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Jute (Corchorus capsularis)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Corchorus capsularis

A fibre is obtained from the stems, it is the main source of jute[46, 61, 200]. The fibre is somewhat coarse and is used mainly for sackcloth etc[57]. The stems are harvested when the plant is in flower and are then retted (allowed to begin to rot) so that the fibre can be extracted[171]. This species tends to branch making fibre extraction more difficult[114]. Growing the plants very close together will prevent some of the branching. If used in making paper, the fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then ball milled for 4_ hours. The paper is grey/buff[189].

The very light and soft wood is used in making sulphur matches[158].

  • Medicinal Use

    The leaves are appetizer, carminative, demulcent, laxative, stimulant and stomachic[240]. An infusion is used in the treatment of dysentery, fevers, dyspepsia and liver disorders[240].

    A decoction of the roots and unripe fruits is used in the treatment of dysentery[240].

    The seeds contain a substance that has a similar action on the heart to digitalin (from Digitalis spp.), but less intense in its action[240].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – raw or cooked[1, 2, 27, 46, 61]. Young leaves are added to salads whilst older leaves are cooked as a pot-herb[2, 183, 272]. High in protein. The dried leaves can be used as a thickener in soups[183].

    A tea is made from the dried leaves[183].

    Immature fruits are added to salads or used as a potherb.

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in late spring, after the last expected frosts[200]. In areas with hot summers it should be possible to sow the seed in situ in mid spring.
Prefers a very fertile soil and a hot humid climate[169]. Tolerates very wet conditions according to one report[57] whilst another says that it does not tolerate waterlogged soils[169]. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.1 to 6.8. Jute is sometimes cultivated for the fibre in its stem and also for its edible leaves[183]. It makes an excellent spinach substitute in areas with hot summers[183]. This species is not hardy in Britain but it can be grown as a half-hardy annual here, though it grows much better in areas that are warmer than typical summers in this country[27]. Some reports say that this plant is an annual whilst one says that it is perennial. Since the plant is not hardy in Britain we can only grow it as an annual. This species is very closely related to C. olitorius.
E. Asia – China.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.