Anjumani Talukdar and Dibakar C. Deka* Pages 368 - 372 ( 5 )
Background: Dhokora khar (solid alkali), derived from water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is used by the people of Assam as a traditional food additive and as an antacid. It is usually prepared from the aqueous extract of water hyacinth ash. It is very popular in lower Assam particularly in the district of Barpeta and nearby areas. Apart from its use as a food additive in preparing palatable dishes, it is also used for the cure of ailments arising from stomach acidity and indigestion. In rural Assam, this khar finds applications as a natural fertilizer as well as a cleansing agent.
Methods: Standard chemical and spectral procedures have been used to confirm the presence of acid and basic radicals. SEM-EDX, Atomic Absorption Spectrometry and Flame Photometry were used for information on chemical constituents.
Results: Chemical information has established that dhokhora khar consists of a mixture of carbonates, chlorides, sulfates and phosphates of various metals such as K, Mg, Ca, Na, Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, etc. It is highly rich in potassium.
Conclusion: The investigation suggests that dokhora khar consists of a mixture of carbonates, chlorides, sulfates and phosphates of various metals such as K, Mg, Ca, Na, Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, etc. Some of these metals such as Fe, Co, Mn, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cr, etc., are essential nutrients. Hence the results establish that the consumption of this traditional food additive by the natives of Assam provides health benefits.
Dokhora khar, Eichhornia crassipes, food additive, SEM-EDX, traditional, water hyacinth.
Department of Chemistry, Gauhati University, Guwahati-781014, Assam, Department of Chemistry, Gauhati University, Guwahati-781014, Assam