Roscoea purpurea is a herbaceous, perennial plant producing a cluster of srems up to 30cm tall from a tuberous rootstock[
The plant is an important medicinal herb in Ayurveda, where it is one of a group of eight plants, known collectively as 'Astavarga', that are valued for their tonic and rejuvenative properties. It is extensively harvested from the wild for local use and also for trade. The plant is also often grown as an ornamental.
E. Asia - Himalayas of Nepal and northwestern India
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Roscoea purpurea is a surprisingly hardy plant for a member of the ginger family and is able to withstand temperatures falling as low as -20°c when it is dormant in the winter - though it needs to be planted at least 15cm below soil level and given a protective mulch. The young growth in spring, however, can be damaged by late frosts[
Grows best when given a position in partial shade on a sheltered peat bank or in a woodland garden, preferring a rich but well-drained acid, peaty loam[
]. Plants are intolerant of drought and might need supplementary watering during dry periods when in growth, especially in the spring and early summer[
The plant is often grown as an ornamental, valued especially for its showy flowers in the summer[
Rhizomes - cooked[
The following report was for Roscoea procera, which is now treated as a synonym of Roscoea purpurea.
Roscoea purpurea is one of a group of eight plants, known collectively as 'Astavarga' in India, whose underground parts are seen in Ayurveda as general tonics that can strengthen the vital force in the body, improve cell regeneration capacity and boost the immune system. They can each be used on their own, and they are also used in the preparation of different types of rejuvenating tonics in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. One of the most important of these is 'Chyavanprash', a polyherbal formulation comprising more than 50 different plant ingredients, which is widely used in India as a general tonic, energy booster, immune system strengthener and aphrodisiac[
The rhizomes are used as a tonic in the treatment of conditions such as impotency, diabetes, leucorrhoea, diarrhoea, dysentery and malaria[
Division in the spring as the plant comes into growth[