Health Benefits and Uses of Joint-whip Ginger

Health & Wellness

Joint-whip Ginger (Alpinia conchigera) | 

Joint-whip Ginger does well in shaded and moist environment of valleys and humid rainforest from 600 to 1000 m elevation, native to tropical or subtropical range. It is commonly found in open wet grounds such as edges of rice fields, streams and under the shade of palm oil and rubber trees. It is the cold tolerant of ginger species. This plant is found in eastern Bengal and Southwards to Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra. It is known as lengkuasranting, lengkuas padang, lengkuas kecil, lengkuas geting and chengk-enam. Rhizome is used as a condiment in northern states of Peninsular Malaysia and intermittent in folk medicine along east coast for treating fungal infections. In some states of Peninsular Malaysia, rhizomes are used as post-partum medicine and young shoots are made into vegetable dish.

Joint-whip Ginger is a slender perennial herb that grows to the height of 0.6–2 m high with slender, woody and aromatic rhizome i.e. cream colored in cross section. Leaves are glabrous, dark green, shortly petiolated, lanceolate-oblong and about 30 cm by 9 cm. An inflorescence is erect, 1-2 branched, 20-25 cm long. Secondary branches are cincinni and bract is small. Flowers are small and 1.5 cm across. Corolla lobes are white to greenish-yellowish. Lateral staminodes are quadrate, red and filament is slender, 5 mm long and pale yellowish to pinkish. Anther is 2 mm and ovary is glabrous and pyriform. Fruit is a small capsule usually glabrous, green ripening to red, globose, 8 mm across that contains 3 to 5 seeds and is strongly aromatic.

Traditional Uses of Joint-whip Ginger:

  • Apply the poultice of boiled leaves or leaves and rhizomes to treat rheumatism.
  • It is used in the treatment of bronchitis, jaundice, headache, ringworm, indigestion, abscesses and vertigo.
  • It is also mixed with other herbs for a post partum tonic.
  • In Peninsular Malaysia, infusion is used for bathing.
  • Rub the rhizome poultice on the body for bone pains.
  • Use the pounded leaves as a poultice for confinement.
  • In Malaysia, root decoction is used as a shampoo to eliminate lice or pounded leaves are used as a poultice for swellings and boils on stomach after childbirth.
  • In the Malay peninsular, a poultice of the boiled leaves, or a mixture of the  leaves and rhizomes are applied externally as a treatment for rheumatism.
  • Traditionally used by natives to clean hair from fleas, prounded leaves to treat boils and swelling on stomach after childbirth.
  • Pounded rhizome for pain inside bone and powdered rhizomes with water for stomach ache.
  • Drink the mixture of rhizome juice and water for dysmenorrhea.
  • Rub the mixture of ground rhizome and vinegar or kerosene on fungal skin infection.
  • Apply the essential oil topically for strains and muscle pains.
  • In Indochina, rhizome is used to treat bronchitis, jaundice, headache and vertigo.
  • In Thailand, rhizomes are used to treat abscesses and indigestion, poultice made from leaves and rhizomes are used for ringworm infections.
  • In China, roots are used to treat chest or abdominal pain and digestive disorders.
  • In Chinese medicine, a boiled concoction of the rhizomes is taken to sooth indigestion, and a paste made from the punded rhizomes is used to treat insect bites.
  • Also used as an anti-fungal medication in the east coast of Malaysia.
  • Rhizomes are used in Myanmar for gout, cold and digestion.
  • It is used for treating diabetes mellitus in Thailand.
  • Use the juice extracted from boiled rhizomes and leaves for treating abdominal pain, spleen and indigestion.
  • The pounded leaves are also used as a poultice after confinement.
  • Use the water from boiled leaves for bathing and burned leaves are used for rheumatic pains.
  • The rhizome is considered diaphoretic and stimulating.

Culinary Uses of Joint-whip Ginger:

  • In Indochina, rhizome is used to flavor rice spirit and food.
  • Slender rhizomes are used for rheumatism, arthritis and various ailments.
  • In Thailand, young shoots are consumed raw or cooked in curries.
  • In Peninsular Malaysia, rhizome is used as a condiment.
  • Rhizomes are used to flavor rice wine (Indochina) and food (Northern Malaysia, Indochina).
  • The rhizome is used for flavouring rice alcohol and food.
  • Rhizomes can make fermented wine from highland ethnic people.

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