Indigenous knowledge on the uses, management, drying and marketing of Celosia cristata L.- A culturally significant flower of the Kashmir Valley, India
Cockscomb flower (Celosia cristata), commonly known as ‘Marwal’, is an important part of Kashmiri culture. However, it has received little attention from researchers. In the present study, an effort has been made to document the indigenous knowledge of the native Kashmiri population about its ethnobotanical uses and bring this valuable plant into focus. The indigenous knowledge about C. cristatan was gathered by adopting Participatory Rural Appraisal technique. It involved interviews, and discussions with a total of 55 respondents. All the documented data was quantitatively analyzed using several ethnobotanical indices including Use Value (UV), Fidelity Level (FL), Informant Consensus Factor (FIC) and Index of Cultural Significance (ICS). The results revealed that the flower plays a crucial role in folklore medicine, local cuisine, and beautification of surroundings, and most importantly as a food colorant, which can serve as an alternative to the harmful synthetic color additives used in food industries. This innovative practice developed by the Kashmiri people need to be well protected. In addition, extensive studies are required to investigate, identify and characterize the biologically active compounds responsible for the pharmacological effects of C. cristata.
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