Langkauas na pula is a tall, leafy, perennial
herb, growing to 2 to 3 meters tall. Stems are reed-like, 0.4 to 1 meters high.
Leaves are lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 60 to 70 centimeters long, 8 to 10 centimeters
wide, smooth on both sides with hairy margins. Inflorescence is nodding
and about 30 centimeters long. White calyx is subcampanulate, about 1.8 centimeters long.
Corolla tube is white and about 3 centimeters long; the red lobes are broadly
elliptic, and about 3 centimeters long. Lip is broad, ovate and about 4 centimeters long,
yellow with red striations and dots. Capsule is somewhat spherical,
about 2 centimeters in diameter, and reddish.
- Cultivated for ornamental purposes in gardens.
- Not a native of the Philippines.
- Also occurs in China, Japan.
- Cultivated in other warm countries.
- The main constituents of the volatile oil from the leaves are d-camphor
(30%) and d-camphene (17%), with lineol and limonene in smaller amounts.
- Seeds contain 0.51% essential oils comprised of monoterpenoids, oxygenated
monoterpenoids, sesquiterpenoids, oxygenated sesquiterpenoids, aldehydes,
acid and esters.
- Preliminary screening of rhizomes and leaves yielded volatile oils and flavonoids. GC-MS yielded 1,8-cineole and terpinen-4-ol as major compounds in the essential oil of leaves and rhizomes respectively. (25)
- Alpinia zerumbet is aromatic
in all its parts.
- Considered analgesic, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-platelet, antispasmodic, diuretic, hypotensive, muscle relaxant, uterine stimulant.
- Rhizome considered abortifacient.
- Studies have suggested antioxidant, hypolipidemic, antihypertensive, antinociceptive, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-psychotic, vasorelaxant properties.
Edibility / Nutrition
leaves are used as wrappers in cooking rice.
In Malaysia, the pith
of the young stem near the rhizome is commonly eaten.
of leaves used as bath and wash in fevers.
• In Brazilian
folk medicine, used as decoctions and infusions for intestinal and cardiovascular
disease – as a diuretic, antihypertensive, antiulcerogenic.
/ Cardiovascular Effects / Essential Oil: Study
showed the intravenous treatment with the essential oil of A zerumbet
and its main constituent terpine-4-ol in the experimental hypertensive
rat dose dependently decreased blood pressure giving further support to a previous hypothesis
of its hypotensive effect partially attributable to the actions terpenene-4-ol. (2)
• Antinociceptive / Essential Oil:
Study showed the
essential oil of Alpinia zerumbet promoted a dose-dependent antinociceptive
effect through a mechanism that probably involves the participation
of opiate receptors. (3)
Nerve Effect: Study
of the essential oil of AZ on rat sciatic nerve showed significantly
reduced compound action potential. (4)
/ Lipid Benefits: Study
showed the high contents of rutin, quercetin and polyphenolics in ethanolic
extract of AZ seeds exhibited moderate antilipoperoxidative and potent
DPPH free radical scavenging activities. Both seed powder and seed oil
are effective hypolipidemics with potent HDL-C elevating capabilities
and offers a promising lipid-benefiting plant medicine.
/ Kava Pyrones: Study
yielded flavonoids and kava pyrones. The flavonoids rutin, kaempferol-3-0-rutino-side,
kaempferol-3-O-glucuronide, (+)-catechin (-)-epicatechin are
substances known to contribute hypotensive, diuretic and anti-ulcer
activity while the kava pyrones have been attributed antiulcer and antithrombotic
benefits. These compounds may explain the use of the plant in the treatment
of hypertension. (6)
/ Vasodilator: Study
showed chronic administration of AZ induced significant reduction of systolic, mean, and diastolic arterial pressure in rats with DOCA-salt hypertension. The vasodilator effect is probably dependent on the activation of NO-cGMP pathway. The results provide experimental support for its use as an antihypertensive medicinal plant. (9)
• DK / Effect on Skin Diseases-Related Enzymes / Antioxidant: Study isolated 5,6-dehydrokawain (DK), dihydro-5,6-dehydrokawain (DDK) and 8(17),12-labdadiene-15,16-dial (labdadiene) from the rhizomes. DK showed higher inhibitory activities on DPPH, ABTS, and PMS-NADH scavenging assays. DK can be used as a potent inhibitor against enzymes responsible for skin diseases. (13)
/ Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) Inhibitors: Study
evaluated the inhibitory activities on fructosamine adduct and a-dicarbonyl formulations by hexane extracts. Labdadiene, isolated for the first time from the rhizomes, showed to be a potent antiglycation agent that inhibits AGEs, with the potential to prevent glycation-associated complications in diabetes. (14)
• Veterinary Larvicidal
/ Gastrointestinal Nematodes: Study
showed dose-dependent effect inhibitory activity on Haemonchus contortus larvae hatching and exsheathing. (15)
/ Anti-LDL Oxidation / Seeds: Study of acetone extracts from different plant parts were evaluated for its inhibitory activity on atherosclerosis in vitro. The seed extract showed the strongest activity against tyrosinase, pancreatic lipase, 15-lipoxygenase and LDL oxidation activities. Most of the extracts showed partial agonistic properties towards estrogenic activity. (16)
• Antipsychotic / Antioxidant: Study evaluated the antipsychotic, hypnotic, myorelaxant, and antioxidant effects of essential oil on ketamine-induced hyperlocomotion in mice. Results showed prevention of hyperlocomotion, hypnotic activity, and decreased antioxidative stress. Results suggest antipsychotic and antioxidant effects with a potential for the treatment of schizophrenia. (17)
• Longevity-Extending Effects: Study of a leaf extract on Caenorhabditis elegans lifespan under both normal and stress conditions showed increased in survival rate better than quercetin. The effect was attributed to in vitro free-radical scavenging effects and up-regulation of stress-resistance proteins. Results suggest C. elegans has a potential as dietary supplements for aging and age-related diseases.(18)
• Endothelium-Dependent Vasorelaxant Effects: Study in rat-isolated aorta preparations evaluated the vasorelaxant effects of essential oils and its main constituent, 1,8-cineole (CIN). Results conclude that EOAZ induces potent vasorelaxant effect that appears totally dependent on the integrity of a functional vascular endothelium. Data supports its used in the treatment of hypertension.(19)
• Essential Oil in Fibromyalgia: Study evaluated the effects of a novel bioproduct based on essential oil of AZ on sleep quality, pain, and depression, as well as biochemical markers of disturbances in patients with fibromyalgia. EOAz promoted significant improvement in sleep, depressive symptoms, and quality of life. Results may be due to modulatory activity on serotonin levels of the patients. (21)
• DDK: Dihydro-5,6-dehydrokavain (DDK) is a major and promising component of Az (shell ginger). Study reports on its isolation and synthesis by asymmetric pathways, its simple chemical structure facilitating synthesis of DDK derivatives. Synthesized products have potential for development of commercial products, antiobesity pharmaceutical drugs, preparation of dietary supplements, and natural herbicides or fungicides. (22)
• Antibacterial / Sinusitis: Study evaluated extracts and fractions of flowers from Az against 12 bacterial pathogens associated with sinusitis. A hexane fraction showed broader activity spectrum inhibiting 10 of 12 tested bacteria specially P. gingivalis, F. nucleatum, and F necrophorum. Results showed promising antibacterial activity against bacterial responsible for acute and chronic sinusitis. (23)
• Hypolipidemic / Sinusitis: Study evaluated the hypolipidemic effect of Az angiocarps. Diets were prepared using seed powder (ASP), seed husk powder (ASH) and seed essential oil (ASO). Results showed increased fecal neutral cholesterol excretion and significant reduction of triglycerides. ASH showed greater reduction of LDL. ASO and whole powder of Az have been reported to possess hypolipidemic bioactivity. The effect is attributed to the combined effect of essential oil and the crude fiber. (24)
• Hepatoprotection / Cytotoxicity / Essential Oil: Preliminary phytochemical screening of rhizomes and leaves yielded volatile oil and flavonoids. The LC50 of aqueous extract of dried rhizome powder was more than 1000 µg/ml and a methanol extract of dried rhizome was 500-750 µg/ml. The hepatoprotective activity on monolayer hepatocytes was 100 µg/ml for aqueous extract and 25-50 µg/ml for methanolic extract. On in vitro cytotoxicity testing, an aqueous extract exerted toxicity on U937 cells at 100 µg/ml concentration while it was safe on PBMC cells; a methanolic extract was safe on both U937 and PBMC cells till 100 µg/ml concentration. (see constituents above) (25)
• Thrombolytic Activity: Study of aqueous extracts of A. zerumbet, Alpinia nigra and Urena sinuata showed43.85%, 42.83%, 26.40% thrombolytic activity and also showed 37.14%, 60.00%, 26.83% synergistic activity with streptokinase respectively. (26)
• HIV-1 Integrase and Neuraminidase Inhibitors: Study investigated the leaves and rhizomes of Alpinia zerumbet for activity against HIV-1 integrase (IN) and neuraminidase (NA). 5,6-Dehydrokawain (DK), dihydro-5,6-dehydrokawain (DDK), and 8(17),12-labdadiene-15,16-dial (labdadiene) were isolated from the rhizomes and were tested for enzyme inhibitions. Results showed Az can be a source of bioactive compounds against IN and NA, and that DK and DDK have potentials in the design of drugs against these viral diseases. (27)