Scientific name: Alpinia calcarata. Name in different languages:- English: Snap Ginger, lesser galangal. Sanskrit: Rasna, सुगंधमूल, Kulanjana, Sugandhamoola. Hindi: Kulanjan कुलंजन. Oriya: Toroni. Kannada: Chikkadumparaasme. Malayalam: kolinchi, Chittaratha, Aratha.
Snap Ginger (Chittratha) is known in English as Lesser Galangal and is called Rasna in Sanskrit. The botanical name of Snap Ginger (Chittratha) is Alpinia Calcarata, belonging to the zingiberaceae family. This plant is native of Indian subcontinent and is an unavoidable part of Ayurveda. Snap Ginger (Chittratha) is mainly used in paediatric medicines. It is the main ingredient of ‘Rasnadichoornam’ which is mixed with honey and given to children as a cure for cough, phlegm, chest pain etc. It is a practice to rub Rasnadi powder on the head of children after bath to avoid cold and related diseases. It is a good medicine to relieve phlegm, rheumatism and pain due to rheumatism.
Snap Ginger (Chittratha) grows in tropical regions very well but prefer hard soil with less moisture content. It is cultivated in the same manner like ginger. A lot of rhizomes sprout from the mother plant and they are used for propagation. It should be cultivated in areas where they get at least 5 hours of sun light. By the onset of monsoon, the fild should be ploughed thoroughly and organic manure must be mixed with the soil. Platforms are made 15 cm from the ground level and the rhizomes are cut in to 5 cm long pieces and planted. The pits are filled with powdered cow dung and covered with dry leaves. After 3 weeks, the saplings start coming up and when the young plant reaches 3 months, each plant is provided with hen excreta(1 kg) and ash. After one and half years, the rhizomes for house hold purposes can be taken while the actual harvest time is 3 years. Snap Ginger (Chittratha) can be grown as an inter-crop also and the rhizomes are dried in shade for a week before using for medicines.
The Snap Ginger (Chittratha) plant is prone to disease like rotting of the base and infection by mites that attack leaves. By giving enough sunlight and moisture these can be prevented. Decoction made from tobacco is also a good remedy against mites.