|English name||Indian Frankincense, Indian Olibanum|
|Trade name||Salai gugal|
|Parts used||Gum - oleoresin|
Plant of Boswellia serrataMorphological Characteristics
- The plant is medium to large-sized tree deciduous and balsamiferous, upto 18 m in height and 2.4 m in girth.
- Bark is greenish grey, yellow or reddish, fairly thick, smooth, exfoliating in thin, papery flakes and resinous inside.
- Leaves are long up to 30-45 cm, opposite, sessile, variable in shape.
- The leaflets are 2.5-6.3 cm X 1.33.0 cm ovate-lanceolate.
- Flower is small, white, in auxiliary racemes or panicles.
- Petals are long and ovate.
- Fruit is trigonous, 12 mm long drupe, splitting along 3 valves.
- Tree is common at the foot of the Western Himalayas, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and also found in dry forests from all over North-West India upto West Bengal and peninsular India.
- It prefers dry, hot exposures of rocky hills, with 50-125 cm rainfall.
- Usually Plant is gregarious, comparatively in open forests. In central and peninsular India.
- It occupies the hotter slopes and ridges.
- In its natural habitat, the absolute maximum shade temperature varies from 38-49C and the normal rainfall ranges from 50-125 cm.
- Plant produces root-suckers, coppices and pollards.
- It can be grown in red, lateritic to rocky soils of dry deciduous forests and on dry sand stone ridges.
- It is also grown on drier ridges of metamorphic rocks and easily planted in shelter-belts, windbreaks and hedges too.
- It is propagated by seeds as well as cutting.
- Seeds are germinated immediately after collection.
- The rate of germination was found to be 25-30%.
- About two months old seedlings of 15-20 cm height is ready for planting in the field.
- A cutting of 1.0-2.0 cm thickness recorded 26% success but has poor survival in the field.
Raising Propagules and Transplanting :
- Seeds obtained during May-June from selected plus trees.
- Seeds are sown during July-August and about two months old seedlings are planted in the field at a spacing of 5m x 5m.
- Thus, about 400 plants per hectare are required for raising plantation.
- Land Preparation and Manure Application : Cross ploughing is done early in April followed by furrowing till a good tilth of soil is obtained and field is made free of weeds. Well decomposed Farm Yard Manure (FYM) is added @ 20 t/ha during land preparation. It should be spread well and thoroughly mixed the soil.
- Intercropping System : During initial 5-6 years, crops like ginger, turmeric, aloe, pine apple etc. can be grown as catch crops in between the trees.
- Irrigation Practices : Crop requires irrigation at 15 days interval during dry season beginning from December to June.
- Weed Control : Hoeing and weeding is done during first few years of growth.
- Disease and Pest Control : No disease or pests or any other physiological disorder was observed in its cultivation. However, it would be advisable to dust pesticide against white-ants.
- Crop Maturity and Harvesting : Its flower occurs during January-April and seeds mature in May-June. Experimental cultivation recorded growth of 2.75 m in height in 3 years. It may require 8-10 years to get the bark and yield gum.
- Post-harvest Management : Tapping for the oleoresin is done after plants reach a sizeable girth which is attained after 8 to10 years.
- Chemical Constituents : Boswellia oil is very similar to turpentine oil. The hydrolysis of the pure gum of Boswellia serrata yields mainly pentose (65% as arabinose) and small quantities of Galactose and Xylose. The gum also contains oxidizing and diastatic enzymes, and 3.03% of total nitrogen.
- It has astringent & antiseptic properties and is useful in diarrhea, dysentery, piles, ulcers, tumor, skin diseases, and in genitourinary affections.
- The oleo-gumresin contains α, β and γ boswellic acid having antitumor, analgesic and sedative properties.
- It contains marked antiinflammatory and anti-arthritic activity.
Source : Agro-techniques of Selected Medicinal Plants