TODAY -

Hei-kak: An aquatic cash crop in Manipur

Dr N Irabanta Singh *



Hei-kak (in Manipuri)/ water chesnut or water caltrop (in English)/ Singhara (in Hindi) is botanically known as Trapa bisponasa Roxb. (Synonym. Trapa natans var. spinosa Roxb. makino) [Family Trapaceae].

Description: An aquatic floating herb with dimorphic submerged pinnately divided opposite leaves, petiole swollen and spongy at the top. Flowers white, tetramerous, fruit with 2 lateral sharp spines (D.B. Debís Collections No. 2495. Bull. Bot. Surr. India Vol I (3 & 4), PP 253-350,1961).

Ecology: The plant is grown in ponds, marshes, seasonal and perennial lakes like Loktak. More than two-third of the plant remains submerged in the water. The upper leaves float on the surface of the water while the lower ones remain submerged just beneath the surface, giving a mat like appearance to the water surface.

The petioles or leaf stalks are swollen and contain air to keep the upper leaves afloat. The plant has no primary roots, while the secondary adventitious roots are of two types, viz 1) the root fixes the plant to muddy substrate while 2) float free, being attached to the underside of the leaf base. These have photosynthetic activity as well.

The flowers open above the surface. After pollination they submerged themselves so that the fruit can develop. Therefore, the fruit of the Hei-kak is always found under the leaves and when it is matured, it drops off on its own and is fished out with the aid of net.

Cultivation and seed character: Hei-kak is cultivated in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Taiwan and Australia. But in Loktak lake of Manipur, it grows wild. The plant requires full sunlight for good growth and water with a rich organic content (source may be phumdi) with low concentration of salts.

It has two short, thick, blunt projections of seed coat. Seed is triangular in shape. Seed coat of raw Hei-kak is difficult to remove with fingers. It can either be removed by slicing it into two pieces or by boiling the fruit which makes the seed coat soft enough to remove by hand. The seed coat colours the hand black, when one handles the fruit and available in green, red or blant of these two colours.

Nutrient values and nutritional benefits: 100 gm of fruit contain water (48.2gm), protein (3.4gm), fat (0.2gm), carbohydrate (32.1gm), sugar (3.3gm), energy (730 calories), dietary fibre (14.9gm), calcium (17.6mg), zinc (0.4mg), iron (0.7mg), sodium (0.8mg), potassium (468mg) [Source: lifestyle.iloveindia.com lounge].

Gluten free, low in fat, cholesterol free, low in sodium, high in potassium, rich in minerals like calcium, iron, zinc and phosphorous, contains moderate amount of fibre and good source of energy.

Health benefit: Hei-kak is very nutritive and offers numerous health benefits. It is used in Ayurveda to cure various diseases. It is known as charak which is given for infertility, impotency, painful urination, excessive urination, cough and as a tonic to cure weakness and fatigue.

As it is cooling effect, it helps in bleeding disorders, hemorrhages and abdominal bleeding from uterus. Hei-kak is very beneficial for women due to its nutritive, strengthening and cooling properties, it increases fertility and chances of conception. It also helps to stabilize pregnancy and prevent abortion.

It is also used for treating diarrhea, dysentery, thyroid problem and bronchitis. It is a natural anti-oxidant, prevents wrinkles and protect from ultra-violet rays.

Economics of Hei-kak: The harvesting season of hei-kak (seed of Trapa bispinosa) starts from early July and ends in mid-October. It is widely available in Loktak lake (Manipur) and doesnít require any maintenance. Hence the cost of cultivation is basically nil.

Generally, seasonal labourers would harvest the Hei-kak from Loktak Lake with the help of net and brings to the nearby Moirang Bazaar. His labour charge is Rs.200 per cement bag (weigh nearly 20kg). The wholesaler imas (mother) sell it to the retailer ima at Kwairamband Bazaar @ Rs. 80/kg for raw and Rs. 100/kg for boiled.

These retailer imas sell Rs.100/kg for raw and Rs.120/kg for boiled. Whereas during September, October months the rate decreases due to its pletiness. The wholesaler imas sell to the retailer imas @Rs.30/kg for raw and Rs.50/kg for boiled. The retailers sell to the consumers @Rs.50/kg for raw and Rs.70/kg for boiled.

Conclusion and recommendations: Consumption of hei-kak is useful for infertility, impotency, painful urination, excessive urination, cough and as a tonic to cure weakness and fatigue.

One may eat 20-50 gm per day depending on digestive strength of the person to get its health benefits. Excess eating of hei-kak may cause stomach pain. Those who are suffering from constipation should not eat hei-kak. Regular eating of hei-kak increases body weight and should avoid drinking water after eating hei-kak.



* Dr N Irabanta Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is former Prof, Life Sciences Dept and former Dean, School of Life Sciences, Manipur University
This article was posted on October 13, 2017.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Legend of a strong & powerful Koireng man
  • Women's Polo Tournament #5 : Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs Aizawl FC #2 : Gallery
  • Atonement of Lost Heart :: Poem
  • Training on Food Processing at Oinam
  • French leave versus friend's leave
  • Being youth: A social-existential perspective
  • Raj to address issue of SC/ST Reservation
  • Sunny side up
  • One year in office : Meaningful slogans
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni @Longmai (TML) #1 : Gallery
  • Death of Guerrilla General Charles Wingate
  • March Past @Republic Day #3 : Gallery
  • Mini-dam at Tuidimjang, Myanmar
  • Tips for facing Board exams
  • Children by the River :: Poem
  • Manipur House : Accommodation in Delhi
  • Mass Anti Drug Rally at Lilong
  • Saroi Khangba #1 : Gallery
  • NEROCA Vs Churchill Brothers #1: Gallery
  • Nationalist Democratic (NDPP) Manifesto
  • Journeying in Lenten season
  • Multidimensionality: Strength of sociology
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Your mandate for Naga solution: Imkong
  • Impositions on information
  • Centre to fund NE plans fully: DoNER
  • Manipur tops NE in forest conservation
  • Phases of Manipur Culture #1
  • Rengtokung, Rinchonwon :: eMing
  • Brajabashimayum Jugolchandra : Akademi
  • Meetei as General category is wrong
  • Fear :: Poem
  • Cong cracking the PS whip
  • Lodges complaint over threats of KPLF
  • Students embark on integration tour
  • District Sales Manager - Globizs Solutions
  • Keeping doors of the NPF wide open
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Thanga Landscape with Loktak : Gallery
  • Imphal Art Camp @Kangla #3 : Gallery
  • On the Question of Nation and Nationality
  • Cry of a Dying River - 18 : Poem
  • Simultaneous election ok, but EVM ?
  • First Balloon Pulmonary Valvotomy perform
  • Free medical health camp by Loktak PS
  • Tomorrow's Manipur
  • Cracking down on traffic violators
  • Hazarika's 'Strangers No More' released
  • Likkon Sanaba @ Lamshang : Gallery
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni : Flash Presentation
  • Shopping for Shivaratri #1 : Gallery
  • Yet it galloped :: Poem
  • Cheirao Ching Kaba & Double Ninth Fest
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni - Seed Sowing Festival
  • Understanding share market as career #2
  • Hope floats
  • Time for SIT to pull up socks
  • Framework shrouded in mystery: NNPGs
  • 2 NE earn 'special mentions' in Forbes list
  • SSS MANIFA @ Kakching : Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Leima Jagoi : Gallery
  • Shrinking wetland in Manipur
  • Parent cant be replaced by rose on 14 Feb
  • Lifetime award for Salesian Varsity VC
  • Something is terribly wrong: SC to CBI
  • Demand for regulatory over alternate media
  • Are our women safe?
  • Church in electoral politics ?
  • Priority remains unchanged- Shurhozelie
  • Landscape of Loktak Lake #2 : Gallery
  • Sentinel Cup Equestrian #3 : Gallery
  • You Are The Only One- 15 Lightgrey
  • Tribute paid to Guerrilla General- WW-II
  • Customer-centric services in medical
  • Checking noise pollution
  • Tackling the level of noise
  • Final Naga pact to be in Constitution
  • NEROCA FC Vs Aizawl FC #1 : Gallery
  • Khousabung observed 'Black Day' : Gallery
  • Pains :: Poem
  • Sainik Schools under foster care- ironic truth
  • Cattle urine: An alternative to chemical use
  • My lachrymose week at Govt hospital
  • Laiphadibigi Bor :: Funga Wari
  • Imphal Art Camp @Kangla #2 : Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs Gokulam #2 : Gallery
  • Turning sunset years into gold
  • T Gwite and his Thanlon Times
  • NPCC for Secular Front
  • Be a leader of the people, as chosen
  • February 27 : 'If elections are held...'
  • Cross border trade resumes in Manipur
  • MaiOn - Scenes #3 :: eRang
  • Rhizome Festival @Thoubal #2 : Gallery
  • Moirangthem Rajen: Akademi Awards 2014
  • MSAD Annual Report 2016-17 : Download
  • Saving Nambul: Need of the hour
  • Lifeless Words :: Poem
  • Ridiculous supposition of TR Zeliang
  • Illegal timber smuggling curbed
  • Act Jiribam policy also matters for Manipur
  • Banning Catholic schools
  • Folk Dance @ Republic Day #1 : Gallery
  • Day 1- Imphal Jamboree #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur Radio- Streaming Android App
  • A song of victory :: Poem
  • Redefining the lingo
  • Learn lessons from your past mistakes
  • Fire at Namphalong Market
  • Beware of middlemen
  • Increasingly polluting Nambul river
  • ACAUT accepts resignations of Chairman
  • Loree Kaju Luita Phanit #1 : Gallery
  • Royal Crematorium at Bangkok #3 : Gallery
  • 1994 batch seek help for Sir Sekaran: DBS
  • 13 Jobs at NIELIT Kolkata [Upd]
  • Biology is Chemistry
  • Recruitment of MIL (Tribal) teachers
  • Corruption at Pravabati College
  • Birth Heart Defect treated
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Back to the hot seat
  • Ambience for education
  • Aribam Chitreswar Sharma : A Profile
  • Sentinel Cup Equestrian #2 : Gallery
  • Election despair in Nagaland
  • Share market as career options
  • Sentinel Cup Equestrian Championship
  • DG Assam Rifles calls on Chief Minister
  • The danger seen in the N. Biren Govt
  • As Feb 27 approaches: High octane drama
  • Singcha Wuya Won @Kamjong #5: Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs Gokulam #1 : Gallery
  • Nongthombam Lakshman : Natyabhusan
  • Tableaux @ Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • Alien at Home
  • Cry of a Dying River - 17 :: Poem
  • Leadership skills for 21st century
  • Task before new MPP president
  • Landscape of Loktak Lake #1 : Gallery
  • Sentinel Cup Equestrian #1 : Gallery
  • Dongkhojam Lunkim: Akademi Award 2014
  • Padmashree L Subadani felicitated
  • Cosmological evolution with baby cosmos
  • Russian wife scam - The perfect crime
  • My Fevered Dream :: Poem
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • CCNTHCO decides not to interfere in poll
  • SC recommends names of new CJs
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Day 1- Imphal Jamboree #1 : Gallery
  • Heart Foundation financial assistance
  • The cry of a disgruntled citizen
  • Harassment of activists: Pravish's death
  • TSA condemns KPLF/KPLA's diktat
  • Appeal to join Reservation Kalhousi Rally
  • Educating the educators
  • Rejecting boycott call: Delivering a point
  • IISER: Impact of Establishment in Manipur
  • MSAP Sports Meet @ Pune : Gallery
  • March Past @Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • Wetlands: Why we should care ?
  • World Wetlands Day: Decommission Ithai
  • MSAP Sports Meet & elections held
  • NPF to abide by principle of democracy
  • Chairman, SC/ST Orgs visit Manipur
  • Pollution pangs
  • Nagaland BJP in a fix : Catch-22 situation
  • Rongmeikai & Langbung: Manipuri Folktale
  • State Kala Akademi Award, 2014 : Gallery
  • Imphal Jamboree by Global Shapers
  • Architecture as a career
  • Towards positive change; let's win together
  • Training for NSS Program Officer concluded
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Cooperation rather than conflict
  • Imphal Evening: Promoting nightlife
  • Total lunar eclipse of January 31, 2018
  • February Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Women's Polo Tournament #4 : Gallery
  • The other half :: Poem
  • Towards a final Framework Agreement
  • Don't wanna miss the Misses
  • Job @Ascend Institute of Training
  • President of Natl Higher Education Body
  • Technology to the rescue
  • Heading towards Central rule : Nagaland
  • Indigenous Game of Wrestling: Gallery
  • List of MLA (Jan 2018) #2 : Gallery
  • Tableaux @ Republic Day #1 : Gallery
  • Joint Indo Myanmar Cleanliness Drive
  • CM's cash awards for toppers
  • Ichangi Laidhi #2 :: eRang
  • Gaan Ngai @ Ragailong #2 : Gallery
  • Reporting in Conflict Situation #2
  • Meetei Chanu 2017 #4 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Emoinu Khoiramba @Koubru #3: Gallery
  • Lafoi Shamda puthorkpa #2 : Gallery
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #3: Gallery
  • Time Table - Class XII Exam 2018
  • Time Table - Class XI Exam 2018
  • Maring: Kummui Chaa-um : Gallery
  • Time Table - HSLC Exam 2018
  • Front Page Photo #6: Gallery
  • Calendar for the Year 2018 :: e-pao Tools
  • Restricted Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Public Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • General Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS