Article Index
1. Botany
2. Chemical Constituents
3. Medicinal Properties & Use
4. Soil & Climate
5. Propagation
6. Planting & Aftercare
7. Pest & Diseases
8. Harvest & Processing
All Pages

Black Musale

Scientific name    : Curculigo orchioides Gaertn
Synonym             : C. malabarica Wight
Family                  : Amaryllidaceae

Vernacular name
 English              : Black musale
Malayalam          : Nilappana
Hindi                  : Kalimusali
Sanskrit             : Musali
Tamil                  : Nilapanai 
Telugu                : Nelatadi Kelangu


   It is a small herbaceous perennial plant belonging to  ‘Dasapushpa’ group.
Rhizome narrowly oblong, cylindrical and growing vertically,   4-5 cm long and 1 cm diameter.
Leaves elliptic-lanceolate, acuminate,   30 x 5 cm;
Inflorescence is a raceme with bisexual flowers towards the base and  male flowers towards the apex.
Perianth yellow, pubescent, 1cm across, lobes oblong-obtuse,  stamens yellow and conspicuous. Ovary pilose, fruit narrowly oblong. Pods contain 4-5 seeds which do not germinate under natural conditions.
Natural regeneration is through plantlets formed at the leaf tips touching wet soil.

Chemical constituentS

 The main medicinally active component is a phenolic glycoside namely, Curculigoside.

In addition it contains alkaloid namely
lycorine, sterols including β-sitosterols and sapogenin namely yuccagenin and flavone glycoside identified as 5, 7- dimethoxy glucopyranoside.

Medicinal properties & use

Parts used: Rhizomes

Formulations: Musalyadi churna Viswailamusali kashayam, Musalikhadhiradhi kashayam  Vidaryadighrta, Vidaryadi lehya, Marmagulika, etc.

It is a reputed rasayana drug and a good  aphrodisiac.  Hence known as ‘Indian viagra’.

It improves complexion and is useful in general debility, deafness, cough, asthma, piles, skin diseases, impotence, jaundice, urinary disorders etc.
Dry  rhizome powder boiled in milk is rejuvenative.

Use of dry powder mixed with ‘Triphala’ in honey cures leucorrhoea


The plant is found throughout India  from near sea level to 2300 m altitude, especially in rock crevices and laterite soil.
It grows in moist soils rich in organic matter.
The crop prefers shade and grows best as intercrop.


Fresh terminal tuber segments of 1.5-2cm size, collected from field at the time of planting and used as the propagule.
Quantity required for planting: 300 kg/acre

Propagation using tuber segments
Natural Propagation from leaftip

Planting  &  aftercare

Nilappana is a slow growing  and  less competitive crop.   Hence sufficient care should be given for its initial establishment  and growth.
The land is ploughed well with the onset of monsoon and raised beds of convenient length and 1m wide are taken.
FYM at the rate of 4 tonnes /acre is applied at the time of land preparation.
Fresh terminal tuber segments are planted in raised beds at a spacing of 15 x 10 cm.
Thin mulching with green leaves or straw is given immediately after planting. About 70-80% of tubers sprout within two months.

Since the tuber  elogation is vertically upwards as the plant grows,   earthing up two to three times  is essential to promote tuberization. Frequent weeding is also required to check weed competition.
Application of small doses of chemical fertilizers is also beneficial.


Pest & Diseases


 Seedling rot observed during the rainy season can be controlled by spraying and drenching the soil with 1% Bordeaux mixture.

 Rhizomes are very often eaten up by rats and hence control measures  against rat is essential to minimise crop loss by rats.
Planting Chethikoduveli as border plants will minimise rat damage since burning action of its tubers repels the rodents.

Harvest & processing

Nilappana, which is a perennial plant, is cultivated as an annual or biennial crop. 1000-1500 kg/ acre fresh tuber is obtained when grown as an annual.  Biennial crop yields about 2000-3000 kg/acre; medicinal quality also is superior for biennial crop.
 Harvested rhizomes are cleaned and sliced into 1 cm long pieces and dried to form the marketable crude drug. Recovery of dried rhizome is 35-40%.