Sunday, 20 May 2012

Costus Igneus - The Insulin Plant

This post is inspired be my previous post that received so much interest and so has been the most viewed of all my posts.

I received stems of this plant only three months ago and planted it in my garden in the blind hope that consuming the leaves would help my mother's diabetes. Back then I had no information about this plant whatsoever except that my uncle's blood sugar lever had reduces after he had started eating them everyday.

Now after doing some research about the plant over the internet I found some really goof information about the plant. 

Costus Igneus is more commonly known in India as the insulin plant but in northern America it is known as the Fiery Costus or the Spiral Flag. This plant is native to North America and southern Asia. The plant is related to gingers and is originally from the Zingiberaceae family although now it has be re-classifies to its own seperate costacea family.
Costus Igneus - The Insulin Plant
This plant has large fleshy looking leaves. The undersides of these large, smooth, dark green leaves have light purple shade. The leaves are spirally arranged around the stem, forming attractive, arching clumps arising from underground rootstocks. This plant reaches a height of a maximum of two feet.  


Apparently this plant also bears yellow/orange  flowers like all gingers. My plants are still very young and I never knew that they flowered. They might flower next summer when they are quiet older. The flower petals are edible; supposed to taste quite sweet and are nutritious. The leaves are not bad either; they have a nice, fresh lemony sourness to it.


This plant can be grown from the seeds collected by the flowers or by sowing a small piece of its ginger like bulb or from stem cutting (that's how I got this one to grow.) 


I started mine with two battered looking stems and although all these stems dried completely I continued watering the container out of habit and soon enough I saw the first of the new shoots emerging from the soil. Three more followed soon after that. I now have about six young stems in the container all growing happily together. 


Also this plant is disease resistant and acts as a great ground cover as it spreads and grows fairly quickly.

As for its medicinal properties of this plant the whole plant Costus is used for it Antidiabetic property. The Indian medicine especially the Siddha system of Medicine is one of the ancient systems of medicine which exists for more than twelve thousand years. The Siddha system describes the medicine as one which cures disease, protects the mind, prevents the body from disease and which prolongs the longevity of life.

The plant has many historical uses in Ayurveda, where the plant has been used to treat fever, rash, asthma, bronchitis, and intestinal worms.


Also I found this particular sight which provides more scientific information about how the plant helps in the generation of insulin and what enzymes are responsible for it. It also has a test results on lab rats to prove the point.

I hope this post has given you all some information about the plant. 

40 comments:

  1. Very interesting! I've never heard of this plant or its properties. I like the idea of using a plant or something natural to help with a medical condition. I'm interested to hear how you use it in the future. I hope your mother's health improves!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Angela,

      My mum generally eats it raw, freshly plucked from the plant. It a great refreshing taste to it although we sometimes use it in coconut chutney instead of tamarind as the leaves have a hint of sour to it.

      Delete
    2. I have two childern with diabetes and would love to try this. Where can I find this plant to purchase

      Delete
    3. I can supply the Insulin plant stems. Each stem costs Rs.300 + courier charges.
      Contact: lancia2007@rediff.com

      Delete
  2. can I know where can i get the seeds of the planin in India email me @ smalagi@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      I don't know where you can find the seeds. This plant is generally grown from stem cuttings. I got a stem cutting from my aunt.

      Delete
    2. You can find great prices for costus igneus stems by visiting: http://tropicalislandexotics.com/ti-naturals-main-page/tea-products/costus-igneus-cuttings.html#.UmnjOPlwqSo

      The Tropical Island Exotics Team will be there to answer any questions you may have by email to customercare@tiexotics.com

      Delete
  3. Hello

    I'm sorta interested in the plant as my research revolves around it, but still I'm a bit confused about the difference between Costus igneus and Costus pictus. Do let me know how to differentiate these two species.
    Thank you
    tmathuram@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have you got the response ? How is your research is progressing. I am eager to know about it. You may update me about it.
      Look forward to hearing from you.
      Have a nice time,
      tc, bye,

      Delete
  4. we can supply both varieties of plants i.e. Costus igneus and Costus pictus.
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  27. It is very helpful for diabetics. Where i will get this in Punjab.

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  28. Do you know the Tamil name for this plant?

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