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Curcuma comosa Roxb.


No documentation

Vernacular Names

Malaysia                Kunyit Tok Bidan
Thailand Wan Cha Motluk  [13]

General Information


Curcuma comosa is a member of the Zingiberaceae family. The rhizome of this plant is huge, oval with no minimal branching. The cut surface is about pale orchraceous colour. It has numerous tuberous roots which penetrate deep into the ground. The leaves are very large sometime reaching up to 2 m inclusive of petiole and sheath. The leaves are generally uniform green, except for those appearing first in the season where a faint reddish cloud from the middle up to the center of the upper surface can be noticed. The spikes are lateral, appearing before the leaves. They are short-scaped, large and clavate; fertile bracts are pale pink; coma is copious and rosy red. The flowers are numerous with the exterior border of the corolla pink and the interior yellow. [1]

Plant Part Used


Chemical Constituents

(3S)-1-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)-7-phenyl-(6E)-6-hepten-3-ol; 1(10)Z,4Z-furanodiene-6-one; 7-(3,4 dihydroxyphenyl)-5-hydroxy-1-phenyl-(1E)-1-heptene; 1,7-diphenyl-4(E),6(E)-heptadien-3-ol;  (3R)-1,7-diphenyl-(4E,6E)-4,6-heptadien-3-ol; 7 α-hydroxyneocurdione; 7 β-hydroxycurdione; 13-hydroxygermacrone; aerugidiol; alismol; alismoxide; (+)-comosols; (-)-comosols; comosone I; comosone II; comosone III; comososide; comosoxide A; comosoxide B; curcumenone; curcumadione; curzerenone; curcolonol; curdione; dehydrocurdione; dimethoxycurcumenone; furanodienone; glechomanolide; germacrone-1(10),4-diepoxide; germacrone; isofuranodienone; isozedoarondiol; isoprocurcumenol; neocurdione; procurcumenol; zederone; zederone epoxide, zedoalactone B; zedoarondiol. [2] [3] [4] [20] [23]

Traditional Uses

Traditionally in Thailand, the rhizome of C. comosa has been used to treat women after childbirth for uterine bleeding and uterine inflammation, and also women in the perimenopausal stage of their lives. [9]

Preclinical Data


Lipid metabolism activity

The ethyl acetate extract of the rhizome of Curcuma comosa was found to significantly affect lipid metabolism in mice and hamsters. In both animals the extract was found to have the ability to mobilize plasma cholesterol and triglycerides into the liver resulting an increase in liver content of both cholesterol and triglycerides. It further aid in the reduction of plasma cholesterol through the excretion of cholesterol and bile salts in stools. [5] [6]

Antidiabetic activity

The hexane extract and compound 049 (1,7-diphenyl-(4E,6E)-4,6-heptadien-3-ol) proved to improve glucose and lipid metabolism in oestrogen-deprived rats. It was found that compound 049, a phyto-oestrogen,  was able to reduce serum total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein levels markedly while at the same time improved insulin sensitivity and enhanced insulin-mediated glucose uptake in skeletal muscles and increased GLUT-4 protein levels. [7]

Vasorelaxant activity

Both the hexane extract and diarylheptanoid-D3, [(3R)-1,7-diphenyl-(4E,6E)-4,6-heptadien-3-ol] isolated from C. comosa did not show any effects on intact or endothelium-denuded aortic ring. However, when preincubation for 20 minutes with either of these, it was observed that the extracts could enhanced endothelial-dependent relaxation in response to acetylcholine. The action of C. comosa was shown to be mediated through oestrogen receptor and nitric oxide (NO)-cGMP-dependent. There is also evidence that it increased the phosphorylation of serine 1177 eNOS and serine 473 Akt proteins suggesting that C. comosa acutely increases endothelium-dependent relaxation through the eoestrogen receptor (ER)-Akt-eNOS pathway. [8] [10]

Anti-inflammatory activity

A range of diarylheptanoid content of C. comosa exhibited anti-inflammatory activity as expressed by their ability to decrease the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukine-1beta. Two of them [(5-hydroxy-7-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-1-phenyl-(1E)-1-heptene and 7-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)-5-hydroxy-1-phenyl-(1E)-1-heptene)] exhibited this in phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate (PMA)-stimulated PBMC and U937 cells. On the other hand, compound 049 [(3R) 1,7-diphenyl-(4E,6E)-4,6-heptadien-3-ol]  significantly decreased LPS-induced nitric oxide and PGE(2) production in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-treated microglia, resulting in reduction in the expression of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2). This renders it useful in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases related to microglial activation. [9] [11] [12] [13]

Antiosteoporotic activity

Hexane extract of C. comosa given to ovariectomized mice were found have osteoporotic protective activity caused by estrogen deficiency. These mice were protected from loss of total bone calcium content and bone mass density in both trabecular and cortical bones. It was found that ASSP 049 (compound 049) from C. comosa induced osteoblastic cell proliferation and differentiation through ERa- and GSK-3b- dependent activation of b-catenin signaling. The data suggested that C. comosa could be the potential alternative to prevent bone loss in postmenopausal women. [14] [15]

Cognitive protective activity

Hexane extract of C. comosa showed significant protective effect on declining cognitive function, and spatial memory in ovariectomised rats. The extract was found to selectively increase the ER alpha subtype in the hippocampus suggesting that the memory changes may be related to this. The hexane extract was found to contain 0.165 mg of (4E,6E)-1,7-diphenylhepta-4,6-dien-3-one, a diarylheptanoid. [16] [17]

Hepatoprotective activity

Hexane extract of C. comosa administered to CCl4-induced liver damage inmice showed a time and dose-dependent prevention of the plasma alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST) and centrilobular necrosis elevation. This had been shown to be mediated through activation of detoxifying mechanism as well as through reduction of bioactive metabolites. Other evidences include the restoration of hepatic glutathione content, CYP2E1 catalytic activity, its mRNA and protein levels along with increased the glutathione-S-transferase (GST) activity.  [18]

Nephroprotective activity

Ethanol extract of C. comosa (200 mg/kg bw) administered orally to cisplatin-induced renal toxicity in mice for duration of four days before cisplatin injection (2.5 mg/kg bw) showed effective kidney damage protection. The results revealed that pretreatment restored the elevated blood urea nitrogen, plasma creatinine, kidney lipid peroxidation levels, and the lowered kidney gluthathione content and levels of gluthathione peroxidase activity to normal values. The extract and its isolated diarylheptanoid compound also exhibited radical scavenging activities, thus has potential as antioxidant agent. [19]

Antioxidant activity

Two diarylheptanoids (i.e. 7-(3,4 dihydroxyphenyl)-5-hydroxy-1-phenyl-(1E)-1-heptene (compound A), and 1,7-diphenyl-4(E),6(E)-heptadien-3-ol (compound B)) isolated from C. comosa exhibited antioxidant activity and protective effect  against oxidative stress H2O2-induced human retinal pigment epithelial (APRE-19) cell death. LC50 of compound A (30.46 ± 0.40 µg/mL) and compound B (22.75 ± 0.37 µg/mL) for ARPE-19 cells indicated that Compound A is less toxic than the later. DPPH assay showed that IC50 of compound A (39.27 ± 0.22 µM) comparable to vitamin C (30.15 ± 0.91 µM) as control.  Compound A was also found to lower H2O2-induced lipid peroxidation, malondialdehyde formation, intracellular reactive oxygen species, and ameliorate the H2O2-induced decrease in antioxidant enzyme activities and subsequent apoptotic cell death in ARPE-19 cells. These actions prove that compound A protects against oxidative stress partly by enhancing several antioxidant defense mechanisms.  [20]

Cytotoxic activity

Compound-092 [(3S)-1-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)-7-phenyl-(6E)-6-hepten-3-ol], a catecol moiety bearing diaryhheptanoid, was found to be the most potent amongst 5 investigated compounds from rhizome of C. comosa, to inhibit the growth of murine P388 leukemic cells. It causes DNA breakage and induced apoptosis by increasing caspase-3 activity, decreasing the intracellular reduced glutathione level, and imparing mitochondrial transmambrane potential. [21]

Oestrogenic activity

A number of diaryheptanoid compounds isolated from the C. comosa rhizome exhibited strong oestrogenic activity comparable to the phytoestrogen genistein. The most potent compound was (3R)-1,7-diphenyl-(4E,6E)-4,6-heptadien-3-ol, with a relative potency of 4% compared to 17beta-estradiol. It was found that only diarylheptanoids that showing full oestrogenic efficiency in vitro were able to elicit the uterotrophic activity in immature ovariectomized rat. [22] [23]


No documentation

Teratogenic effects

No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

No documentation

Age Limitations

Neonates / Adolescents

No documentation


No documentation

Chronic Disease Conditions

No documentation


Interactions with drugs

Diabetics should use this plant with caution. The antidiabetic activity may potentiate the actions of anti-diabetic drugs with potentials of causing hypoglycaemic event. [7]

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation



No documentation

Case Reports

No documentation


  1. Roxburgh W. Description of several of the Monandrous plants of India, belonging to the natural order called Scitamineae by Linnaeus, Cannae by Jussieu, and Drimyrhizae by Ventenat in Asiatick Researches Volume 11 Hindoostanes Press 1810, pg. 336 – 337
  2. Qu Y, Xu F, Nakamura S, Matsuda H, Pongpiriyadacha Y, Wu L, Yoshikawa M. Sesquiterpenes from Curcuma comosa. J Nat Med. 2009 Jan;63(1):102-4. Epub 2008 Jul 29.
  3. Nakamura S, Qu Y, Xu F, Matsuda H, Yoshikawa M. Structures of new monoterpenes from Thai herbal medicine Curcuma comosa. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2008 Nov;56(11):1604-6.
  4. Xu F, Nakamura S, Qu Y, Matsuda H, Pongpiriyadacha Y, Wu L, Yoshikawa M. Structures of new sesquiterpenes from Curcuma comosa. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2008 Dec;56(12):1710-6.
  5. Piyachaturawat P, Teeratagolpisal N, Toskulkao C, Suksamrarn A. Hypolipidemic effect of Curcuma comosa in mice. Artery. 1997;22(5):233-41.
  6. Piyachaturawat P, Charoenpiboonsin J, Toskulkao C, Suksamrarn A. Reduction of plasma cholesterol by Curcuma comosa extract in hypercholesterolaemic hamsters. J Ethnopharmacol. 1999 Aug;66(2):199-204.
  7. Prasannarong M, Saengsirisuwan V, Piyachaturawat P, Suksamrarn A. Improvements of insulin resistance in ovariectomized rats by a novel phytoestrogen from Curcuma comosa Roxb. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 Mar 30;12:28.
  8. Intapad S, Suksamrarn A, Piyachaturawat P. Enhancement of vascular relaxation in rat aorta by phytoestrogens from Curcuma comosa Roxb. Vascul Pharmacol. 2009 Oct;51(4):284-90. Epub 2009 Aug 6.
  9. Jantaratnotai N, Utaisincharoen P, Piyachaturawat P, Chongthammakun S, Sanvarinda Y. Inhibitory effect of Curcuma comosa on NO production and cytokine expression in LPS-activated microglia. Life Sci. 2006 Jan 2;78(6):571-7. Epub 2005 Aug 16.
  10. Intapad S, Saengsirisuwan V, Prasannarong M, Chuncharunee A, Suvitayawat W, Chokchaisiri R, Suksamrarn A, Piyachaturawat P. Long-term effect of phytoestrogens from Curcuma comosa Roxb. on vascular relaxation in ovariectomized rats. J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Jan 25;60(3):758-64. Epub 2012 Jan 12.
  11. Sodsai A, Piyachaturawat P, Sophasan S, Suksamrarn A, Vongsakul M. Suppression by Curcuma comosa Roxb. of pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion in phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate stimulated human mononuclear cells. Int Immunopharmacol. 2007 Apr;7(4):524-31. Epub 2007 Jan 26.
  12. Thampithak A, Jaisin Y, Meesarapee B, Chongthammakun S, Piyachaturawat P, Govitrapong P, Supavilai P, Sanvarinda Y. Transcriptional regulation of iNOS and COX-2 by a novel compound from Curcuma comosa in lipopolysaccharide-induced microglial activation. Neurosci Lett. 2009 Sep 22;462(2):171-5. Epub 2009 Jul 5.
  13. Charoenwanthanang P, Lawanprasert S, Phivthong-Ngam L, Piyachaturawat P, Sanvarinda Y, Porntadavity S. Effects of Curcuma comosa on the expression of atherosclerosis-related cytokine genes in rabbits fed a high-cholesterol diet. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Apr 12;134(3):608-13. Epub 2011 Jan 11.
  14. Weerachayaphorn J, Chuncharunee A, Mahagita C, Lewchalermwongse B, Suksamrarn A, Piyachaturawat P. A protective effect of Curcuma comosa Roxb. on bone loss in estrogen deficient mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Sep 2;137(2):956-62. Epub 2011 Jul 6.
  15. Bhukhai K, Suksen K, Bhummaphan N, Janjorn K, Thongon N, Tantikanlayaporn D, Piyachaturawat P, Suksamrarn A, Chairoungdua A. A phytoestrogen diarylheptanoid mediates ER/Akt/GSK-3β-dependent activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. J Biol Chem. 2012 Aug 30. [Epub ahead of print]
  16. Su J, Sripanidkulchai K, Wyss JM, Sripanidkulchai B. Curcuma comosa improves learning and memory function on ovariectomized rats in a long-term Morris water maze test. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Jul 6;130(1):70-5. Epub 2010 Apr 24.
  17. Su J, Sripanidkulchai B, Sripanidkulchai K, Piyachaturawat P, Wara-Aswapati N. Effect of Curcuma comosa and estradiol on the spatial memory and hippocampal estrogen receptor in the post-training ovariectomized rats. J Nat Med. 2011 Jan;65(1):57-62. Epub 2010 Sep 3.
  18. Weerachayaphorn J, Chuncharunee A, Jariyawat S, Lewchalermwong B, Amonpatumrat S, Suksamrarn A, Piyachaturawat P. Protection of centrilobular necrosis by Curcuma comosa Roxb. in carbon tetrachloride-induced mice liver injury. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 May 27;129(2):254-60. Epub 2010 Apr 1.
  19. Jariyawat S, Kigpituck P, Suksen K, Chuncharunee A, Chaovanalikit A, Piyachaturawat P. Protection against cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity in mice by Curcuma comosa Roxb. ethanol extract. J Nat Med. 2009 Oct;63(4):430-6. Epub 2009 Jun 18.
  20. Jitsanong T, Khanobdee K, Piyachaturawat P, Wongprasert K. Diarylheptanoid 7-(3,4 dihydroxyphenyl)-5-hydroxy-1-phenyl-(1E)-1-heptene from Curcuma comosa Roxb. protects retinal pigment epithelial cells against oxidative stress-induced cell death. Toxicol In Vitro. 2011 Feb;25(1):167-76. Epub 2010 Oct 31.
  21. Jariyawat S, Thammapratip T, Suksen K, Wanitchakool P, Nateewattana J, Chairoungdua A, Suksamrarn A, Piyachaturawat P. Induction of apoptosis in murine leukemia by diarylheptanoids from Curcuma comosa Roxb. Cell Biol Toxicol. 2011 Dec;27(6):413-23. doi: 10.1007/s10565-011-9196-4. Epub 2011 Jul 16.
  22. Suksamrarn A, Ponglikitmongkol M, Wongkrajang K, Chindaduang A, Kittidanairak S, Jankam A, Yingyongnarongkul BE, Kittipanumat N, Chokchaisiri R, Khetkam P, Piyachaturawat P. Diarylheptanoids, new phytoestrogens from the rhizomes of Curcuma comosa: Isolation, chemical modification and estrogenic activity evaluation. Bioorg Med Chem. 2008 Jul 15;16(14):6891-902. Epub 2008 May 28.
  23. Winuthayanon W, Suksen K, Boonchird C, Chuncharunee A, Ponglikitmongkol M, Suksamrarn A, Piyachaturawat P. Estrogenic activity of diarylheptanoids from Curcuma comosa Roxb. Requires metabolic activation. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Feb 11;57(3):840-5.

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