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Isabgol cultivation

Isabgol cultivation

What is Isabgol and what are its uses?

Isagbol is called as Psyllium and scientifically known plantago ovata and belongs to the family plantaginaceae. It is important for its seed and husk which are used in various indigenous medicines

It has the property of absorbing and retaining water (40-90%) and therefore it works as an antidiarrhoea drug. It is beneficial in chronic dysenteries of amoebic and basillary origin. The seed has also cooling and demulcent effect and is used in ayurvedic, unani and allopathic medicines. The husk yields a colloidal mucilage consisting mainly of xylose, arabinose and galacturonic acid whichbhas medicinal uses

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How is the botany of isabgol?

It is annual herb which attains a height of only 30 to 40 cms. It has minute white flowers. The fruit is a capsule. Each seed is enclosed in a thin white and transluscent membrance known as the husk

What are the climatic and soil requirements of Isabgol cultivation?

It requires cool and dry weather. In India, the crop is grown in winter i.e. from November – December to March-April. A light well drained sandy loam to rich loamy soil with a pH of 7 – 8 is ideal

What are the popular varieties of isabgol?

Gujarat Isabgol – 1 and Gujarat Isabgol -2 which have a yield potential of 800 – 900 kg and 1000 kg per ha respectively

How is the field prepared for isabgol cultivation?

Field must be free of weeds and clods and should have fine tilth for good germination. The land is laid into flat beds of convenient sizes i.e. 1.0 m x 3.0 m or 2.5 m x 2.5 m

How is sowing done for isabgol cultivation?

Fresh seeds from the preceding crop season should be sown for getting high per cent germination. The seed rate varies from 4 – 6 kg and is sown after pretreatment with thiram @ 3 g per kg of seed to protect the seedlings from the possible damage of damping off.

The seeds, being small and light are mixed with sufficient quantity of fine sand before sowing. The seeds are sown broadcast and are swept lightly with a broom in one direction to cover them with some soil

What after care is to be taken in isabgol cultivation?

Weeding

Timely weeding is important to encourage good growth of the plants. After 20-25 days of sowing, first weeding is done and 2-3 weedings are required within 2 months of sowing

Manuring

25 kg N/ha and 25 kg P/ha are applied as basal dose at the last Ploughing and another dose of 25 kg N/ha is top dressed 30 days after sowing

Irrigation

Immediately after sowing light irrigation is essential. First irrigation should be given with light flow of water. The seeds normally germinate in 6 – 7 days. If the germination is poor, second irrigation may be given

Later on, irrigations are given as and when necessary. Last irrigation should be given at the time when maximum number of spike have reached the milk stage

How is harvesting and processing done in Isabgol?

Harvesting

The crop will be ready in about 110-130 days after sowing. When mature, the crop turns yellowish and the spike turns brownish. The seeds are shed when the spikes are pressed even slightly

At the time of harvest, the atmosphere must be dry and there should not be any moisture on the plant. The plants are normally cut at the ground level or are uprooted if the soil is loose textured

Processing

The harvested plants are threshed and winnowed, and the seeds repeatedly sifted until clean. The seeds may be marketed whole or the husk may be sold separately

Seeds are fed to a series of shellers, in each sheller the grinding pressure is so adjusted to remove only the husk. This is separated by fans and sieves at each sheller and the ungrounded material is sent to the next sheller. The husk: seed ratio is 25:75 by weight

What is the average exprcted yield in isabgol?

The average yield is about one tonne of seeds per hectare

Further readings and references

Handbook of horticulture