Insulin plant (Chamaecostus cuspidatus) is a perennial, herbaceous plant in the Costaceae family. It is an upright, spreading plant growing up to a height of 2 to 5 feet, with the tallest stems falling and lying on the ground. The leaves are simple, alternate, entire, oblong, 4-8 inches long with parallel venation, spirally arranged around the stems. Large, fleshy, smooth, and dark green leaves have a light purple underside. The blooms are orange in color and are 1.5 inches in diameter. They bloom during the time of May to June (warm months) and they appear to be cone-like heads at the tips of branches. The leaf of the plant helps in producing insulin. They control the blood sugar levels in your body.
Scientific Name: Chamaecostus cuspidatus
Common Names: Fiery costus or Spiral flag, Insulin plant.
Insulin plant Health Benefits:
- Insulin plant leaves are rich in protein, iron, ad antioxidant components such as ascorbic acid, a-tocopherol, ß-carotene, terpenoids, steroids, and flavonoids.
- Aqueous extract of this plant would prevent the formation of calcium kidney stones by the inhibitory effect on plant growth of calcium oxalate.
- In Ayurvedic medicine, it is utilized for diabetes, leaves chewed twice daily, or dried powder of leaves taken 1/2 to 1 gram twice every day.
How to grow Insulin plant (Chamaecostus cuspidatus) & Maintenance:
Propagation of Insulin Plant
Fiery costus thrives well in full sun to partial shade. Keep your plant three to four hours of sunlight every day.
Fiery costus prefers to grow in fertile soil and moist, well-drained soil. Avoid waterlogging the soil as this will rot the plant.
Fiery costus prefers an ideal temperature between 30 degrees Celsius to 45 degrees Celsius
Water regularly, during the growing season. Keep the soil always moist but not soggy. Reduce watering during the winter season.
Feed your insulin plant with any organic fertilizer. Be sure that do not fertilize your insulin plant during the Winter season.
It can be easily propagated by division of the clumps, cuttings, or by separating the offsets or plantlets that form below the blossom heads. Fiery costus are best planted in the early spring. Divide the rhizomes with a sharp knife to propagate. Plant the smaller rhizomes in a new location and water well. Fiery costus do not require deep planting. Dig the bed only two or three inches deep. Take 4 inches long stem cuttings at any time of year
Re-pot your insulin plant every year in early spring. As the plant grows, you should move it to a wider pot so the new stems and roots have enough space to develop.
Pests and Diseases:
No serious pest or disease problems. Look for mealybugs and aphids. Mites and nematodes can be an issue, particularly on light, sandy soil.