Zanthoxylum, commonly known as Timur among Nepalese, is an aromatic shrub found mainly in the Southeast Asian region. It falls under the plant family Rutaceae and is scientifically referred to as Zanthoxylum Armatum. Timur is used for medicinal purposes, essential oils, and even as a flavor enhancer in many cuisines.
Timur is a plant with high environmental tolerance, and it grows better in open pasture lands or even secondary shrub forests. With sufficient rainfall, it can adapt in temperate habitats of lower warm valleys and the colder habitat of the Himalayas. This plant thrives best in lands with clayey soil rich in fertility and organic contents.
A large-scale propagation of the Timur plant is best done with freshly harvested seeds. However, in the absence of fresh harvest, another propagation technique is terminal stem cutting. Both these methods need specific techniques and pretreatments. For the Timur seeds to germinate, it usually takes up to 30 days after sowing. The seedlings need to grow 20 to 30 cm before they are ready to be transplanted to the main cultivation land. Terminal stem cutting is best to be carried out during the Monsoon, from July to August.
Uses and Applications:
Timur is a plant with numerous valuable properties. Almost every part of this plant has some purpose, be it medical or culinary.
Zanthoxylum (Timur) is a plant widely used for its medical properties. It is believed to cure chronic issues like rheumatism and skin diseases, chilblains, cramps in the leg, varicose veins, and varicose ulcers. Timur is also used for therapeutic reliefs in problems like asthma, bronchitis, cholera, fever, fibrositis, indigestion, rheumatism, skin diseases, toothache, varicose veins, malaria, and many more. Timur is used to invigorate the lymphatic system, circulation, and mucous membranes for its stimulating effects.
The roots of Timur also have many uses. They come handy in the treatment of snakebites and also help in digestion issues. Timur seeds and fruits are useful for cleaning teeths as well.
Besides medicinal purposes, Timur possesses high significance in the Ayurveda world as well. The essential oil extracted from the Timur seeds is vital in preparing ayurvedic medicines like Tejowatyadya Grita, Tumbawardi Churna.
Zanthoxylum is a highly aromatic plant used to give a distinctive spicy and numbing flavor in various cuisines. In Nepal, Timur is often used to intensify the flavor of pickles, curies, and even “Chutney” (a paste made of various spices and herbs). Like the highly celebrated use of Sichuan peppercorns in many Chinese cuisines, Timur is also adored in many Nepali cuisines for its unique flavor and aroma.
Timur seeds are one the best natural preservatives for food. Besides that, Timur also aids in protection of book shelves from insects and bugs. Some people grow Timur in their gardens or yards solely for the aesthetic.