Family:  Costaceae 

Synonyms: Amomum arboretum,.Amomum hirsutum,Banksea speciosa.Cardamomum arboretum,Cheilocostus speciosus,Costus angustifolius,Costus argyrophyllus,Costus crispiflorus,Costus foeniculaceus,Costus formosanus,Costus glaber, Costus glabratus, Costus hirsutus,Costus lamingtonii,Costus loureiroi, Costus nipalensis,Costus potierae, Costus sericeus, Costus speciosus,Costus vaginalis, Hellenia grandiflora, Kaempferia speciosa, Planera speciosa, Tsiana speciosa.

Common Name: Crepe Ginger, cane-reed, Malay ginger, spiral flag, spiral ginger, wild ginger.

Local Name : Kevkand (केव कंद)

Kevkand is a beautiful ginger with a clustering edible underground rhizome that gives rise to stalks with spirally arranged, glossy foliage and a bright red, long lasting inflorescence at the tip. Both leaves and flower buds are also edible.  But  despite its common name, crepe ginger kevkand  is only a distant relative of the edible ginger family. Its actual flowers are quite large, white, with a yellowish throat and there is usually only one open at a time.

Kevkand  growing wild

Kevkand is a herbaceous perennial  of Western Himalayas seen growing in forest margins and in moist places in valleys, roadsides upto an altitude of 1000m in this region. It prefers to grow in  fertile or humus-enriched, well-drained soil and propogate through  rhizome vegetativly and seeds sexually, which are  usually dispersed by birds.

Young leaves, rhizome, flower buds and fruits of this plant are all edible. However, these are occcasionally eaten, Plant parts being  slightly bitter, astringent or acrid oftenly eaten after through cooking.

Kevkand  is harvested from wild for local use of food and medicine. It is also cultivated as a ornamental plant for its beautiful foliage and reddish white stripped flowers. Plant can be grown largely  as a nursery plant and utilized commercially for rasing money by selling its nursery plantlets.

Close up of Kevkand 

Kevkand Plant:

Kevkand is erect, evergreen,  succulent perennial herb upto 2-3m tallgrow from tuberous rootstoc.

Stem is stout, red and leafy

Leaves are  simple and entire, elliptic to oblong or oblong-lanceolate, 15-30 cm long or more, about 4-6.4 cm wide, and with pointed tip.

A complete plant of Kevkand 

Flower large, up to 10 cm long, with red bracts about 1.5 cm long ; flowers white, calyx red, corolla white, 5-6 cm long; stamen crest yellow.

Fruit, red capsules, ovoid to rounded, 1.5 to 2 centimeters long.

Close-up of flower

Edible leaves, rhizome can be harvested round the year, Flower buds can be collected from rainy season to autumn. Rhizome and flower buds need to be harvested sustainably by habitat rotation, Plant can also be grown for ensuring sustainable development.

Edible Uses:

Young leaves, tender shoot of this plant are  boiled and cooked into a leafy vegetable saag . Rhizome are throughly washed boiled and eaten. They make an excellent stuffing to parantha, kachuri along with boiled potatoes.

Kevkand  Rhizome
Flower buds are also edible raw these are beautiful garnishing agent and can be sallow fried and added to rayata. IN spite of bitter in taste plant parts are eaten to harness rich medicinal value of this plant

 Saag:

 Ingredients:

Young leaves and shoot terminals of kevkand  exclusively or with other wild potherbs, 1 kg; mustard oil, 2 table spoons; coriander powder 1 table spoon; fenugreek powder, ½ table spoon; cumin seed ¼ table spoon; turmeric powder, 1/4 table spoon; red chilies, 2-3; chopped onions 2-4; garlic, 4-5 cloves; ginger paste ½ table spoon and salt according to taste.

Method:

For making saag boil chopped plant parts they become soft. Then mesh manually or in a mixer. Then sauté with hot mustard oil and the spices listed before in sequence. This sauted saag is then ready and can be served as such or can be mixed with 2 or 3 chopped onion and cooked for another 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Saag from leaves

Parantha:

Parantha  is a  morning breakfast prepared served with curd/butter/pickle/chutney etc. It can be cooked with any greens/boiled potatoes/cheese or some wild boiled fruits like fig spp here these are from rhizome of Kevkand .

Ingredients:

Boiled  kevkand  rhizome; 200 g,  medium sized potato; 1-2, Oil or ghee. 8-10 table spoon; wheat flour, 4 cup amount; chopped medium sized onion, 2-3, red or green chilies, 3-4, black pepper, ¼ tea spoon, black salt according to taste.

Method:

Mesh boiledkevkand  rhizome & potato. Add to it chopped green  leaves like mint/ curry patta as a flavoring agent and spices listed above. Mix well to make a fine paste. Now parantha dough is prepared by mixing wheat flour and water. Knead dough till it is soft, let it rest for sometime. Make small round balls of dough, stuff paste inside balls and roll to thin layered flat breads, Now in hot tawa smear some oil and place flatbread over it. Cook both sides by applying oil. Now parantha is ready to serve. Serve it hot with chutney/ tomato ketchup/ pickle / butter/ curd according to choice.

Parantha from rhizome.

Kachuri:

Ingredient:

 kevkand  rhizome; 250- 500 g; soaked soyabeen (Glycine max): 250g;   wheat flour, 7-8 cup amount; yeast, 5-10 g; mustard oil, 1/2 liter; fenugreek powder, 1/2 table spoon; cumin seed, 1 tea spoon;  turmeric powder, 1-3 table spoon; red chilies; 10-15; grated ginger , 250 g;  Chopped green coriander, tirmir (Zanthoxylum armatum), mint (Mentha piperita) and curry (Murraya koeingii) leaves, 2-3 cup amount and salt according to taste.

Method:

For preparing kachuri prepare dough of wheat, flour along with yeast. Allow it to rest  for 3-4 hour. Boil kevkand rhizome  till these are soft and mesh manually. Ground soaked soyabeen in a mixer and add it to meshed  kevkand paste. Add spices listed above and mix well to make a fine paste. Roll dough already made into small disc or round breadspread and stuff it with paste. Give a deep fry to the stuffed disc in hot mustered oil and take them out. Repeat this for whole dough and paste, now kachuri is ready to serve. Serve hot with chutney/rayata/pickle/ desi ghee.

‘Rayata’:

Ingredients:

Flowers buds, 250g; curd, 1kg; Chopped medium sized onion, 3-4, red or green chilies, 3-4, black pepper, ¼ tea spoon, black salt according to taste.

Method:

Either boil and squeeze or shallow fry flower buds in low flame. Take curd in a bowl. Add to it squeezed or shallow fried flower buds. Now add all other ingredients in sequence. Mix well and serve.

Seek professional advice before treating this plant medicinally.

Medicinal Uses:

  kevkand considered best to  treat fever, asthma and  bronchitis by locals. Recent studies shows it is  a potential herbal formulation in the treatment of diabetes 1,9,10.The rhizome possesses anti-inflammatory activity. It is indicated in the treatment of fever, urodynia, biliuria, rheumatism, lumbago and neuralgia. The juice of pounded fresh tops of young branches is instilled in the ear of otitis. The plant can be used as raw material for diosgenin extraction 2

In Indian traditional medicine, the rhizomes and roots are ascribed to have anthelmintic, antiinflammatory, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, antihyperlipidemic, antispasmodic, and antimicrobial activities 3,4.   kevkand leaf is used as a bath for patients with high fever. Rhizome juice is given traditionally with sugar to treat leprosy and for headache relief.5,6 Furthermore, its alkaloid extract is used as a muscle relaxant with an antispasmodic effect.7 kevkand is also used as a plant food in Southeast Asia 8,9

Chemical constituent: The rhizome yield steroidal saponins that give diosgenin and tigogenin on hydrolysis 2

Other Uses:

The plant is grown near houses as an ornamental plant or  protection from lightning 11.

Commercial Uses:

Plant grown as ornamental plant

Selling nursery plantlets of this plant can be a good additional source of money for local people.
References:

  1. Ramya R & Dhamotharan R (2019):Antidiabetic Effect of Hellenia speciosa (J. Koenig) S. R. Dutta in Alloxan Induced Diabetic Rats. International Journal of Health Sciences & Research (www.ijhsr.org) 20 Vol.9; Issue: 8;
  2. Purohit SS, Sharma AK, Prajapati ND, Kumar T. (2009); A handbook of medicinal plants: a complete source book. 2:352-3.

3.Warrier, P. K., Nambiar, V. P. K., & Ramankutty, C. (1995). Indian medical plants. 

4. Saraf, A. (2010). Phytochemical and antimicrobial studies of medicinal plant Costus speciosus (Koen.). E-Journal of Chemistry7(S1), S405-S413.

5.Khare CP. ( 2007 ) Indian Medicinal Plants. New York: Springer New York;

6. Gupta RK.(2010) Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. New Delhi, India: CBS Publishers and Distributors; .

7. Bhattacharya SK, Parikh AK, Debnath PK, Pandey VB, Neogy N. Pharmacological studies with the alkaloids of Costus speciosus (kemuka). J Res Indian Med 1973;8:109.

8. Swati, S., & Agarwal, P. K. (2015). A critical review. World J Pharm Pharm Sci4(10), 421-429.

9. El-Far, A. H., Shaheen, H. M., Alsenosy, A. W., El-Sayed, Y. S., Al Jaouni, S. K., & Mousa, S. A. (2018). Costus speciosus: Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry, and Therapeutic Potentials. Pharmacognosy Reviews12(23).

10.Shah, Rakesh, and Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board. Edible Plants of North West Himalaya (Uttarakhand). Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board, 2015.

11. http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336  

2 thoughts on “Hellenia speciosa (J.Koenig) S.R.Dutta- Kevkand (केव कंद)

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