Botanical Name: Sanssurian lappa
*Aplotaxis lappa Decne.
*Aucklandia costus Falc.
*Aucklandia lappa (Decne.) Decne.
*Theodorea costus (Falc.) Kuntze
Common Names: Costus, Indian costus, Kuth, or Putchuk
Names in other languages, including ku??ha in Sanskrit; kust or qust in Arabic and Persian; kut, kur, and pachak in Hindi and Bengali, kostum, gostham, and potchuk in Tamil; upaleta and kur in Gujarati; kot or kust in Punjabi; changala in Telugu; sepuddy in Malayalam; kostha in Kannada; kuth or postkhai in Kashmiri; and kosht (???) in Hebrew; koto in Swahili; mu xiang in Chinese.
Habitat: Sanssurian lappa is native to India. It grows at elevations of 2,500 to 3,000 m (8,200 to 9,800 ft) asl in India; including the Himalayas, Kashmir, Jammu, Western Ghats, and the Kishenganga Valley.
Sanssurian lappa is a strong perennial herb with a typical growth of 1–2 m (3.3–6.6 ft) tall by 1 m (3.3 ft) wide. Its outer surface appear yellowish brown – grayish brown having rough longitudinal furrows, fine netted wrinkles, and root branches. It has long lyrate leaves and heads of purple florets. The leaves take the shape of being auricled at base, with jagged, toothed patterns running down the sides of the leaves and are an average of 0.50–1.25 m (1.6–4.1 ft) long. The roots of the plant are stout and can travel up to 40 cm (16 in) in length. It has thick cylindrical roots 5-20 cm long, 1-6 cm in diameter, some with slight curve that sometimes split . Its typical flowering season spans from July to August, with the seeds ripening from August to September.
The plant is cultivated as a medicinal plant. Its growing region occurs mainly within India-Himachal Pradesh, Jammu-Kashmir- its native place of origin. A study by Parmaret. al. 2012 explored the effect of altitude on seed germination and survival percentage, proving that high altitudes favoured high survival and seed germination percentages. This is why they thrive so abundantly in the Himalayan Region which is very mountainous. Cultivation is primarily focused upon the roots of the plants. Most of the roots are exported to China and Japan and as they serve as a big commodity for commerce in Kashmir. However, this type of trade is now being controlled by the state due to it being over-exploited. This plant has been greatly over-collected and has been placed on Appendix I of CITES
The plant can be grown in a wide variety of soils, ranging from light sandy, medium to heavy clay soils that are acid, neutral or basic, alkaline soils, preferring soils that are moist. The amount of sunlight the plant thrives upon can vary from semi-shaded (light woodland) areas or areas with no shade.
Low germination potential has limited the application of breeding approaches in this herb; however, promising OMICS strategies are being explored for understanding molecular networks underlying biosynthesis of industrially valuable secondary metabolites.
Saussurea lappa helps to treat asthma as it is an effective expectorant. It makes breathing easier by relaxing and clearing bronchiole. It is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and dermatitis. This herb treats many skin diseases if applied externally in the form of juice or poultice. It is effective remedy against foul smell, chronic ulcers, headache, toothache, synovitis, rheumatoid arthritis and dermatitis .
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.