Tagbak is a stout herbaceous plant, growing
to a height of 2 to 4 meters, with stout rootstocks. Stems are
swollen at the base, and leafy throughout. Leaves are leathery,
spreading or reflexed, oblong-ovate to lanceolate, 25 to 60 centimeters
long, 5 to 20 centimeters wide, with a pointed tip. Petioles are short
and stout. Inflorescence is about 30 centimeters long, the base of
the peduncle having oblong-lanceolate, chartaceous, 8 to 12 centimeters
long bracts. The branches are about 8, scattered, spreading,
stout, about 5 centimeters long, covered with persistent bracts, each
branch bearing several to many flowers, opening one at a time. Calyx
is about 4 centimeters long. Corolla is pale straw-colored, about 7 centimeters long, with the tube cylindric, and the upper lobe about 4 centimeters long, concave, and erect, while the other two are as long but are reflexed and oblong-ovate. Lip is about as long as the corolla-lobes, and spreading. Capsule is ellipsoid, woody and 3 to 4 centimeters long, split into
3 valves and crowned by a persistent calyx.
- In thickets along streams, at low and medium altitudes in Apayao, Amburayan, Lepanto, Nueva Viscaya, Pampanga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Rizal, Laguna, Quezon, and Sorsogon Provinces in Luzon; in Polilio; in Mindanao; and Leyte.
- Endemic species.
- A study for repellent constituents yielded α-pinene, α-terpinene, ß-phellandrene, linalool, ß-pinene, p-cymene, camphene, 1,8,cineole, and citronellol. (see study below) (4)
- Studies suggest repellent and antimicrobial properties.
Rhizomes, leaves, stems.
- Fruit rind is edible, a little woody in texture. (3)
- Decoction of rhizomes used for hemoptysis.
- Pounded leaves, mixed with a little salt rubbed on paralyzed extremities.
- Juice from macerated young stems used for urticaria.
- Reported use for muskuloskeletal diseases in the Surigao del Sur mountain range. (5)
Studies on the antimicrobial properties of Zingiber purpureum Rosc.
and Kolowratia elegans Presl. (Family Zingiberaceae) (1)
• Pacovatinins A-C::
Study isolated three new labdane diterpenoids, pacovatinins A-C from the seeds of the Brazilian plant Renealmia exaltata.
• Renealtins A and B:
Study isolated two new diarylheptanoids, renealtins A and B from the seeds of R exaltata.
• Repellent: Study investigated the mechanism for reduced green leaf hopper population in rice fields with tagbak (Alpinia elegans). Results showed N. virescnes, an important vector of tungro, was repelled by the odors released from the leaf discs of tagbak. The repellent chemicals were the green leafhopper were α-pinene, α-terpinene, ß-phellandrene, linalool, ß-pinene, p-cymene, camphene, 1,8,cineole, and citronellol. Results suggest tagbak can be used to reduce dependence of synthetic insecticides, an alternative pest management strategy in organic and low-input rice production. (4)
• Mosquito Repellent / Leaves: Study evaluated the efficacy of a crude extract of leaves of Alpinia elegains against Aedes aegypti. (6)