Lac Cultivation

Lac is a natural resin secreted from lac insects. These insects live in certain host trees and commercial cultivation of lac is made possible by infesting the insects to host trees. India was largest exporter of Lac up to 19 century and production decreased due to the synthetic lac. Now the world is again bent towards natural resins and the Lac cultivation has returned with a bang. In Karnataka Kadamba Foundation was the pioneer institution which was instrumental in re-introducing and promoting the Lac cultivation. The visions of Sri Anant Kumar Hegde which is perpetually pro-farmer and for organic farming made this incredible feat possible.

Little bit of History; The word lac is derived from the Sanskrit word lākshā' (लाक्षा), which represents the number 100,000. Due to the enormous number of insects, the resin produced by these insects was also called as Laksha(Lac) and the insects also carried the name lac. The Hindu culture was familiar with the use of this natural resin There are referece of Lac in Atharva Veda. The Atharva Veda has sooktha titled ‘Laaksha’ reffering the Lac insect and also carries a praising prose for the personified fully grown female Lac insect! The Vedic Rishis knew that the resin is from the insect and also knew about the medicinal value of this unique resin, the only natural resin derived from an insect. They had also identified the Ideal host tree for these insects and it was Palsah Tree(Butea monosperma syn.Frondosa).

Most famous is the reference in Epic MahaBharatha when Kauravas built a palace out of Lac (Laaksha Gruha) by an architect named ‘Purochak’ for the destruction of Pandavas.

In modern history the scientific study of Lac resin and the Lac insects was first done in 1709 by Father Tachard, a Christian missionary of the society of Jesuits. He studied its occurrence, preparation and also little bit physio-chemical properties. Then James Kerr, a medical officer in the India Company’s Service,undertook a scientific study and published the paper entitled .


Lac is a scarlet resin secreted by an insect that makes its home on trees. Laccifer lacca is a commercially important Indian lac insect which is found in tropical or subtropical regions on banyan and other plants. The leading producer of lac is Jharkand, followed by Chattisghar, West Bengal, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Medicinal Benefits

Lac is applied over the skin in skin diseases. It stops bleeding in wounds and injuries, heals skin ulcers, speeds up recovery process of ulcer, wounds and other skin diseases. Purified Lac is used in Ayurvedic and Unani medicines. However, sourced as an animal origin, it has a great significance in management of joint disorders, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, osteoarthritis etc. It is also helpful in obesity, renal and spleen disorders, jaundice, backache problems, leprosy, ulceration, epilepsy and chicken pox. It is an amazing liver tonic when taken with other liver stimulant herbs.

Commercial use

Lac, the only resinous compound of animal origin has immense economic importance. No doubt the development of many synthetic products have made its importance to a little lesser degree, but still it can be included in the list of necessary articles. Lac is used in making toys, bracelets, sealing wax, gramophone records, bangles etc. Waste materials produced during the process of stick lac are used for dying purpose. From the stick lac, shellac is obtained after purification which is used as coating for medicines.

The LAC cultivation at Tibetan colony in Mundgod region. First time in India the Tibetans started cultivating LAC in Mundgod. The Kadamba Foundation volunteers with the farmer Mr. Kunchok Tseten.He has cultivated 6000 Plants in between Mango plantation.

Gumlac Cultivation details
Sl No Taluk Area Covered (Ha) No of benefeciaries
1 Ankola 2 9
2 Bhatkal 3 5
3 Haliyal 1 6
4 Honnavar 12 12
5 Joida 12 12
6 Kumta 10 10
7 Mundgod 86 86
8 Siddapur 116 109
9 Sirsi 169 164
10 Yellapur 25 25
11 Belgaum 1 100
Total 11 214 438

Gum Lac cultivation under Kadamba