Giant taro is an annual, shrub-like, and large type of taro. It is about 7-8 feet tall. It is 3 feet long and green in color. The leaves are large and lateral veins emerge from the midrib. Its roots and leafy parts are used for consumption purposes. In fact, the taro plant is a popularly eaten leafy vegetable in Assam. It can be prepared as soup adding ginger, garlic, and coriander to enhance the taste. Although the plant is consumed widely all over the state; there are very few people who know about its medicinal properties. Therefore this article discusses the availability, agricultural methods, uses, and medicinal properties of Taro.
Scientific Classification of Giant Taro:
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Angiospermae
- Order: Alismatales.
- Family: Arecaceae
- Genus: Colocasia
- Species: macrorrhizos
Scientific Name: Colocasia macrorrhizos
Distribution and Cultivation Process of Giant Taro
Giant Taro was first found in the Philippines. It later spread to Southeast Asia. It is now cultivated all over the world. taro is a favorite food of the tribes of the Northeast and is widely cultivated in these areas.
The sandy soil is suitable for Giant Taro cultivation. In tropics and subtropics as well as in humid climates Taro is best cultivated. For cultivation, plough the land and dig a whole of 50*50*50 (length*width*height) cm size. The distance between the holes should be 90 cm. Cow dunk and other organic fertilizers mixed with fine soil should be added into each hole. Taro can be harvested from the month of March-April to August. Seedlings weighing about 1kg should be selected and cut into pieces. The pieces should be dipped in manure and dried for 2-3 days and then covered with a thin layer of cotton wool. Yellow leaves are suitable for harvesting during the dry season. The crop is usually threshed 6-7 months after transplanting.
Nutritional Value of Giant Taro:
Every 100 gm of Giant Taro contains the following amount of nutrients-
- Water -70gm
- Protein – 6.8 gm
- Fiber – 0.8 gm
- Carbohydrate – 8.1 gm
- Calorie – 77.2 gm
- Calcium – 4.60 gm
- Phosphorous – 12.5 gm
- Iron – 38.7 gm
- Carotene – 12 gm
It is also rich in Glucose, Fructose, Cholesterol, Sisestoral, Tryglycotrin, Alkaloid. On the other hand, minerals include Calcium, Potassium, Zinc, Magnesium, Manganese, Iron, Protein, Beta Carotene, Vitamin A, D & E.
Medicinal Properties of Giant Taro
- Scurvy disease caused by the deficiency of Vitamin C can be cured by Giant taro.
- The Zinc element present in taro helps in balancing the body hormones.
- Vitamin A & E present in Giant taro plays an important role in keeping our eyes healthy.
- The medicinal properties of Giant taro are beneficial for treating insomnia. Magnesium contained by taro increases Cortisol and Melatonin compounds in the body which positively effects in improving sleep.
- taro contributes to keeping the heart and muscles strong and healthy.
- Consuming taro can relieve problems like – constipation, ascites etc.
- In problems like – inflammation while urinating, gas, sinusitis, stomach worm etc can be relieved by consuming taro.
- The iron element contained by taro carries oxygen; 20% of which is used by our brain. Thus this veggie is beneficial for the growth of the brain.
- The leaves of taro can help the body to keep blood sugar in control. Thus it is beneficial for diabetic patients.
- The benefits of medicinal properties of Giant taro can be seen in case of swelling, warmed taro leaves are used to get relief from pain.
- Giant taro khar mixed with oil and salt can be applied on wounds to get relief.
- The antioxidant property in taro can improve the immune system of our body.
- Potassium and other mineral compounds present in Giant taro can improve the blood circulation in our veins, which helps in controlling blood pressure levels and positively results in reduced risk of heart attack.
- Vitamin B1 present in taro helps to improve memory.
- Giant taro is also beneficial for our teeth as it carries Phosphorus, Calcium and Vitamin D.
- taro is also beneficial for hair because it has Vitamin E.
- To relieve stings, taro stem and leaf juice are consumed.
- In Indonesia, the medicinal properties of giant taro are used in traditional treatments for Fever, Headache, Malaria and Dysentery.
- To cure Jaundice, taro roots are used.
- Mix giant taro stem and leaf juice in water and use this water in bathing. This will prevent various skin diseases.
- Decoction made from taro roots can be used to treat vomit, stomach ache etc.
- Consuming taro stems cooked as soup with black pepper can help to increase breast milk production in breastfeeding women.
How to use Giant Taro
- As a Food/dish:
Giant taro roots and the leafy parts, both are used to consume. In Assam, there are two common types of Taro vegetables. It can be eaten in small quantities with anchovies, ginger, chili and mint. On the other hand, by heating taro stems and adding water to them. This will be a soup made with garlic, onion, mint, tomato, chili, and oil. Both roots and leafy parts of taro can be used in various recipes.
- As a Decoction/ Juice:
The juice of leaves, stalks, and stems is usually extracted and can be used in home remedies for various skin problems. Such home remedies are commonly used by people and there is no standard procedure for them. However, it is very important to consult a doctor before using it as a medicine.
Side effects of Giant Taro
- It can cause allergic reactions in people with allergy problems. Symptoms such as- itching, redness of skin and tetanus may occur.
- Consuming half cooked taro can lead to various stomach related problems.
- Some taro roots staying for a long period of time underground lose their qualities. Such taro contains Raphide Oxalic Acid cells which results in itching in mouth, tongue, throat etc.
The climate of Assam is suitable for Giant taro cultivation. Therefore, it is found in large numbers in this region. So it would be nice to be able to include this in our food list on a regular basis. It protects our body from various diseases as well as boosts the immune system. On the other hand, it is advisable to seek expert advice before using taro in home remedies. At the time when the market of adulterated food items is overflowing, the farming system of Giant taro is completely organic. Therefore, adopting the path of self-sufficiently through taro farming is sure to be successful.
We hope this article will help you with various diseases in different ways. Thank you!