Boesenbergia rotunda (L.) Mansf.

Last updated: 01 Oct 2015

Scientific Name

Boesenbergia rotunda (L.) Mansf. 


Boesenbergia cochinchinensis (Gagnep.) Loes, Boesenbergia pandurata (Roxb.) Schltr, Curcuma rotunda L., Gastrochilus panduratus (Roxb.) Ridl, Gastrochilus rotundus (L.), Alston Kaempferia cochinchinensis Gagnep, Kaempferia ovata Roscoe, Kaempferia pandurata Roxb. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Temu kunci [2], tamu kinchi, temu chunchi [3], tamoe koentji, toemae kontji, temu kunchi [4]
English Chinese keys [2], Chinese ginger, Chinese key, finger root, Thai ginger [3], galingale, lesser ginger, tropical crocus [4]
China Ao chun jiang [3], soh shi [4]
India Canda, manja-kua [3], chekkur [4]
Indonesia Temu kunci (Indonesian); tumbu konci (Moluccas) [2], anipa waking, aruhu konci, dumu kunci, ene sitale, konce, koncih, rutu kakusi, sun, tamputi, temmo konce, temu konci, temu kuntji, uni nowo, ni rawu [3]
Thailand Krachai (General); ka-aen (Northern); wan-phraathit (Bangkok) [2]; cgee-puu, kraa chai, poh see, poh-so-roh, ra aen,
Laos Kas'a:y, nè:ngx kiengz [2]
Cambodia Khchiëy [2]
Vietnam B[oof]ng nga tru[aaj]t, c[ur] ng[ar]I [2], ngai num kho [4]
France Petits doigts [2]

Geographical Distributions

Boesenbergia rotunda is distributed from China to Malesia: China (South Yunnan), Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, Lao PDR, Cambodia, India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. However, it is often cultivated and has naturalized in some areas. [5]

Botanical Description

B. rotunda is a member of the Zingiberaceae family. It is a rhizomatous herbaceous plant. The leafy shoots are short, each with 3 or 4 leaves with bladeless red sheaths at the base. [4]

The leaf blade measures 28 cm by 10 cm, slightly asymmetric, elliptic, shortly pointed, base cuneate, the midrib at least slightly hairy beneath; petioles measuring 5-12 cm long, slightly winged, channelled; lingual-lobes broadly triangular, about 5 mm long; sheaths with thin edge decurrent from the lingual, the longest sheath is about 12-15 cm long. [4]

The inflorescence is completely enclosed by the leaf sheaths except the extreme tip of the bracts. The bracts are about 4.2 cm long and 4 mm wide, green in colour. The bracteoles are as long as the bracts and about as wide. The calyx with ovary is about 1.8 cm long. The corolla tube is about 6 cm long with lobes 1.5 cm long and pink in colour. The lip is about 2.5 cm long, not deeply saccate, apex reflexed and slightly bilobed, coloured a deeper pink than the petals and staminodes. The stamen is about 1 cm long. The anther about 0.5 cm, with short narrow reflexed bilobed crest. [4]


This species is a rhizome geophyte which grows in humid forest and deciduous forest. It is cultivated throughout Indo-China. Zingiberaceae species grow naturally in damp, shaded parts of the low-land or on hill slopes, as scattered plants or thickets. [5]

Chemical Constituent

Methanol extract of B. rotunda dried rhizomes has been reported to contain prenylcalcones (e.g. (+)-krachaizin A, (-)-krachaizin A, (+)-krachaizin B, and (-)-krachaizin B), prenylflavanones (e.g. rotundaflavones Ia, rotundaflavones Ib, rotundaflavones IIa, and rotundaflavones IIb), (+)-panduratin A, (-)-panduratin A, (+)-4-hydroxypanduratin A, (-)-4-hydroxypanduratin A, (+)-isopanduratin A, (-)-isopanduratin A, pinocembrin, pinostrobin, alpinetin, 7,4’-dihydroxy-5-methoxyflavanone, 5,7-dihydroxy-8-geranylflavanone, 7-methoxy-5-hydroxy-8-geranylflavanone, cardamonin, 2,6-dihydroxy-4-methoxydihydrochalcone, 2,4-dihydroxy-6-phenethylbenzoic acid methyl ester, geranyl-2,4-dihydroxy-6-phenylbenzoate, 5,6-dehydrokawain, and geraniol. [6]

Plant Part Used

Rhizome and roots. [4]

Traditional Use

B. rotunda is considered hot herb like other members of the Zingiberaceae family. Being native of Southeast Asia, it is used widely in the region as spice and also as medicine. The main parts used of B. pandurata are rhizome and roots, while the mildly aromatic leaves used in the treatment of skin diseases. [4]

The extract of B. rotunda also used in gastrointestinal conditions such as diarrhoea, dysentery, dyspepsia and gastritis [7][8][9]. The decoctions of the leaves are given for treatment of food poisoning and allergic reactions to food [4].

As a spice, the rhizome functions as an antiflatulance, digestives and anthelmintic [9]. In order to treat oral thrush and mouth ulcers, the fresh rhizome is chewed on. The liquid extracts of B. rotunda is kept in the mouth for a while and then swallowed [7][8]. To treat round worm using this plant, the Indonesians take orally by mixed the pounded rhizome with coconut milk and sulphur powder [4]

The rhizome also has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties by using it in the treatment of various skin infections including ringworm, impetigo, and abscesses [7]. For ringworm, the rhizome and the leaves of B. rotunda is made into a paste and it is applied over the lesion [8]. It is also useful in the treatment of rheumatism and malaria [7]. The diuretic property of the rhizome is useful in the treatment of urinary tract diseases including infection of the bladder [7][8].

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Boesenbergia rotunda (L.) Mansf. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 26; cited 2015 Oct 01]. Available from
  2. Ibrahim H, Nugroho A.  Boesenbergia rotunda (L.) Mansfeld. In: de Guzman CC, Siemonsma JS, editors. Plant resources of South-East Asia No 13: Spices. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publication, 1999; p. 83-85.
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms and etymology. Volume I A-B. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 617.
  4. Seidemaan J. World spice plants: Economy usage, botany, taxonomy. New York, USA: Springer, 2005; p. 67
  5. Encyclopedia of Life. Boesenbergia rotunda. Rotund Boesenbergia. [homepage on the Internet]. No date [cited 2015 Nov 24]. Available from:
  6. Morikawa T, Funakoshi K, Ninomiya K, et al. Medicinal foodstuffs. XXXIV. Structures of new prenylchalcones and prenylflavanones with TNF-alpha and aminopeptidase N inhibitory activities from Boesenbergia rotunda. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2008;56(7):956-962.
  7. Rukmana HR. Temu-temuan, apotek hidup di pekarangan. Yogyakarta: Kanisius, 2004; p.19
  8. Fauziah M. Temu-temuan & empon-empon, budi daya dan manfaatnya. Jakarta: Kanisius, 1999; p. 67.
  9. Pierce Salguero C. A Thai herbal – Traditional recipe for health and harmony. Scotland: Findhorn Press Foress, 2003; p. 100.