Root bark, seed oil.
As discussed earlier, apart from the commercial use of the cotton plant for its indispensible fiber and valuable oil extracted from its seeds, the herb is also valued for its remedial properties. Both the seeds and the roots of the cotton plant are used to treat several conditions. The roots are especially used as medication to alleviate conditions especially related to women. These days, herbalists seldom use the roots of the cotton plants as a medication. However, there was a time when herbal medicine practitioners used the cotton roots as an alternative for ergot (Claviceps pulpurea) - an herb used extensively to stimulate and ease child birth. When used medicinally for this purpose, the roots of the cotton not only have a gentle effect, but are also safe. In fact, consumption of a tea prepared by brewing cotton roots just before child birth helps to encourage the contraction of the uterus and also hastens the process of child birth. In addition, cotton roots are also effective in helping abortion or the commencement of menstruation as well as lessen period flow. The bark of the cotton root also promotes blood clot formation as well as breast milk secretion. On the other hand, the oil extracted from cotton seeds is used to alleviate profuse bleeding during menstruation and endometriosis. No doubt, the herb has been named as a 'female medication'. While herbalists have been using the cotton root to ease child birth, modern scientists have also endorsed this particular medicinal property of the herb stating that the possibility of the remedy being effective is substantial. Even present day traditional medicine practitioners administer a tea prepared with the cotton root to women to ensure regular menstruation cycle. Several researches on the subject have demonstrated that this particular use of cotton seed is effective. This species of cotton plant is mainly grown for the valuable fiber contained in its fruit capsules and is regarded as the most significant plant among all cotton species. It supplies the majority of the saleable cottons that form the indispensible raw material for the textile industry. The linters or short pieces of fiber attached to the cotton seeds after the first ginning have an average quality and are smaller compared to the fibers of the G. barbadense species. Partially concentrated edible oil is extracted from the cotton seed that is made use of in preparing shortening, salad and cooking oil as well as margarine. In addition, the cotton seed oil is also used as a defensive layer. After the oil is extracted from cotton seeds, cottonseed cake is left behind as a residue. The cottonseed cake, also referred to as meal, is rich in protein content and is a vital food for domestic animals. In effect, bread made with cottonseed protein is a superior source of protein compared to the enhanced white bread - six slices of cottonseed protein bread supplies as much as 20 per cent of the adult Recommended Dietary Allowances or RDA. Low quality residue of cottonseed is used as an organic fertilizer, fuel as well as preparing beds for planting trees. Fuzz, short pieces of fiber, which is not eliminated during the ginning process turns out to be linters in canvas, mattresses, furnishings, yarns, carpets and wicks as well as surgical cottons. In the chemical industry, this is used in manufacturing films, plastics, rayons, sausage coverings, shatterproof glass, cellulose explosives and varnishes. The roots and seeds of cotton plant have been traditionally used to treat tissue growth inside the nose, development of uterine fibroids as well as other forms of cancer. A polyphenol obtained from the cotton plant, gossypol is known to have features to combat cancer. A moist and sticky tea prepared with raw or roasted cotton seeds are administered to patients suffering from diarrhea, dysentery, bronchitis as well as hemorrhage. The flowers of the cotton plant too possess medicinal properties. They promote flow of urine and possess the powers of softening or relaxing and are used to treat hypochondriasis, a medical condition wherein an individual is excessively preoccupied with his or her health. The leaves of the cotton plant may be infused in vinegar and applied externally on the forehead to heal headaches. This infusion was also used by the slaves in early America with reasonable success and without any adverse after-effects for inducing abortions. People in Guinea use the leaves and seeds of cotton as a balm as well as a medication to promote menstrual discharge. They boiled approximately 100 gm of cotton root in about 500 ml of water till the liquid was concentrated to half its quantity. They administered 50 g of this medication at half an hour intervals to the patient. Traditional herbal medicine practitioners used the decoction prepared with cotton plant root to treat diarrhea, dysentery and asthma. The bark of the cotton plant root too possesses several medicinal properties. It does not enclose any tannin, is astringent as well as anti-hemorrhoidal and is used to promote menstrual discharge (emmenagogue), to treat bleeding vessels or stop bleeding (hemostat), to stimulate breast milk secretion (lactagogue), ease child birth (oxytocic), facilitate the delivery among pregnant women (parturient) and to constrict the blood vessels as an action of the nerves (vasoconstrictor). Gossypol derived from the cotton plant is known to reduce sperm count, and is used by Chinese herbalists as a male contraceptive.
The cotton plant is indigenous to the tropical region of America. This species grows naturally in the southern regions of Florida and it is grown commercially across the southern regions of the United States. It is important to note that a latency period of two to three months is essential for the seeds of a number of varieties of the cultivable cotton species. When stored in damp conditions, cotton seeds lose their capability very fast. The variety of cotton that is used for commercial production of textiles is all the time propagated from seeds and they are sown at a time when the soil temperature is at a minimum of 18�C. The cotton seeds are sown in bores or in slopes. Possibly, sowing the seeds by the hill-drop process is most excellent provided it is done manually with hand-hoes. Under typical circumstances, the seeds are sown quite deep into the soil - approximately at a depth of 4 to 6 cm. The growth rate of the cotton seeds is normally quite high. However, some loses of plants are permissible. For mechanical growth and harvesting of the plants, the width of the rows needs to be around 100 cm. To prepare the seedbed, it is essential to get rid of any residue from the previous crops, proper preservation of the drainage system, excellent tillage of the soil, getting rid of the hard layer below the soil surface and controlling the growth of weeds as well as preventing pest attacks. It is also important to undertake nurturing and weeding of the seedbeds at regular intervals for robust growth of the plants. In many countries, cotton growers usually use chemical substances to kill undesirable plants. On the other hand, controlling pests is a very expensive proposition for cotton cultivators. Pesticides are used both before and after planting cotton. In addition, the soil needs to be irrigated when it contains insufficient moisture or when the moisture retaining capacity of the soil is poor. Presently, more and more cotton growers are using irrigation to cultivate the plant throughout the year. In addition, fertilizers too play an important role in the growth of robust cotton plants and they need to be replaced regularly to provide sufficient nourishments to plants to obtain huge harvests. The amount of fertilizers that needs to be used entirely depends on the soil conditions and in order to get the best results cultivators should seek advice on this matter from the neighbourhood agents. Crop rotation is an important aspect in cotton cultivation and is followed by the farmers across the globe. It is only possible to grow a single crop during the brief rainy season. Hence, where ever it is feasible, cultivators should rotate crops during this season by leaving the land unseeded of growing crops like fallow, wheat, peas, cotton. This method has proved to be effective not only in optimum utilization of the soil, but also in retaining the fertility of the soil. Usually, it takes anything between 80 days to 110 days from the sowing of the cotton seeds to the plants coming into bloom and an additional 55 days to 80 days for the fruit capsules or bolls to mature and open. Although harvesting of cotton has been mechanized in many parts of the world now, manual harvesting actually provides the greater portion of cotton yields every year. In fact, cotton harvested manually is also found to be of a superior quality and also enables the cultivators to obtain greater amounts of the fiber from their fields. Normally, one labourer is capable of picking as much as 50 kg to 110 kg of cotton in a day! On the other hand, the average harvesting of cotton seeds by a two-row mechanical picker is around 1,400 kg every hour. Appropriate ginning of the seeds is crucial in establishing the superiority as well as the price of the fiber obtained from bolls. The removal of the seeds from the bolls is only done through the ginning process and presently there are numerous ginning processes available on the market. Once the linters as well as the fuzz are removed from the cotton seeds, they are used to extract the semi concentrated edible oil by an express method.
A number of researches have found the cotton seeds and the oil extracted from the cotton seeds to result in infertility among men. This medicinal property of the cotton seeds and oils has prompted the Chinese scientists to experiment with them as a potential organic contraceptive for men. Cotton seed oil not only reduces the sperm count, but also results in the deterioration of the cells that produce sperm.