Phool Makhana – An Aquatic Crop

Makhana is  an  important  aquatic  crop, This is a native Asian water plant and is mainly cultivated for its edible seeds. Phool makhana is the name given to popped lotus seeds used in Indian cooking. Phool Makhana is a common food item, it is also known as foxnut, makhana or gorgon plant. Basically phool makhana belongs to a family called ‘lilly’. Lillly is a flowering plant, that produces starchy white seeds and those seeds are purely edible. This plant is generally cultivated in low land areas of Indian, china and Japan. It is cultivated in several districts in North Bihar, where it is a main support for livelihood  of  the  poor  people. Makhana cultivated water  bodies  are  also  utilized  along  with  fish  culture. It is a perennial aquatic   floating  leaved  herb, cultivated  as  a seasonal  annual  crop, which  dies  out after  the  fruits mature. Fox nut plant does not have stem. It has large round leaves and produces bright purple flowers. The whole plant is covered with small thorns (kantaka) .The leaves of fox nut plant have green upper surface and purple shaded lower surface. This plant produces fruits which are about the size of a small orange. Each fruit contains 8-10 seeds which are of pea size.Makhana helps in Cardiac Protection.It helps in building action in dysentery, frequent urination. They are sweet to neutral in nature. They help to detoxify the spleen, reinforce the kidneys and nourish the blood. Makhana can be consumed as dry fruit snacks by roasting . The popped seeds of Makhana can be roasted  & sprinkled with spices on it which proves a tastier, hygienic and digestive health snacks. Homemade roasted makhana can help kids get rid of the junk chips. The seeds of foxnut are used in ayurvedic preparations. Fox nut alleviates vata and pitta dosha. It strengthens the heart and is very useful in anemia. Makhana increases quality and quantity of semen, prevents premature ejaculation, increases libido and helps in female infertility. It is an important ingredient of herbal preparations used for erectile dysfunction. It strengthens body and increases energy level. Because of its aphrodisiac properties it is grouped under vrishyadi varga. The herbs under this group are used in vajikarana therapy. Makhana is  an  important  aquatic  crop,  but  is  still neglected,  probably  because  of  lack  of  awareness among  the  rural  masses  in  other  parts  of  India  than Bihar.  In  India,  there  are  a  lot  of  fallow  wetlands, which remain unutilized round the year. In such case, Makhana cultivation  may  fetch  more  revenue  to  the poor masses. It only requires sincere efforts including dissemination  of  traditional  knowledge  as well  as awareness  to cultivate Makhana  a  unique  food resource.

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