Torch ginger proven benefits and uses

Other scientific names Common names
Phaoemeria magnifica (Roscoe) K. Schuman Pink ginger bud (Engl.)
Phaoemeria speciosa (Blume) Koord. Pink torch ginger (Engl.)
Eletaria speciosa Blume Xiang bao Jiang (Chin.)
Nicolaia elatior (JackHoraninaw Torch ginger (Engl.)
Ginger flower (Engl.)
Red ginger lily (Engl.)
Antorcha rosada (Span.)

Torch ginger is robust and erect herb, growing to 5 meters. The flowering stalk is separate from the leafy stem. The leaves are distichous, up to 1.5 m long. Flower head is large and surrounded by large, red, involucrate bracts.

Distribution of pink torch ginger

Found near ravines and lakes in Mindanao.

Grown ornamentally in gardens.

Parts utilized


Properties and constituents of pink torch ginger

Bitter and acrid.

Aperient and resolvent.

Expectorant, deobstruant, carminative.

Culinary uses of pink torch ginger

For culinary use, the young and tight buds.

Gives spice and color to curries, fish soups, stir-fried veggies and salads.

Fruit is extremely sour and edible

Flower used in Southeast Asia for cooking, in salds and as soup garnish.

Scientific studies on health uses and benefits of pink torch ginger

Antioxidative Constituents:

Phytochemical studies on the rhizomes of Etlingera elatior isolated compounds found to inhibit lipid peroxidation in a more potent manner than a-tocopherol.

Antimicrobial / Cytotoxic:

A study on the ethanol extracts of 19 Malaysian traditional vegetables (ulam) for antimicrobial and cytotoxic activities. Etlingera elatior showed antimicrobial activity and cytotoxic activity against human cervical carcinoma cell line.

Antioxidant / Antibacterial:

Methanolic extracts from the fresh leaves of Etlingera species were screened for total phenolic content, antioxidant and antibacterial activity. Significant antioxidant activity was found in the leaves of E. elatior; total phenolic content and antioxidant activity were highest in the leaves, followed by inflorescences and rhizomes. Leaves of Etlingera species exhibited antibacterial activity against Gram-positive bacteria.

Volatile Oils:

The major components identified in the oils of inflorescence and inflorescence axis of E. elatior were dodecanol, dodecanal and a-pinene.

Volatile Oils:

Phytochemical study showed the essential oils depended on the part of the paltn studied–sesquiterpenes hydrocarbons were highest with the essential oils of the leaves; in the stems and rhizomes, oxygenated monoterpene derivatives; in the flowers, monoterpene hydrocarbons.


Study of 12 Thai medicinal plants for anti-fungal potential showed the flower buds of E elatior demonstrated high inhibitory activity against C gloeosporioides mycelial growth and suggests a potential for the control of anthracnose diseases.



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