Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Kewda flower may be victim of government crackdown on gutkha in India

Oh, no, my beloved kewda flower, the male flower of the Pandanus odoritissimus, a Prehistoric plant that has survived for millions of year, may be in danger because of a proposed Indian law.  It seems that the kewda flower is one ingredient used in a rather toxic chewing gum known as gutkha.  You can read the article for all the details, but I will cut the chase about the problem:  an industry may be shut down because of this, an industry that supports many families and a beautiful product that is used in perfumery.  I use pandanus flower oil in two of my perfumes, Fairchild and Kewdra.  I will be able to harvest the flower here in Miami or grow my own if supply dries up.

 Pandanus - aka Kewda flower

I truly don't think it will dry up, because some of the distilleries will remain active.  Perhaps the distilleries could have been more forward-thinking and used some long range planning for alternative uses for their kewda oil, but often industries fail on the human end of the planning processes.  Kewda flower water and oil are used in Indian pastries, but that small part of the yearly harvest will not, even coupled with the perfumery industry, be enough to keep the hundreds of distilleries going. 

Perhaps the growers and distillers should have come up with a plan B after the steel industry takeover failed.  They might have figured out ways to avoid being boxed into a threatening scenario such as the one they have now.

The gutkha practice sounds frightening, and perhaps the Indian government is wise stepping in, but I do hope they have some alternative plan for the kewda industry, because taking away the livelihood of thousands of people can be as damaging to the health of the affected people as gutkha is to the addicts.


  1. This is ridiculous!
    I have been trying for the last 45 mins to locate a source that can export these floweres.
    Why does the Indian government not exploit the international florist
    Market? These flowers will fetch a fantastic price on the international market if only the government will look into it.
    Orissa is siting on a gold mine that also smells sweet! Talk of a sustainable market and you have it!
    Best wishes!

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