An Eco-sustainable World
HerbaceousSpecies Plant

Pueraria tuberosa

Pueraria tuberosa

The Indian kudzu or Nepalese kudzu or Vidarikand (Pueraria tuberosa (Willd.) DC.) is a climbing herbaceous species belonging to the Fabaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota Domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Magnoliophyta Division,
Magnoliopsida class,
Fabales Order,
Fabaceae family,
Faboideae subfamily,
Phaseoleae tribe,
Genus Pueraria,
P. tuberosa species.
The following terms are synonymous:
– Desmodium tuberosum (Roxb. Ex Willd.) G.Don;
– Hedysarum tuberosum Roxb .;
– Hedysarum tuberosum Roxb. ex Willd.

Etymology –
The term Pueraria of the genus was dedicated to the Swiss botanist Marc Nicolas Puerari (1766-1845), professor of botany in Copenhagen.
The specific tuberous epithet comes from túber tuber, lump: as a species with tuberous organs or that resemble tubers or lumps.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Pueraria tuberosa is a plant native to an area of ​​East Asia which includes: India, Pakistan and central Nepal.
Its habitat is that of areas with the presence of shrubs or trees, in the banks of streams, hilly woods, deciduous vegetation, slopes, at altitudes between 300 and 2,000 meters.

Description –
Pueraria tuberosa is a climbing herbaceous plant, large, deciduous, with very large tuberous roots. The plant spirals around shrubs and trees where it climbs.
The tubers are globular or vessel-like, about 25 centimeters in diameter and the inside is white, starchy and slightly sweet.
The leaves are trifoliate and alternate, while the leaflets are ovoid, with a round base and unequal sides. They are 18 cm long and 16 cm wide and are hairless on the upper side.
The flowers are bisexual, about 1.5 cm in diameter and blue or purplish in color. The corolla is bluish, larger and typically papilionaceous.
The anthesis begins in April.
The fruits are membranous pods, 5.0-7.5 cm long, flat and articulated. These contain 2-3 seeds covered with long, silky brown hairs.

Cultivation –
Indian kudzu is a plant that prefers subtropical climate, shade, and warm, humid conditions.
The plant grows well in clayey or sandy soils, rich in organic matter and in a sunny position.
Propagation generally occurs by seed, but seed germination is low.
It can be propagated through tubers, through layering which is a more effective technique.
For sowing, which takes place in May, the seeds are soaked in water overnight. The seedlings are planted in the field at the end of July. Plants can be grown vegetatively in June-July and moved to the main field in August-September.
The speed of propagation can be facilitated through the use of rooting hormones.
It can also be propagated through cuttings, which are also treated with rooting hormones.
However, this plant is also harvested in nature for local use as food and medicine.
This species has a symbiotic relationship with some soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen.

Customs and Traditions –
Pueraria tuberosa, commonly known as kudzu, Indian kudzu, Nepalese kudzu, Vidarikand, Nela Gummadi, Dari Gummadi, Vidari Kanda.
This plant has been in use for a long time and, unfortunately, due to over-exploitation, in its natural state, it is facing extinction due to the herb collectors who illegally trade the tubers with agents of pharmaceutical or Ayurvedic companies.
This plant is used for both food and medicinal purposes.
The dried roots are sometimes sold in local markets for medicinal purposes.
The plant is sometimes used in soil stabilization projects.
Although this species has an edible root, there are apparently some varieties where the root is not considered edible and is instead used as a fish poison.
Among the edible uses are used raw or cooked tubers. They have very large dimensions; they can reach up to 50 cm in length and 30 cm in diameter, and weigh up to 35 kilos in mature plants.
These are mainly used in times of famine and are then usually boiled
They are rich in starch and have a licorice flavor.
Starch is sometimes extracted for use as food.
For medicinal use the root is used which is emetic, galactagogue and tonic. It is used to treat kidney and intestinal disorders, and also as an emollient and coolant in the treatment of fevers.
It is applied externally, peeled and shredded and pounded to form a poultice, which serves to reduce swelling.
It is also crushed and rubbed on the body in the treatment of fevers and rheumatism.
Extracts of the plant (part unspecified, but likely the tuber) showed abortive activity in female rats.
In agroforestry uses, the vigorous growth of the plant and the ability to cover the soil are exploited, a characteristic that makes it useful for controlling soil erosion.

Preparation Method –
Pueraria tuberosa belongs to those plants that have been exploited for some time, even in their natural state, so much so that they are in danger of extinction in its natural habitat.
The plant is used in both food and medicine.
For food use the dried roots and tubers are used. They are eaten both raw and cooked.
A starch used as food is also extracted from this.
In medicinal use, the root is used which is applied externally, peeled and shredded and pounded to form a poultice. It is also crushed and rubbed on the body in the treatment of fevers and rheumatism.
From the plants are obtained extracts for various uses.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.
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Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.

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