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Uses

Edible uses

Notes

The aromatic root is sometimes used as a spice[1]. It has a characteristic penetrating odour reminiscent of violet, orris and vetiver[1].

Unknown part

Material uses

An essential oil obtained from the roots is used medicinally, in perfumery, incenses and as a hair rinse when it is said to darken grey hair[2]. It has a strong lingering scent[3]. The smell is at first like violets, but as it ages it can become more fur-like or eventually become unpleasantly goat-like[4]. The roots are cut into lengths about 8cm long and then dried before being exported[5]. Smaller pieces of the root are ground into a powder and then used to make incense sticks[5]. The longer clean pieces are cut into very thin slices and then burnt at shrines or used as a tonic in hot baths[5].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Costus is a commonly used medicinal herb in China and is considered to be one of their 50 fundamental herbs[6]. It is also used in Ayurvedic medicine where it is valued mainly for its tonic, stimulant and antiseptic properties[7]. It is said to be aphrodisiac and to be able to prevent the hair turning grey[7].

The root is anodyne, antibacterial, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, carminative, skin, stimulant, stomachic, tonic and vermifuge[2][8][9][6]. It is used internally in the treatment of abdominal distension and pain, chest pains due to liver problems and jaundice, gall bladder pain, constipation associated with energy stagnation, and asthma[3]. The root is harvested in the autumn or spring and either dried for later use or decocted for the essential oil[3]. It is normally used with other herbs[6]. The root is also used in Tibetan medicine where it is considered to have an acrid, sweet and bitter taste with a neutral potency[10]. It is used in the treatment of swelling and fullness of the stomach, blockage and irregular menses, pulmonary disorders, difficulty in swallowing and rotting/wasting of muscle tissues[10].

An oil from the root is very beneficial in the treatment of rheumatism[5].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame in the spring. Surface sow, or only just cover the seed, and make sure that the compost does not dry out. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Division in spring might be possible.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Saussurea costus. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Succeeds in most soils in a sunny well-drained position[11]. Cultivated as a medicinal plant and for its use in perfumery in the Himalayas[12][4]. The dried root has something of the mossy smell of violets when fresh, becoming fur-like or even unpleasantly goat-like with age[4]. Most of the roots are exported to China and Japan and the plant forms quite a large article of commerce in Kashmir, the trade being controlled by the State[5]. Wild plants have been greatly over-collected and the plant has been placed on the CITES I list of endangered species - it is now illegal to dig them up for export[3].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Saussurea costus. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Saussurea costus.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Saussurea costus
Genus
Saussurea
Family
Compositae
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
7
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    3 x 1 meters
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type











    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.2 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.12.22.3 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.13.23.33.43.5 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.14.24.3 Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.25.35.45.55.6 Coventry. B. O. Wild Flowers of Kashmir Raithby, Lawrence and Co. (1923-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.16.26.3 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.2 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 ? A Barefoot Doctors Manual. Running Press ISBN 0-914294-92-X ()
    9. ? 9.09.1 Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles (1985-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.110.2 Tsarong. Tsewang. J. Tibetan Medicinal Plants Tibetan Medical Publications, India ISBN 81-900489-0-2 (1994-00-00)
    11. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.1 Polunin. O. and Stainton. A. Flowers of the Himalayas. Oxford Universtiy Press (1984-00-00)
    13. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)


    Facts about "Saussurea costus"RDF feed
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    Has common nameCostus +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partUnknown part +
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    Has mature width1 +
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    Has search namesaussurea costus + and costus +
    Has shade toleranceLight shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
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    Has water requirementsmoderate +
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