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Alpinia calcarata (galangal) is also known as rasna in Sanskrit, kulainjan in Hindi and chittaratha in Malayalam. It is a perennial herb with non-tuberous pungent rootstock. It grows to a height of 1.5 m and produces around 24 suckers per clump per year. The economic part is rhizome, which is a major constituent of many formulations of indigenous system of medicine for relieving throat inflammation, stimulating digestion, purifying blood, improving voice and marinating youthful vigour.

Climate and soil

Alpinia comes up well in tropical climate. It grows on a wide range of climate and soil. Well-drained hilly areas and places up to 1400 m altitude are good for its cultivation. Fertile red loams to forests soils are suitable.


Planting material

It is propagated vegetatively by rhizomes and by tissue culture methods.

Planting time

Rainfed crop is planted with the onset of monsoon in May-June. Irrigated crop can be planted at any time.

Land preparation

Plough the field to good tilth. Remove all pebbles and stones. Incorporate FYM or organic manure at 10-15 t/ha. Prepare raised beds of convenient length and breadth to facilitate drainage.


Take small pits on the seedbed and plant 5 cm long rhizome bits. Cover rhizome with FYM and mulch the seedbed with leaves or straw. The optimum spacing is 30 x 20 cm under poor fertility and 40 x 30 cm under good fertility conditions.

Fertilizer application

Apply fertilizers @ 100:50:50 N:P2O5:K2O kg/ha per year in two or three split doses. Application of biofertilizer Azospirillum @ 10 kg/ha and in situ green manuring with cowpea are beneficial for the crop.


Though the crop can be harvested after 18 months, the optimum stage of harvest for obtaining maximum rhizome and oil yield is 36-42 months after planting. Cut and remove the shoot portion and carefully dig out the rhizomes and roots. Harvesting is very arduous due to strong and extensive root ramification. Separate the roots, clean the rhizomes and cut into 5 cm long pieces, which are dried in the sun for 3-5 days to 10% moisture for marketing. The average yield of rhizomes is about 23 t/ha, which on drying gives 25% recovery.