha-tcha (Creole), sonnette, tcha-tcha (Creole)
German: bengalischer hanf, bombay hanf, sanhanf
India: saab, san, sunn, sannai, sanpat, sonai, tag, vakku, janumu, ghore sun, shon, shonpat
Indonesia: orok-orok lembut
Kenya: mito
Laos: th´üang, thwax chu
Nepal: san
Philippines:
putok-putukan, karay-kagay
Portuguese: cânhamo-da-Índia, crotalaria
Russia: krotalyariya sitnikovaya
Spanish: cáñamo san
Sri Lanka: hana
Tamil: sanal, sannappu
Thailand: po-thuang
Vietnamese:
cây mu?ng
Taiwan : Tai yang ma

Habitat :Exact native range obscure, although considered native to:
South Asia: Bangladesh; Bhutan; India (Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Pondicherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Yanan.)

Cultivated throughout the dry and wet tropics particularly in India, Bangladesh, and Brazil; also to a lesser extent in the subtropics and even cool temperate steppe.

Description:
Erect, herbaceous, laxly branched annual shrub, (1 -) 2 – 3 (- 4) m tall, with a deep strong tap root, and well-developed lateral roots bearing numerous multi-branched and lobed nodules, up to 2.5 cm in length.  Stem cylindrical, ribbed, pubescent to about 2 cm diameter, branching from about 60 cm, minimised with dense plantings.  Leaves simple, sparsely appressed-pubescent above, more densely so below, stipules acicular, 2 – 3 mm long, caducous; petiole about 5 mm long with pulvinus, blades bright green in colour, linear elliptic to oblong, entire, acute, sometimes sub-obtuse, 4 – 12 (- 15) cm long, 0.5 – 3 cm broad; spirally arranged on the stem.  Inflorescence a lax indeterminate, terminal raceme (10 -) 15 – 25 (- 30 cm) long comprising 10 – 20 flowers, with very small linear bracts.  Pedicels 3 – 5 mm long; corolla bright or deep yellow; standard erect, sub-orbicular to short oblong, 2 – 2.5 cm diameter, sometimes streaked reddish or purple on dorsal surface; wings slightly shorter than keel; keel abruptly curved, the beak narrow and twisted at apex, c. 10 mm long; stamens 10, almost free to base (5 with short filaments and long narrow anthers, and 5 with long filaments and small rounded anthers); calyx 5-lobed, sepals pointed, tomentose, 11 – 20 mm long, 3 lower sepals united at base separating in fruit.  Pods tomentose, inflated, cylindrical, 2.5 – 4 (- 6) cm long, 1 -2 cm diameter, grooved along the upper surface, with a short pointed beak, light brown when ripe, 6 – 12-seeded.  Seed heart-shaped, with narrow end strongly incurved, flattened, (3 -) 4 – 6 mm long, greyish olive, dark grey, dark brown to black, loosened in the pod at maturity; 17,000 to 35,000 per kg (depending on production conditions and genotype).

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Cultivation:
Grows on most well-drained soils.  For fibre, it is best on fairly light textured soil (sandy loam or loam) of at least moderate fertility, but for other purposes, it will also grow well on clay soils and tolerates low fertility, providing soils are well-drained.

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Plants remain succulent for 6 to 8 weeks after sowing, at which time flowering begins and stems begin to lignify.  When grown for forage, C. juncea can be harvested 4 times, starting 6 – 8 weeks after sowing, and then every 4 weeks.  This is also the best time to incorporate it as a green manure.  More mature plants are set back by harvesting and may die or take some time for even partial recovery.


Constituents :
Leaves contain an abundance of mucilage, a little solid fat and a resin soluble in ether.

Properties
*Leaves are considered refrigerant, demulcent, emetic, purgative, emmenagogue and abortive.
*Root is astringent.
*Seeds are corrective of blood.

Medicinal Uses:
Folkloric
*Infusion of bitter leaves are used externally and internally for gastric and bilious fevers accompanied by skin diseases like impetigo and psoriasis. Also used as emmenagogue.
*Root is used for colic and as astringent in epistaxis.
*Seeds used to purify the blood.
*Powdered seeds, mixed with oil, used to make the hair grow.

Studies
• Anti-Inflammatory / Anti-Ulcerogenic: Study showed CJ extract significantly inhibited adjuvant induced arthritis in rats. It also possessed anti-ulcerogenic property which may be due to an appetite suppresant effect.
• Toxicological Studies on Seeds: Study showed the administration of a dose of 200 mg/kg of extracts of seeds on liver, kidney, spleen and adrenals of adult rats caused significant alterations. Organ net weight decreased, histology showed disintegration necrosis and degeneration in the liver, renal tubular cell degeneration and exfoliation, zona glomerulosa hypertrophy in the adrenals, and splenic increase in megakaryotic cells and lymphocytes.
• Antispermatogenic / Hormonal Effects: Study evaluated the antifertility activity of various extracts of Crotalaria juncea seeds in male mice. Results showed decrease in testis and accessory organ weights, with spermatogonia, spermatocytes, spermatids and sperm counts were reduced. The ethanol extract showed the most potent antispermatogenic activity. Study concludes that various extracts arrest spermatogenesis and are likely to have antiandrogenic activity.

Other Uses:
While finding some application as a forage, it is primarily grown for production of bast fibres used in the manufacture of twine and cord, high quality paper and pulp; also used as a green manure or cover crop and as a break crop to reduce weed and nematode populations.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/Crotalaria_juncea.htm
http://www.stuartxchange.com/BengalHemp.html

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