Nepali Name: Paanch aule
English Name: Orchis, marsh orchid, salep
Habitat and distribution: Moist places; 3000-4000m, WCE Nepal. Also distributed in Pakistan, N India, Bhutan and SE Tibet.
Diagnostic characters: Orchid about 45cm high. Roots: tuberous, slightly flattened and divided into 3 or 5 fingers like lobes. Leaves: oblanceolate, base sheathing. Flowers: purple, narrowly lanceolate.
Parts used: Root
Uses: Young leaves and shoots are eaten as a vegetable. The root is expectorant, astringent, demulcent and highly nutritious. Powdered root is spread over wounds to control bleeding. A decoction of the root is given in cases of stomach trouble.it is also used as aphrodisiac and sexual stimulant.
Studies undertaken suggest that aqueous extract of D. hatagirea causes significant anabolic effect which is comparable to testosterone treatment. Genesis of steroids is one of the causes of increased body and sexual organ weights and an increase in this parameter could be regarded as a biological indicator for effectiveness of the herbal drugs in improving the genesis of steroidal hormones.
Dactylorhiza hatagirea is considered as an important aphrodisiac plant in Ayurvedic literature and is employed to enhance performance as well as to increase vigor and vitality. The usage of this herb by practitioners of traditional medicine is frequent, although very little scientific evidence is available for its purported aphrodisiac properties. The observed anabolic activity evidenced by gain in body and organ weights is suggestive of testosterone intervention of the drug extracts. It is likely that the extracts help in improving the testosterone availability to gonads.
Harvesting: Roots are harvested during Aug.-Sep.
Status: Commercially threatened; Government protected (Ban for collection, use, sale, distribution, transportation and export)