Tuesday, December 6, 2011


(Special Notes: For introduction and Background of this post, please follow the previous post... Thank you! )


The following effects of prebiotics have been claimed:
  • relief of constipation
  • reduce intestinal pH
  • increase in mineral absorption
  • restore intestinal bacterial balance
  • effect blood cholesterol level
  • reduce risk on colorectal cancer
  • effects on the immune system
  • better intestinal flora in infants
Prebiotics may restore intestinal balance after a disturbance due to antibiotics, diarrhoea, stress or other drugs (non antibiotics). By either selectively stimulating a certain group of bacteria the balance can be restored. This may be possible for many different bacterial groups. This can be either by direct stimulation (the selected bacteria grow on the prebiotic) or by indirect stimulation (the bacteria create a favourable environment for other bacteria). In this case both selective stimulation and changes in metabolism play a role.

Promotion of Normal Colon Transit Time
Constipation is an exceedingly common clinical problem affecting large segments of the population including the elderly, pregnant and nursing women, people on weight loss diets, and people wit disrupted daily schedules such as variable shift workers and business travelers.Prebiotics increase fecal bulk and optimize stool consistency primarily by increasing fecal microbial mass. This increase in fecal bulk stimulates passage through the colon, shortening transit time. Colonic water resorption is reduced, stool becomes softer and heavier, and stool frequency increases. Together these factors alleviate constipation and improve colon evacuation.

Effects of Prebiotics on Mineral Absorption
There is extensive evidence in experimental animals that prebiotics, such as inulin-type fructans, can increase the absorption of a variety of minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc and that they may act through several possible mechanisms. A variety of mechanisms have been proposed to explain the effect of prebiotics on calcium absorption , although themost widely favored explanation concerns their effect on passive calcium absorption in the large intestine. This theory states that non absorbed prebiotics enter the large intestine undigested where they are fermented in to short chain (volatile) fatty acids such as acetate, butyrate, and propionate. These fatty acids lower the pH of the large intestine contents, increase solubility of calcium(and other minerals) in the luminal contents and so increase passive concentration-dependent calcium absorption in the colon. Some animal studies have shown beneficial effects of prebiotics on absorption of other minerals, such as iron  zinc , and copper , although human data are more limited , However, there are little good data on possible mechanisms.

Enhancement of the Immune System
The immune system operates as an organization of functionally specialized cells and molecules to protect the body against foreign substances and invading organisms, acting systemically. Food and nutrients modulate immune functions in multiple ways. The impact of nonessential food constituents on the immune system such as prebiotics and similar complex carbohydrates, however, has been on the study . For proper functioning of the immune system, the intestinal flora also plays an important role. Composition and metabolic activity of the intestinal flora are directly depending on dietary constituents (including prebiotics). Prebiotics itself will have no effect on the immune system. However, by changing the intestinal flora, the immune system may be influenced.  
 Potential Mechanisms of Prebiotic-Induced Immune Alterations
• Selective increase/decrease in specific bacteria that modulate cytokine and antibody
• Increase in intestinal SCFA production and enhanced binding of SCFA to G-coupled
protein receptors on leukocytes
• Partial absorption of prebiotics resulting in local and systemic contact with the immune
• Interaction of prebiotics with carbohydrate receptors on leukocytes

The gastrointestinal tract is one of the most important components of the body’s defensive system. In addition to providing non-specific protection in the form of a physical barrier against toxins and pathogenic organisms, the intestinal tract also provides specific protection in the form of gut-associated lymphoid tissue, or GALT. GALT represents the largest immune organ in the body and consists of a highly complex network of aggregated and non-aggregated immune
cells. Research indicates prebiotics modulate both intestinal and systemic immunity largely through their association with gut microflora. Prebiotic support of health-promoting intestinal microorganisms leads to increased competition with pathogens for colonization sites, up regulated GALT expression of secretory IgA and immune-stimulating cytokines, and enhanced production of short chain fatty acids and other antimicrobial substances that create an inhospitable environment for pathogen growth. Prebiotics such as inulin, inulin-type fructans, galactooligosaccharides, and lactulose have been shown to enhance colonization resistance against a variety of enteropathogenic organisms, including Clostridium difficile, Clostridium perfringens, E. Coli and other coliforms.

Influences on Glucose & Insulin Levels
Evidence suggests prebiotics can favorably influence serum glucose and insulin levels in a variety of ways. Inasmuch as they may replace starches and/or sugars in foods,DGOs and other prebiotics can reduce the amount of glucose available for absorption into the bloodstream. Prebiotics may also prevent excessive blood glucose elevations after a meal by delaying gastric emptying and/or shortening small intestine transit time. Bacterial fermentation yielding short-chain fatty acids is another mechanism whereby prebiotics can modulate glycemia and insulinemia.

Helps in Lipid Metabolism:
Triacylglycerols (TAGs) and cholesterol are quantitatively the most important circulating lipids (transport and storage of energy). Both have important physiological roles and abnormalities in their metabolism are implicated in major pathologies such as obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, and atherosclerosis. Concerning hypocholesterolemic effect of prebiotics, several mechanism have been proposed, which are often related to a modulation of bile acid intestinal metabolism, but other properties (e.g., steroid-binding properties) are evoked, which are independent of the fermentation of the prebiotic in the lower intestinal tract.
I Prebiotics as a Potential Treatment against Atherosclerosis
iiPrebiotics as Modulators of Lipid Metabolism Disorders
iii Prebiotics as Potential Treatment against Obesity

Several oligosaccharides which respond to the definition of prebiotics exhibit interesting effects on lipid metabolism. Changes in intestinal bacterial flora composition or fermentation activity could be implicated in modulation of fatty acid and cholesterol metabolism. (specific gelling characteristics of inulin allows the development of low-fat foods without compromising taste or texture This is particularly successful in spreadable products such as table spreads, butter-like
products, cream cheeses and processed cheeses)

Reduction of Risk of Carcinogenesis
Colon cancer is one of the major neoplastic diseases with the number of new cases per year rising rapidly since 1975. Colon cancer is the fourth commonest form of cancer. Various studies shows prebiotics have significant role in preventing colon carcinogenesis. This may be due to various effects of prebiotic such as :
-       Apoptosis and Proliferation
-       Modulation of Immune Response
-       Reduction of Enzyme Activity
In vitro and animal studies have revealed the potential of prebiotics to enhance detoxification processes in colon cells, reduce toxic metabolite production in the gut, and protect against colonic tumor development.

.Prebiotics and Infant Nutrition
The bacterial composition in the infant digestive tract (also called the intestinal microflora) follows a pattern of change starting in the newborn, and may vary depending on the infant diet. Development of the infant’s intestinal microflora is initiated at birth. The aseptic, or sterile, digestive tract of the fetus is inoculated with bacteria during birth by the environment and mother's intestinal and vaginal microflora. Breastfeeding is the gold standard for infant nutrition. Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) comprise part of the functional ingredients of human milk. As for most of the components of mother’s milk, the quantity of HMOs differs between mothers, and also during lactation and breastfeeding.In general, breastfed infants have been shown to have higher levels of bifidobacteria than formula-fed infants (Orrhage and Nord 1999). The increased presence of these beneficial bacteria is at least partly due to substances found in human breast milk, especially the HMOs (Coppa et al 2004). The intestinal microflora of the formula-fed infant may differ from that of the breastfed infant (Harmsen et al 2000). While human milk-fed infants have an abundance of bifidobacteria in the gut, formula-fed infants may have a more diverse gut flora, similar to that seen in adults. Formula-fed infants also have a higher risk of intestinal infections.

 Efforts to replicate the immunoprotective and bifidogenic effects of human breast milk on the intestinal tract of bottle-fed infants have led to research examining the effects of incorporating prebiotics into infant formulas. Formulas containing a mixture of galactooligosaccharides and fructooligosaccharides in a ratio of 9:1, have been shown to promote a microflora in infants similar to that seen in breast-fed infants (Stephen Olmstead, MD, David Wolfson). The addition of prebiotics to infant formula can increase beneficial bacteria in the digestive system to levels similar to those in the breastfed baby (Ben et al 2004). In addition, prebiotics can help soften stools to be more like those of the breastfed infant (Costalos et al 2008; Ben et al 2004; Moro et al 2002).
Various health benefits of prebiotics

Prebiotics show both important technological characteristics and interesting nutritional properties. Several are found in vegetables and fruits and can be industrially processed from renewable materials. In food formulations, they can significantly improve organoleptic characteristics, upgrading both taste and mouthfeel. Many are already successfully used in a broad range of food applications . Prebiotics can be used for either their nutritional advantages or technological properties, but they are often applied to offer a double benefit: an improved organoleptic quality and a better-balanced nutritional composition . Food applications are illustrated below;

Application Functionality:
v  Dairy products (yoghurts, cheeses, desserts, drinks) à Fat or sugar replacement, body and mouthfeel,foam stabilization, fiber, and prebiotic
v  Frozen desserts àFat or sugar replacement, texture and mouthfeel, melting behavior.
v  Fruit preparations à Sugar replacement, synergy with intense sweeteners, body and mouthfeel, fiber and prebiotic
v  Breakfast cereals and extruded snacks àSugar replacement, crispiness and expansion, fiber, and prebiotic
v  Baked goods and breads à Sugar replacement, moisture retention, fiber, and prebiotic
v  Fillings à Fat or sugar replacement, texture, and mouthfeel
v  Tablets and confectionery à Sugar replacement, fiber, and prebiotic
v  Chocolate à Sugar replacement, heat resistance and fiber
v  Dietetic products and meal replacersà  Fat or sugar replacement, synergy with intense sweeteners, body and mouthfeel, fiber, and prebiotic
v  Table spreads and butter products à Fat replacement, texture and spreadability, stability, fiber, and prebiotic
v  Salad dressingsà  Fat replacement, mouthfeel, and body
v  Meat products à Fat replacement, texture and stability, and fiber


The intestinal microbiota provides the human host with an array of health benefits. Microfloral organisms act as a functional barrier against colonization by pathogens, promote normal gastrointestinal function, contribute to energy production, and exert enteric and systemic immunomodulatory activity. Support for the health of intestinal flora can take the form of supplementation with living probiotic organisms or prebiotic substances that nourish beneficial endogenous species. Prebiotics are digestion-resistant carbohydrates that selectively stimulate the growth and activity of health-promoting microorganisms such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. Major prebiotics include inulin,inulin-type fructans, galactooligosaccharides, and lactulose. Prebiotics taken alone or with probiotics, as in a symbiotic supplement, contribute to the integrity of the gut barrier, help normalize colonic motility, improve nutrient bioavailability, enhance gastrointestinal and systemic immunity, and may favorably modulate blood sugar and lipid levels. Numerous studies in both animals and humans have demonstrated the health benefits of prebiotics. Prebiotic use in nutritional supplements and functional foods is rapidly gaining wide acceptance.


v  S. S. Biradar, B. M. Patil & V. P. Rasal : Prebiotics For Improved Gut Health . The Internet Journal of Nutrition and Wellness. 2005 Volume 2 Number 1
v  Stephen Olmstead, MD, David Wolfson, ND, Dennis Meiss, PhD, Janet Ralston, BS, Understanding prebiotics
v  R.Gibson and B.Roberfroid, Handbook of Prebiotics
v  R.Gibson and B.Roberfroid, Dietary Modulation of the Human Colonie Microbiota: Introducing the Concept of Prebiotics
v  Sharon Donovan, Glen Gibson ,David Newburg, Prebiotics in Infant Nutrition


I.                  BACKGROUND

     A complex community of microorganisms inhabits the mammalian gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus, but the colon is, by far, the main site of this microbial colonization. As a consequence, progress in biology, physiology, and nutrition has considerably broadened our view of the function and the pathophysiological roles of the intestine, especially the large bowel. This organ is no longer viewed solely as a storage vessel that produces feces and eventually absorbs water and a few other simple molecules of both nutritive and endogenous origin. Indeed, recent researchs has convincingly shown that the large bowel and its microbiota form a strong symbiotic association and interact with each other to play major roles not only in colonic function but also in whole body physiology including endocrine activities, immunity, and even brain function.

Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus live in great concentrations at the lower region of the small intestine and predominantly in the large intestine. These beneficial bacteria take a role as guards against harmful microbes living in the large intestine, keeping them from invading the small intestine. The small intestine functions to digest and absorb the majority of nutrients. When the body's immunity declines the risk of infection increases, it is essential to keep the immune capacity high for preventing or decreasing infection. Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus have recently been shown to increase gut and overall immunity.

There are several aspects of an individual's health and diet that can adversely affect the gut microflora. High levels of fat in the diet can negatively affect the level of Bifidobacteria in the gut, as these beneficial bacteria are sensitive to increased levels of faecal bile acids, which are directly related to the amount of fat in the diet. Fatty diets may increase the amounts of bile acids in the faeces, and consequently increase their inhibitory effect to Bifidobacteria. The nature of the diet may also indirectly influence the gut conditions, which affect the activity of Bifidobacteria. Disorders of gastric function or intestinal motility may disturb the normal microbial balance.

Numerous studies have shown that an imbalance of friendly to unfriendly gut bacteria (too few friendly bacteria) can cause or aggravate various health conditions. Moreover, supplements aimed at increasing the number of friendly bacteria have been shown to help combat many types of diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, eczema, ulcerative colitis; reduce the incidence of canker sores and vaginal yeast infections; and exert positive effects on the immune system. Friendly gut bacteria consist of Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. bulgaricus,L. reuteri, L. plantarum, L. casei, B. bifidus, S. salivarius, S. thermophilus and the yeast Saccharomyces boulardi.

The main objective of this paper is to showcase :
1.      Brief introduction of prebiotics
2.      Health benefits of prebiotics
3.      Prebiotics in food applications


     The term “prebiotic” was coined in 1995 by Gibson and Roberfroid,although prebiotics were recognized as early as the 1950s when György and coworkers described “bifidus factor”, a bifidogenic substance that selectively promoted the growth of bifidobacteria (called Lactobacillus bifidus at that time). Human milk and colostrums were found to contain large amounts of “bifidus factor”. In the 1970s and ’80s, Japanese investigators pioneered the use of digestion-resistant saccharides to favorably modify the intestinal microbiota using fructooligosaccharides, galactooligosaccharides, and lactulose The 1980s and ’90s saw a marked increase in the use of probiotics to favorably modify the intestinal microbiota and a concomitant growth in interest in using prebiotics to achieve the same goal. In contrast to the probiotic strategy for microflora modification by providing living microorganisms, the prebiotic strategy seeks to stimulate the growth and/or enhance the metabolic activity of the healthful bacteria already colonizing the intestines. Prebiotics offer the ability to enhance the healthful strains in a person’s unique community of bacteria including beneficial strains not available as probiotics, such as Eubacterium species.

In 1995, Gibson and Roberfroid defined a prebiotic as a “nondigestible food ingredient that beneficially affects the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon, and thus improves host health.” This definition only considers microbial changes in the human colonic ecosystem.Later, it was considered timely to extrapolate this into other areas that may benefit from a selective targeting of particular microorganisms and to propose a refined definition of a prebiotic as (Gibson et al.2004): “a selectively fermented ingredient that allows specific changes, both in the composition and/or activity in the gastrointestinal microflora that confers benefits”

By definition, a prebiotic classifies as a specific colonic nutrient. Most potential prebiotics are carbohydrates, but the definition does not exclude non-carbohydrates to be used as a prebiotic. Accordingly, the key characteristics that serve as criteria for classification of a compound as prebiotics are resistance to digestive processes in the upper part of the gastro intestinal tract and selective fermentation by one or a limited number of the microorganisms in the intestinal microbiota, especially the colonic microbiota, thus giving these a proliferation advantage and consequently modifying the microbiota composition.
In order for a food ingredient to be classified as a prebiotic , it must :
 1) be neither hydrolyzed nor absorbed in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract.
 2) be a selective substrate for one or a limited number of beneficial bacteria commensal to the colon which are stimulated to grow and/or are metabolically activated.
3) consequently, be able to alter the colonie flora in favor of a healthier composition.
4) induce luminal or systemic effects that are beneficial to the host health.

Prebiotics can be classified as a type of digestion-resistant carbohydrate or dietary fiber. Like all fibers, prebiotics resist breakdown by human digestive secretions and arrive relatively unchanged in the lower regions of the intestinal tract where they can be utilized as an energy source by the resident microflora. What distinguishes prebiotics from other fibers is that prebiotics by definition selectively stimulate the growth of only beneficial microfloral organisms such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. A number of important dietary fibers like cellulose and pectin fail to meet this definition. Prebiotic properties have been ascribed to many types of carbohydrates, but they have been best documented for digestion-resistant oligosaccharides (DGOs).

DGOs include
- inulin-type fructans
- galactooligosaccharides
-nigeroligosaccharides (Stephen Olmstead, MD, David Wolfson)
Most prebiotics and prebiotic candidates identified today are nondigestible oligosaccharides. They are obtained either by extraction from plants (e.g.,chicory inulin), possibly followed by an enzymatic hydrolysis (e.g., oligofructose from inulin) or by synthesis (by trans-glycosylation reactions) from mono- or disaccharides such as sucrose (fructooligosaccharides) or lactose (trans-galactosylated oligosaccharides or galactooligosaccharides) .


Inulin-type Fructans:
The prebiotic effects of inulin-type fructans are well-established. Inulin-type fructans are linear DGOs composed of fructose moieties linked by β(2à1) bonds. Inulin is arbitrarily defined as a mixture of oligosaccharides with chain lengths of 2-60 fructose molecules, with or without an initial glucose. Inulin-type fructans are storage carbohydrates commonly found in wheat, onions,asparagus, bananas, garlic, artichokes, and leeks. Inulin-type fructans have their greatest effect on intestinal Bifidobacterium populations

Galactooligosaccharides are digestion-resistant oligosaccharides naturally found in both human and cow’s milk. They can also be derived from specific microbial fermentation of lactose or synthesized using the enzyme β-galactosidase and lactose syrup. Galactooligosaccharides selectively augment Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus numbers within the human intestinal microbiota. Prebiotic applications of galactooligosaccharides are of great interest because of their natural occurrence in human milk. Administration of galactooligosaccharides to formula-fed infants has been shown to engender an intestinal flora similar to that of breast-fed infants

Lactulose is synthetic galacto-fructose made by the isomerization of lactose. Although technically a disaccharide, lactulose is generally grouped together with the DGOs. Lactulose is not usually present in nature although very small amounts may be found in heat-treated milk products as a result of non-catalyzed isomerization.. The β(1à4) bond in lactulose cannot be split by human intestinal enzymes and is preferentially metabolized by colonic lactic acid bacteria with lactate and short-chain fatty acids as major end products with with significant increases in Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus numbers and reductions in Clostridium perfringens, Bacteroides, Enterobacteriaceae, and Streptococcus populations

Fig: Different prebiotics

Friday, April 22, 2011

FAITH: three trees

Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, "Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with Intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty."
Then the second tree said, "Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull."
Finally the third tree said, "I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me."

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, "This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter"... and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.

At the second tree a woodsman said, "This looks like a strong tree, I should be able to sell it to the shipyard." The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.
When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true.

One of the Woodsmen said, "I don't need anything special from my tree so I'll
take this one," and he cut it down.
When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for.
The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end.
The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark.

The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams. Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and he stood and said "Peace" and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.

The moral of this story is that when things don't seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts.
Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined. We don't always know what God's plans are for us. We just know that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.
Keep this moving... share it with others, so it could inspire more people on His way.
Sometimes the heart sees what the eyes can't......................................

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Mr.Failuram appeared  in the medical entrance exam, no wonder  why he was out of list..lolz.. checkout his meaning on basic terminology......

Antibody - against everyone

Artery - the study of arts

Bacteria - back door to cafeteria

Cardiology - advance study of poker play

CT scan - applying antivirus to a city

Chronic- neck of crow

Coma - a punctuation

Cortisone - kourti's son

Cyst  - short for sister

Diagnosis - person with slanted (oops diagonal) nose

Dislocation - in this (dis) location

Enema - not a fren

Fake labour - pretending to be worker

Genes- blue denim or Levis

Hernia- she is close by

Impotent- i am potent

Labour pain - pain to the worker

Lactose- person lacking toes

Lymph- walk unsteadily

Microbes- small dressing gown

Obesity- city of Obe

Pacemaker - winner of Nobel peace prize

Proteins- in favor of teens

Pulse - a kind cereals

Pus- small cat

Secretion - hiding anything

Tablet- small table

Ultrasound - radical noise

Urine - opposite of you are out

Varicose vein - very close van

God bless him! :))

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Large Cardamom: Nepal's Brief Scenario

INTRODUCTION:Large cardamom ,also known as Black cardamom or Brown Cardamom is is the dried fruit of of Amomum sabulatum , a perennial herbaceous plant of family Zingiberaceae and its quality characteristics are different from that of small cardamom(Sukmel in Nepali). Large Cardamom is abundantly grown in Nepal,thus it is also known as Nepal cardamom (Elaichi in Nepali).


The State of Sikkim in India located between Nepal and Bhutan is its
original home. Large cardamom was introduced into Ilam (Nepal) in 1865, nearly 142 years ago by the Nepalese labourers who went to Sikkim for seasonal work. However, commercial cultivation started in Ilam much later in 1953. The establishment of Cardamom Development Centre at Fikkal in this district in 1975 paved the way for the development of this crop.

There are a number of varieties of large cardamom cultivated in Nepal and they are Ramsey, Golsey, Chibesey, Dambersey, Sawney and Kantidaar. Among these, Ramsey, Golsey and Chibesey are wide spread in cultivation.


Propagation of large cardamom is done through seeds and suckers. For nursery raising, seeds from fully ripe capsules are collected from high yielding and well maintained plantations free from viral diseases. After de-husking, seeds are washed thoroughly in water to remove the mucilage completely. Then water is completely drained and seeds are mixed with wood ash, dried in shade and sown in primary nursery. When attain 3 to 4 leaf stage they are transferred to the secondary nursery. After growing for about 10 to 12 months, they are ready for planting in the main field. The land selected for planting is cleared of all weeds and undergrowth. For replanting, old large cardamom plants are removed and destroyed. Pits of size 45cm X 45 cm X 30 cm are formed against the contour at a spacing of 1.5 m X 1.5 m on either side. Weeds and undergrowth collected are heaped in the inter rows to improve soil fertility and also to prevent soil erosion. Each pit is filled with top soil and 2 kg compost or cow dung. Planting is done in the centre of the pit with the onset of rain in the month of June. The base of the plant is covered with fallen forest tree leaves to act as mulch.

The right time for harvesting is when the top most capsules are fully mature and seeds turn black. At this stage spikes are harvested by cutting with the help of a special knife. Harvested spikes are kept heaped overnight to allow other capsules to ripe and they are separated on the next day. The yield starts from 3rd years onward after planting. Fruit is ripped during August to November.

Capsules will have about 80% moisture at the time of harvest. Traditional Bhatti which is either square or rectangular in structure (roughly 225 cm x 245 cm) with about 170 cm height is used for drying capsules. It has a thatched roof to protect from rain. There is a fire place at the bottom. A bamboo mat (sometmes wire mesh) is fixed above the fireplace supported by horizontal bamboo or wooden pieces. The height of the bamboo mat should be sufficient enough not to get lighted when firewood is burnt. Freshly harvested capsules are spread on the bamboo mat and hot air along with smoke is passed through capsules when firewood is burnt. On drying the produce acquires a smoky smell and brown to dark brown colour. Frequently a part of the volatile oil is lost and a few capsules are sometimes charred. The produce becomes inferior in quality. Almost all farmers in Nepal use the traditional Bhatti method for drying capsules. Many farmers have this drying system in their farmstead but some set it up temporarily in the field.

Improved Bhatti curing is spreading slowly replacing the traditional Bhatti. In this method a structure with two levels is made and covered with a thatched roof. The upper level may not have walls. A long drum is made by welding two crude oil drums together. It is kept in the bottom chamber with one end opening outside the chamber to burn firewood. The other end is fitted to a metal pipe which carries hot air and smoke from the burning firewood. The metal pipe passes near the four walls inside the lower chamber making the air surrounding it hot. The hot air rises up and passes through capsules spread on the bamboo mat making them dry. The advantages of this method are that the original pink colour of capsules are retained, smoke does not come in contact with capsules and oil loss is reduced as direct heating is avoided. Though some farmers get a slightly better price for this smoke free large cardamom, many are disappointed as the market has not caught up with this better quality product. Improved Bhatti is being established by farmers of Taplejung district with the financial assistance of donor agencies. In Ilam and Sankuwasabha districts a prototype of this system has been set up for demonstration.



1. Incidence of multiple taxes

2. Lack of Plant Quarantine Office on Indian side

3. Difficulties to obtain food safety analytical report

4. Too many small traders for export

5. Siliguri buyers fluctuate prices to suit their convenience

6. Commercial banks in Nepal take high margins on LC transaction


1. Poor R & D and extension work

2. Traditional Bhatti curing

3. Non-availability of packing credit

4. No value addition

5. Lack of brand promotion

6. Over dependence on single export market

7. Inadequate export promotion efforts

8. Weak market information and market intelligence

9. Inexperience in proper export documentation

10. Poor warehousing facility

11. Insufficiently equipped analytical laboratory

12. Lack of organization of exporters


1. Major cash crop contributing directly in poverty alleviation

2. Second largest foreign currency earner contributing over NRs. 200 million

3. equivalent to US $ 2.8 million in the year 2004/2005

4. Cultivated in 34 of 75 districts occupying a total area of 13,000 hectares

5. Involvement of more than 25,000 small farmers in cultivation with with an average landholding of 1.3 hectare and an average per capita income of USD 215 per annum

6. Crop generates nearly NRs. 30,000 thousands cash income (2005 data)

7. Among the small holders nearly 60% are ethnic minorities

8. Production is labor intensive and therefore provides seasonal employment to landless, women and unemployed people

9. Wage for cardamom is RS 100 per day compared to Rs 50 for traditional crops

10. Grown in marginal lands and does not compete for other crops for land use

11. Being shade loving cardamom planted under trees and contributing to reforestation

12. Low levels of input requirements

13. Low investment and relatively high return