Zingiber purpureum

scientific name: 
Zingiber purpureum Roscoe
Zingiber montanum (J. Konig) Link ex A. Dietr.
Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Perennial herb up to 1 m high.  Leaves oblong-lanceolate, 13-28 cm long. Bracts ovate to orbicular, 2.5 to 3.5 cm in length, obtuse, green with pale edges; pubescent margin; corolla white, tube thin, 2.5 cm in length; lobes acuminate.  Fruit ellipsoid, 2.5 cm.




  rhizome, maceration, orally1

The rhizome of Zingiber purpureum is widely used for human consumption15.

For rheumatism:

Prepare an aqueous maceration by crushing 7-10 grams of fresh rhizome, and adding 1/2 liter (2 cups) of boiled water (cooled to room temperature).  Let it infuse for 2 hours.  Drink 1 cup every 12 hours, for one to two weeks.

Any medicinal preparation must be preserved cold and used within the 24 hours.

According to published and other information:

Use for rheumatism is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys, and on available published scientific information.

Do not use for more than 15 consecutive days.

The ethanolic extract (50%) from the dried rhizome administered orally and subcutaneously to mice showed an LD1 higher than 10 g/kg12-13.

The aqueous extract from the dried rhizome in vitro was not mutagenic against Bacillus subtilis H17, M4514.

There is no available information documenting the safety of medicinal use in children or in pregnant or lactating women.

The rhizome contains essential oil: terpinen-4-ol (45.4%)2, α-and ɣ-terpinene3, 1-(3,4-dimethylphenyl)butadiene4; benzenoids : 4-(3',4'-dimethoxyphenyl) but-trans-3-en-2-ol5 and derivatives6-7, cassumunarin a-c8, dimethoxy-curcumin; stilbenes : cyclohex-1-ene-3(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)-2,4,5-trimethoxystyryl and derivatives; naphthoquinones7.

The methanol extract from the dried rhizome administered orally to mice (3 mg/kg) against acetic acid-induced writhing showed analgesic activity9.  Using the same dosage on carrageenan-induced paw edema in rats, it demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity9.

The aqueous extract from the dried rhizome in vitro exhibit antispasmodic activity against acetylcholine-induced contractions of the smooth muscle of rat intestine10.

The aqueous and hydroalcoholic extracts from the fresh rhizome externally applied to male mice (1 mg/ear) against phorbol-induced inflammation showed anti-inflammatory activity11.




1 GERMOSEN-ROBINEAU L, GERONIMO M, AMPARO C, 1984 Encuesta TRAMIL. enda-caribe, Santo Domingo, Rep. Dominicana.

2 BALBIN-OLIVEROS M, BRUCE BS, 1986 Pharmacognostic studies on Zingiber purpureum Rosc. (family Zingiberaceae). Asian J Pharm suppl 6(8):130.

3 PONGPRAYOON U, SOONTORNSARATUNE P, JARIKASEM S, SEMATONG T, WASUWAT S, CLAESON P, 1997 Topical antiinflammatory activity of the major lipophilic constituents of the rhizome of Zingiber cassumunar. Part I: The essential oil. Phytomedicine 3(4):319-322.

4 BAKER DM, NABNEY J, 1975 Identification of a novel constituent of the essential oil of Zingiber cassumunar. Int Flavours Food Addit 6:136.

5 PANTHONG A, KANJANAPOTHI D, NIWATANANANT W, TUNTIWACHWUTTIKUL P, REUTRAKUL V, 1997 Anti-inflammatory activity of compound {(e)-4-(3',4'-dimethoxyphenyl) but-3-en-2-ol} isolated from Zingiber cassumunar Roxb. Phytomedicine 4(3):207-212.

6 TUNTIWACHWUTTIKUL P, LIMCHAWFAR B, REUTRAKUL V, PANCHAROEN O, JAIPETCH T, KUSAMRAN K, 1980 Structure elucidation and syntheses of some constituents of Zingiber cassumunar Roxb. Abstr 4th Asian Symp Med Plants Spices Bangkok Thailand p164.

7 KUROYANAGI M, FUKUSHIMA S, YOSHIHIRA K, NATORI S, DECHATIWONGSE T, MIHASHI K, NISHI M, HARA S, 1980 Thai medicinal plants. Part VIII. Further characterization of the constituents of a Thai medicinal plant, Zingiber cassumunar Roxb. Chem Pharm Bull 28:2948-2959.

8 JITOE A, MASUDA T, MABRY TJ, 1994 Novel antioxidants, cassumunarin A, B, and C, from Zingiber cassumunar. Tetrahedron Lett 35(7):981-984.

9 OZAKI Y, KAWAHARA N, HARADA M, 1991 Anti-inflammatory effect of Zingiber cassumunar Roxb. and its active principles. Chem Pharm Bull 39(9):2353-2356.

10 ANATASAN V, 1982 A pharmacological study of plai (Zingiber casumunar Roxb.) water extract on smooth muscles (section II). J Natl Res Counc Thailand 14:1-2.

11 MASUDA T, JITOE A, 1994 Antioxidative and antiinflammatory compounds from tropical gingers: Isolation, structure determination, and activities of cassumunins A, B, and C, new complex curcuminoids from Zingiber cassumunar. J Agric Food Chem 42(9):1850-1856.

12 MOKKHASMIT M, SWATDIMONGKOL K, SATRAWAHA P, 1971 Study on toxicity of Thai medicinal plants. Bull Dept Med Sci 12(2-4):36-65.

13 KIATYINGUNGSULEE N, WANGMAD M, SWASDIMONGKOL K, MOKKHASMIT M, 1979 Some pharmacological studies of active constituents in plai (Zingiber cassumunar Roxb.). Bull Dept Med Sci 21(1):13-25.

14 UNGSURUNGSIE M, SUTHIENKUL O, PAOVALO C, 1982 Mutagenicity screening of popular Thai spices. Food Chem Toxicol 20(5):527-530.

15 MURAKAMI A, KONDO A, NAKAMURAY, OHIGASHI H, KOSHIMIZU K, 1993 Possible anti-tumor promoting properties of edible plants from Thailand, and identification of an active constituent, cardamonin, of Boesenbergia pandurata. Biosci Biotech Biochem 57(11):1971-1973.


The information provided is for educational purposes only for the benefit of the general public and health professionals. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. Since some parts of plants could be toxic, might induce side effects, or might have interactions with certain drugs, anyone intending to use them or their products must first consult with a physician or another qualified health care professional. TRAMIL has no responsibility whatsoever towards the user for any decision, action or omission made in relation to the information contained in this Pharmacopoeia.