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Zingiber cassumunar


Amomum montanum Koenig.; Cassumunar roxburghii Colla.; Zingiber luridum Salisb.; Zingiber montanum (Koenig) Sietrich.; Zingiber purpureum Rosc [1]

Vernacular Names:


Bonglai, Bangle, Bolai, Kunyit terus putih, Lampoyang kuning; Lia Betong, Tepus Merah (Iban)

English:  Bengal ginger, cassumunar ginger, Bitter ginger
Indonesia:  Banglai, Bengle, Mungle (Acheh), Bungle (Batak), Kunik Bolai (Minang), Panglai (Sunda), Pandhiyang (Madura) Panglai (Sunda), Pandhiyang (Madura), Bale (Makasar), Panini (Bugis), Unin makei (Ambon)

Phlai, puloei, wan-fai

Vietnam:  Gung do
India:  Jangliadrak, Bun-ada (Hindi); Car-puspoo (Telagu), Vanardraka (Sanskrit); Karallamu, Kadushunti, Peju, Peyu, Aardikaa,m Shringaberikaa, Adarakhi, Bana-adarakhi
French:  Gingembre marron
German:  Blockzitwer, Gelber Zitwer
Spanish:  Jengibre amargo
Puerto Rico:  Jengibre Colorado [1]

General Information


Zingiber cassumunar is a member of the Zingiberaceae family. It is an erect herb with subterranean stem called rhizome. The rhizome is jointed but much larger than Zingiber officinale, when fresh it is of deep yellow colour possessing a strong camphoraceous smell, warm, spicy and bitterish taste. The pseudo stem is made up of leave sheaths. The leaflets are bifarious, approximate, sessile on their sheaths, linear-lanceolate, deep green above; villous and paler underneath. They measure between 30-60 cm long and 7.5 cm wide. The sheaths are clothed with pungent hairs on the outside. The scapes are radical measures from 15-30 cm long, invested in several oblong, downy sheaths. The spikes are oblong in shape, strobiliform, compact, sharp-pointed, closely imbricated with numerous obovate, acuminate, greenish brown, villous bractes. The flowers are solitary, large, of pale, uniform sulphur colour. The calyx are double with smooth exterior, spathiform, tri-dentate, inserted round the base of the germ, which, as well as the inner, or proper perianth, it entirely envelopes. Inner or proper perianth, superior, one-leaved, somewhat gibbous, membraneous, three-toothed on the outside divided nearly half way down. The corola tube slender, as long as the scale of the spikel upper division of the exterior border boat-shaped, projecting over the stamen; under, two narrower and reflexed under the lip. The 3-lobed lip with lateral lobes obliquely obovate, erect; middle lobe nearly round, with apex, emarginate, and the border slightly curled. Another ending in a long subulate recurved beak. [1]

Plant Part Used

Rhizomes [1]

Chemical Constituents

Cassumunarin A, cassumunarin B, cassumunarin C, Cassumunin C, terpinen-4-ol, alpha and beta-pinene, sabinene, myrcene, terpinene, limonene, p-cymene, terpinolene, phenyl buteonic dimers, (E)-4-(3’,4’-dimethoxyphenyl)-but-3-en-l-ol [4][9][10]

Traditional Used:

The rhizome of Z. cassumunar is considered to be a carminative, stimulant and antispasmodic and is made used of in the treatment of digestive problems like diarrhoea, stomachache, flatulance and constipation. [1] In Indonesia the rhizome is chewed together with clove and the residue is rubbed over the abdomen to relieve colics in children. In Malaysia a decoction of the rhizome with pepper given orally is used instead to treat stomachache. Plain decoction of the rhizome or an infusion of it is given for constipation, diarrhoea, flatulence and as a vermifuge. [2] 

To treat hepatitis or jaundice the Indonesians use grated rhizome juice mixed with water and honey. This is given twice a day. 

Decoction or infusion of the rhizome of is also used to treat asthma and cough. 

Z. cassumunar is one of the components of a compound medicine given to women immediately after delivery. For purposes of cleansing the uterus the rhizome is pounded together with the rhizome of Acorus calamus, the juice is squeezed and mixed with vinegar. Another method of utilizing it in the immediate postpartum period is to use it as a poultice to allow rapid involution of the uterus. For post partum fever the pounded rhizome is used as a compress over the whole body. 

The genus Zingiber is well known for their anti-inflammatory property. Z. cassumunar is also used to treat all forms of inflammatory conditions. It is used to treat infective inflammatory processes like non-healing ulcers, abscesses and gonorrhoea. For non-healing ulcers the pounded rhizome is applied over the ulcer and secured with a bandage. Haematoma is treated by immersing the pounded rhizome in arrack and this is compressed over the lesion. 

To help reduce weight the rhizome is mixed with 7 leaves of Guazuma ulmifolia and the decoction is given orally while still warm. Special for women the rhizome is boiled together with the leaves of Guazuma tomentosa and is taken daily for one month. 

For improving visual acuity a decoction of the rhizome of Z. cassumunar, Curcuma domestica together with 13 Nigella sativa seeds is given orally. Infusion of the rhizome is also an antidote and is also used to treat fever. The juice from grated rhizome is also given for worm infestation, flatulance and fretfulness of children. [3] 

Pre-Clinical Data


Anti-inflammatory activity 

As cited above Z. cassumunar has been used as an anti-inflammatory drug in traditional practices all over the world. Investigators had over the years studied this activity in the rhizome and had isolated a number of compounds that had shown this activity. Three compounds isolated from the n-hexane-soluble fraction of methanol extract i.e. (E)-1-(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)but-1-ene, (E)-1-(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)butadiene and zerumbone. One compound showed the anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity of the plant and that is (E)-1-(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)but-1-ene. [4] Further studies done on (E)-1-(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)but-1-ene reported similar effects and they ilicited the mechanism of action as being due to inhibition of the CO and LO pathway; more so with the LO pathway. [5] In a more recent study on the anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity another pheylbutanoid isolated showed COX-2 inhibitory activity. The compound is (E)-4-(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)but-3-en-1-O-beta-D-glycopyranoside. [6] 

Antimicrobial activity 

Z. cassumunar rhizome is used in the treatment of infective lesion of the skin including furunculosis and abscesses. Studies on the antimicrobial activity of the essential oil on a wide range of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, dermatophytes and yeasts reported that dermatophytes were the most susceptible organism followed by yeasts and finally bacteria. [7] 

Anti-allergic activity 

In Thailand the rhizome of Z. cassumunar is used to treat various allergic-related diseases. Studies on the anti-allergic activity of some members of the Zingiberacea anf found that amongst those plants tested, the volatile oil of Z. cassumunar had amongst the highest anti-allergic activity. [8] 

Anti-oxidant activity 

Two groups of compounds were found to be responsible for anti-oxidant activity of Z. cassumunar. The yellow colour of the rhizome is attributed to the presence of curcuminoids in the substance. New curcuminoids isolated showed significant anti-oxidant activity Which are called Cassumunin and Cassumunin A and B possess a potent protective action against oxidative stress. [9] Isolation of new phenylbutanoids was discovered which showed inhibitory effects to nitric acid production in mouse peritoneal macrophages. Amongst those with significant inhibitory effects are phlain III (IC50=24 microM), (E)-1-(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)buta-1,3-diene (69 microM), (E)-1-(2,4,5-trimethoxyphenyl)buta-1,3-diene (83 microM), and cassumunaquinone 1 (47 microM). [10] 

Anticancer activity 

In a screening for anti-tumour promoter activity in Malaysian ginger, rhizome extracts of these plants including Z. cassumunar contain natural non-toxic compounds that inhibit the EBV activation. [11] A phenylbutanoid dimer (+/-)-trans-3-(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)-4-[(E)-3,4-dimethoxystyryl] cyclohex-1-ene was reported to be able to inhibit proliferation of various human cancer cells. This is further observed on anti-proliferative effects on A549 human lung cancer cells and demonstrated that it arrested cell cycle progression at the G0/G1 phase. Further studies of the effects of phenylbutanoids from Z. cassumunar on P-glycoprotein activity and reported that (+/-)-trans-3-(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)-4-[(E)-3,4-dimethoxystyryl] cyclohex-1-ene has significant ihibitory effects on P-gp inhibitory activity making it a potential chemo-sensitizing agent that could reverse the P-gp-mediated multidrug resistance (MDR) in human cancer chemotherapy. [12] 


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

No documentation

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation



No documentation

Case Reports

No documentation


  1. C. P. Khare. Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary. Berlin: Springer; 2007.733.
  2. H.C. Ong. Rempah-ratus: khasiat makanan & ubatan. Kuala Lumpur: Utusan Publications; 2008.82–83.
  3. I.F. Muhlisah. Temu- temuan & Empon-empon, Budi Daya dan Manfaatnya. Yogyakarta :Penerbit Kanisius; 1999.21-23.
  4. Y. Ozaki, N. Kawahara, M. Harada. Anti-inflammatory effect of Zingiber cassumunar Roxb. and its active principles. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). Sep1991;39(9):2353-2356.
  5. R. Jeenapongsa, K. Yoovathaworn, K.M. Sriwatanakul, U. Pongprayoon, K. Sriwatanakul. Anti-inflammatory activity of (E)-1-(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl) butadiene from Zingiber cassumunar Roxb. J Ethnopharmacol. Aug2003;87(2-3):143-148.
  6. A.R. Han, M.S. Kim, Y.H. Jeong, S.K. Lee, E.K. Seo. Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitory phenylbutenoids from the rhizomes of Zingiber cassumunar. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). Nov2005;53(11):1466-1468.
  7. P. Pithayanukul, J. Tubprasert, M. Wuthi-Udomlert. In vitro antimicrobial activity of Zingiber cassumunar (Plai) oil and a 5% Plai oil gel. Phytother Res. Feb2007;21(2):164-169.
  8. S. Tewtrakul, S. Subhadhirasakul. Anti-allergic activity of some selected plants in the Zingiberaceae family. J Ethnopharmacol. 12Feb2007;109(3):535-538.
  9. T. Nagano, Y. Oyama, N. Kajita, L. Chikahisa, M. Nakata, E. Okazaki, T. Masuda. New curcuminoids isolated from Zingiber cassumunar protect cells suffering from oxidative stress: a flow-cytometric study using rat thymocytes and H2O2. Jpn J Pharmacol. Dec1997;75(4):363-370.
  10. S. Nakamura, J. Iwami, H. Matsuda, H. Wakayama, Y. Pongpiriyadacha, M. Yoshikawa. Structures of new phenylbutanoids and nitric oxide production inhibitors from the rhizomes of Zingiber cassumunar. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). Nov2009;57(11):1267-1272.
  11. S. Vimala, A.W. Norhanom, M. Yadav. Anti-tumour promoter activity in Malaysian ginger rhizobia used in traditional medicine. Br J Cancer. Apr1999;80(1-2):110-116.
  12. S.Y. Chung, A.R. Han, M.K. Sung, H.J. Jung, J.W. Nam, E.K. Seo, H.J. Lee. Potent modulation of P-glycoprotein activity by naturally occurring phenylbutenoids from Zingiber cassumunar. Phytother Res. Apr2009;23(4):472-476.

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