In this day and age, much attention is drawn towards the regular use of plants, herbs and spices in an attempt to benefit from all their medicinal, therapeutic and culinary attributes. There are countless of these beneficial nature's gifts but the question is how often do you bother to tap into them?
There is a great need for us to know about these essential plants, herbs and spices as they are quite useful for preventing and treating several diseases. This post sheds light on some important information you definitely need to know about one of these beneficial plants known as fingerroot. Fingerroot, which is botanically known as Boesenbergia rotunda, Curcuma rotunda L., Kaempferia pandurata Roxb., B. pandurata or Gastrochilus panduratum RIDL. and popularly known as Chinese ginger, temu kunci, Chinese keys or lesser galangal is a culinary and medicinal herb from Asia.
Different countries have different names for the fingerroot for example, the Manipuri people call it Yai-macha, Indonesian people call it temu kunci, Thai people call it krà.tɕʰāːj, krachai or กระชาย, Thai ginseng while the Cambodians call it Khmer: ខ្ជាយ or k'cheay. Fingerroot is from the Zingiberaceae or ginger family that comprises of more than 1300 species of spicy perennial herbs with creeping horizontal and tuberous rhizomes. The word fingerroot is attributed to its similar shape with multiple fingers meeting at a central point. It is a excellent source of flavonoid compounds and essential oils that have been reported highly valuable due to its pharmacological and biological properties such as anti-oxidizing, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antimicrobial, anti-cancer and antibacterial. Due to these essential properties of this rhizome, it is normally used for treating various ailments and diseases.
Nutritional Value of Fingerroot
Fingerroot is an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals such as sodium, potassium, dietary fiber, iron, vitamin C, flavonoids, prenyl and essential oils (EOs).
Benefits of Fingerroot
Treatment of Gastrointestinal Diseases
Due to the efficacy of fingerroot, this rhizome is used in folk medicine for treating gastrointestinal diseases such as stomach ache, diarrhoea, flatulence, dyspepsia and colic disorder. Pimpinella anisum (anise) and fingerroot can be blended together and used for treating constipation and bloating. It is also effective for strengthening the stomach. Fingerroot is carminative in nature and has been proven effective for preventing formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tracts. It also helps to expel gas from the intestinal tracts thus combating flatulence. Antiviral Properties
Fingerroot is antiviral in nature and as such very effective for tackling viruses such as cough, chest infections, cold and asthma. For treating these viruses, chew slices of fingerroot together with areca catechu nuts.
This rhizome can be combined with Pimpinella anisum (anise) and used as a diuretic for children. Diuretics promote easy passage of urine.
Fingerroot is anti-anthelmintic in nature and as such very effective for expelling parasitic worms. The rhizome can be blended together with coconut milk and used for destroying and expelling helminths. The extract of fingerroot is effective against protozoan parasites, roundworms, Giardia intestinalis, Entamoeba histolytica.
Fingerroot contains anti-inflammatory properties and as such very effective for treating rheumatism, muscle pain, gout and arthritic pain. It is also used traditionally for reducing inflammation in women’s uterus.
Treatment of Vaginal Infection
The rhizomes of Boesenbergia rotunda, when combined with other herbs and spices can be used for treating vaginal infections. Vaginal infection is a common female condition caused by fungus candida, yeast, STDs, bacteria and hygiene products etc. Symptoms include swelling, rashes, itching and inflammation. Fingerroot is also used for treating leukorrhea, which is marked by yellowish or whitish discharge of mucus from the vagina.
Preparation of Jamu Herbal Medicine
Fingerroot is used specially for preparing a popular Indonesian herbal medicine known as Jamu. Jamu is prepared mainly from raw materials such as plants leaves, seeds, roots, bark, fruits, flowers, honey, ayam kampung eggs, royal jelly and milk. Jamu is also used by Indonesian women after childbirth for strengthening their uterus.
This rhizome is effective for dental care and as such can be used for tackling dental caries (tooth decay, cavities), mouth odor, denture stomatitis, mouth irritation, tooth and gum diseases. Fingerroot is also used for treating halitosis (fetor oris or bad breath), which is a condition characterized by noticeable unpleasant odour when exhaling breath. This is usually caused by the odour from the stomach, oesophagus, tonsil and nose.
Fingerroot can be used as used as an antiseptic for treating and healing wounds. Antiseptics help to prevent infections as well as help to retard or stop the growth of microorganisms or germs.
Fingerroot is known for its strong antibacterial properties and as such effective for tackling bacteria.
Researchers reveal that the methanol extract of fingerroot and its bioactive compounds showed protective effect on in vivo gastric ulceration induced by ethanol in rats. The gastric mucus contents were increased thus reducing the area of gastric ulcer formation and inhibiting leukocytes infiltration on the gastric wall. Fingerroot is effective for treating peptic ulcer.
Fingerroot is an aphrodisiac thus helps to stimulate sexual urge. It is used mainly in Thailand for stimulating sexual desires.
Fingerroot leaves are used for reducing the effects of food allergies and poisoning.
Aqueous extracts of fingerroot contain antimicrobial properties and as such effective for inhibiting the growth of foodborne pathogens such as E. coli.
Cooked food and processed food products contain mutagens that can cause genetic mutation thereby leading to chromosomal and DNA damages. This eventually leads to cancer risks. Researchers reveal that fingerroot contains antimutagenic effects.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths all over the world. Regardless the extensive studies on this subject, researchers are still facing challenges in unravelling a successful solution. However, researchers are presently diversifying into the use of plants and herbs as a potential solution for anticancer drugs invention. Fingerroot and Zingiber aromaticum have been reported effective for inhibiting MCF-7 breast cancer.
Antileukemia Properties Fingerroot is antileukemic in nature and as such have been proven effective for counteracting the effects of leukaemia. The extracts of the rhizome can be used for treating one or more types of leukaemia.
Anti-fungal Properties Fingerroot contains antifungal properties and as such its chloroform extract have been proven to inhibit the spread of Candida species such as Microsporum gypseum and Candida neoformans. It is also important to note that individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS are susceptible to fungal infections such as Candidiasis and this suggests why the rhizome is used highly in Thailand by HIV/AIDS patients.
Anti-foot-and-mouth disease virus (Anti-FMDV)
In Thailand, fingerroot is used in folk medicine as an anti-foot-and-mouth disease virus. The foot and mouth disease virus (FMDV) is caused by a picornavirus, which is sensitive to acids. It can be inactivated by exposure to low pH conditions.
Wound Healing Properties
Fingerroot contains bioactive compounds that can inhibit, alleviate or treat several diseases. The ethanolic extracts of fingerroot have been proven effective for speeding up wound healing. Studies reveal that wounds dressed with fingerroot extract and intrasite gel heal very fast. Moreover, healed wounds dressed with fingerroot extract show little or no scar as well as contain more collagen with angiogenesis and less inflammatory cells.
Acts as a Febrifuge
Fingerroot acts as a febrifuge and as such used for preparing herbal medicines for reducing fever and cold.
Fingerroot is very aromatic and as such used in different cuisines for cooking assorted dishes such kaeng tai pla, kroeung pastes, porridges, stews and soups. Fingerroot helps to boost appetite.
This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnosis and treatments. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.
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