Scientific name: Sansevieria roxburghiana. Name in different languages: English: Bowstring Hemp, Indian bowstring hemp. Sanskrit: maurvi, murva. Hindi: Marul. Tamil: Marul, Mottamanji. Malayalam: Sarppapola, Maral.
Bowstring hemp is medicinal herb that grows up to half a meter high. Bowstring hemp is botanically called Sansevieria roxburghiana and belongs to the Asparagaceae family. The leaves of Bowstring hemp are very attractive. The leaves are numbered to 20 -25. The flowers are white with a greenish tint. Another peculiar feature of it is that the leaves sprout directly from the rhizomes. The leaves and rhizomes of this plant have medicinal value. This is due to the presence of an alkaloid called Sansevieria, which helps in curing phlegm. The tender leaves of it mashed to a paste and mixed with honey and given to children to cure sore throat and throat pain. Also the tubers can be mashed and the juice can be mixed with honey and consumed.
The rhizomes of Bowstring hemp are used for propagation. In order to avoid pest infestation, the rhizomes are first dipped in a solution of cow’s urine and turmeric powder for 10 minutes and then dried in shade before planting. The rhizomes used for propagation should weigh at least 15 gms. The ground for cultivation should be ploughed thoroughly and platforms should be made 25 cm from the ground level. Powdered cow dung can be added as manure in the platform. The rhizomes are planted 3 cm deep in the ground with sprout facing up wards. The weeding and watering should be done accordingly. Bowstring hemp can be harvested in 8 months. The tubers should be taken out carefully without damaging and then washed and kept in sunlight for 3 or 4 days and then in shade for 2 days. Later they can be stored in jars or sacks and used for medicinal purposes.