Bhuinchuk juice production catches up in Taplejung

Sita Niraula

Taplejung, April 21:

Production of juice from the expensive herb bhuinchuk has begun in the northern parts of Taplejung. Till a few years ago, the herb used to be planted for commercial purposes only in Tibet. Kipa Sherpa, president of Kanchanjangha Ama Samuha said the production of bhuinchuk juice began once they understood the commercial potential of the herb, found in abundance in Ghunsa, Olangchunggola and Yagma among others. According to her, the herb was used in a limited quantity to prepare pickles but nowadays, it is taken as medicine for high blood pressure, common cough and menstrual problems.

Ang Phuti Sherpa, manager of Kanchanjangha Conservation Area Project (KCAP) said the KCAP encouraged locals to take up juice production from the herb bhuinchuk which was recognised as having curative powers for cancer of kidney, liver and colon. Bhuinchuk is a type of berry obtained from a shrub found at riverbanks at the altitude of over 3,500m.

According to him, a research has shown that the juice is rich in vitamin C, A, B, B12, Bita, Carobin, Carbohydrate, 16 types of amino acid and 26 types of minerals. The KCAP said bhuinchuk has 16 times more vitamin C than that in amala, conventionally taken as the richest source of vitamin.

A juice producer Mukti Poudel of Phungling-4 said in the drink they mix 15 per cent of berry juice, 41 per cent sugar and 44 per cent water. The consumer can mix hot or cold water depending on the weather. Poudel, who produce juice in the district headquarters said the customer could add upto 80 per cent of water in a drink. He added the prepared juice should be used within six months of production as no preservative was used. The KCAP manager Sherpa said the juice contains 60 per cent of soluble acid, 1.8 per cent citric acid and 1.9 per cent tartaric acid. One bottle of bhuinchuk juice costs Rs 200. The KCAP has begun providing juice production training to locals to tap the market potential.