Family • Zingiberaceae - Curcuma zedoaria (Berg.) Ro - ZEDOARY ROOT - Yu jin

Scientific names

Curcuma zedoaria (Christm.) Roscoe
Curcuma zedoaria (Berg.) Roscoe
Curcuma zerumbet (Berg.) Roxb.
Curcuma zerumbet (Berg.) Roxb.
Amomum zedoaria Christm.
Roscoea lutea Hassk.
E shu (Ilk.)

Common names

Alimpuyas (C. Bis.)
Alimpuying (C. Bis.)
Barak (Tag.)
Konik (Ilk.)
Koniko (Bon.)
Lampoyang (P. Bis.)
Langkauas (Ilk.)
Langkuas (Ilk.)
Tamahiba (Tag.()
Tamahilan (Bik.)
Tamo (Pamp., Tag.)
Tamokansi (Tag.)
Unig (If.)
Long zedoary (Engl.)
Round zedoary (Engl.)
White tumeric (Engl.)
Zedoary root (Engl.)
Yu jin (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

ARABIC: Gadwâr, Satwâl, Zadwâr.
BOSNIAN: Beli isiot, Isiot, Setvar.
CROATIAN: Beli isiot, Isiot, Setvar.
DANISH: Zedoar.
DUTCH: Zedoar, Zedoarwortel.
FRENCH: Curcuma zédoaire, Gingembre bâtard, Zédoaire.
GERMAN: Zedoarwurzel, Zitwer, Zittwer kurkume.
HINDI: Kachur.
ITALIAN: Radice di curcuma, Zedoaria, Zedoaria lunga.
LAOTIAN: Khi min khay.
MALAY: Temu kuning, Temu puteh, Temu putih (Indonesia).
NEPALESE: Kacur, Van haledo..
RUSSIAN: Kurkuma zedoarskaia.
SERBIAN: Beli isiot, Isiot, Setval.
SPANISH: Cedoaria, Cetoal.
THAI: Haeo dam, Kha mîn oi, Kha mîn khuen.
TURKISH: Çevdar, Gulpa hamar.
VIETNAMESE: Bông truât, Ngái tim, Nga truât, Tam nai.

Zedoary is a large perennial herb with underground tuberous rootstock. Rhizomes, like that of dilaw(Curcuma longa), are fleshy, aromatic with an odor like that of ginger, pale yellow in color. Leaves are usually in pairs, erect, petioled, green, often with a purplish blotch in the center, elliptic-oblong to oblong-lanceolate, slenderly acuminate, 25 to 70 centimeters long, 8 to 15 centimeters wide. Scape arises from the rootstock and not from the leaf-tuft, often appearing before the leaves. Peduncle is 10 to 20 centimeters long and covered with few loose bracts. Spikes are cylindric, 10 to 15 centimeters long, 5 to 8 centimeters in diameter, composed of numerous ovate to obovate, somewhat spreading rounded bracts, the lower ones green, more or less tipped with pink, the upper ones usually longer and purple, each containing several flowers, the lower flowers opening first. Calyx is small and 2-fid. Corolla tube is about 2 centimeters long, yellowish-white, and sometimes tinged with purple, the lip is usually yellow and 2-lobed. Fruits are capsules, membranaceous, globose, 3-valved.


– Grows abundantly throughout the Philippines in open waste places in and near towns.
– Introduced.
– Occurs from India to Malaya.


• Phytochemical screening of crude extracts of dried rhizomes yielded terpenoids, alkaloids, saponins, flavanoids, glycosides, carbohydrates, phenolics, tannins, and phytosterols.
• Volatile oil (zedoary oil), 0.25-0.665%-cineol, camphene, zingiberene, borneol, camphor, curcumin, zedoarin; gum; starch; resin.
• Phytochemial evaluation of the rhizome yielded: moisture, 83.22%; total ash, 6.64%; acid insoluble ash, 0.64%; alchohol soluble extractives, 15.53%, water soluble extractives, 18.96%; sugar, 12.51% and starch 15.70%.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Antimicrobial activity of Curcuma zedoaria and Curcuma malabarica tubers / B Wilson, G Abraham et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Vol 99, Issue 1, 13 May 2005, Pages 147-151 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2005.02.004 |

(2) Phytochemical Analysis and Analgesic Properties of Curcuma zedoaria Rhizomes Grown in Brazil / The Free Library

(3) Antitumor, genotoxicity and anticlastogenic activities of polysaccharide from Curcuma zedoaria

(4) Effect of the extract combinations of Curcuma zedoaria and Aloe vera in retarding melanin synthesis in murine melanoma cells / J R Krishnamoorthy et al / Egyptian Dermatology Online Journal 5 (2): 7

(5) Antimicrobial efficacy of Curcuma zedoaria extract as assessed by linear regression compared with commercial mouthrinses / Adriana Bugno, Maria Aparecida Nicoletti et al / Braz. J. Microbiol. vol.38 no.3 São Paulo July/Sept. 2007 / doi: 10.1590/S1517-83822007000300011

(6) Sedative Effects and Toxicity Test of Curcuma zedoaria Roscoe in Mice / Jutathip Tidkum / Thesis 2005 / ISBN 974-04-5555-7

(7) Effect of Curcuma zedoaria crude extract against tumor progression and immunomodulation / Carvalho FR, Vassao RC et al / J. Venom. Anim. Toxins incl. Trop. Dis vol.16 no.2 Botucatu 2010 / doi: 10.1590/S1678-91992010000200013


(9) Cytotoxicity of Curcuminoids and Some Novel Compounds from Curcuma zedoaria / Wan-Jr Syu, Chien-Chang Shen et al / J. Nat. Prod., 1998, 61 (12), pp 1531–1534 / DOI: 10.1021/np980269k

(10) Effect of Curcuma zedoaria (Berg.) Bosc on the myoelectric activity of uterus in rats and study of its mechanisms / Xu XB, Qin XM, Xu JD, Pang JJ / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2001 May;26(5):334-7.

(11) Antitumour Effects of Isocurcumenol Isolated from Curcuma zedoaria Rhizomes on Human and Murine Cancer Cells / S Lakshmi, G Padmaja, P Remani / International Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
Volume 2011 (2011) / doi:10.1155/2011/253962

(12) Sorting Curcuma names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / A Work in Progress/ The University of Melbourne. Australia / Copyright © 1997 – 2000 The University of Melbourne.

(13) Effect of Curcuma zedoaria Rosc root extracts on behavioral and radiology changes in arthritic rats / Madan L. Kaushik and Sunil S. Jalalpure / J Adv Pharm Technol Res. 2011 Jul-Sep; 2(3): 170–176. doi: 10.4103/2231-4040.85537

(14) ANALGESIC AND ANTIMICROBIAL ACTIVITIES OF CURCUMA ZEDOARIA / KAMANASHIS DAS* AND MOHAMMAD ASHIKUR RAHMAN / International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vol 4, Suppl 5, 2012
(15) ANTI­INFLAMMATORY EFFICACY OF CURCUMA ZEDOARIA ROSC ROOT EXTRACTS / MADAN L. KAUSHIK*, SUNIL S. JALALPURE / Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research Vol. 4, Issue 3, 2011

(16) Antioxidant Activity and Radical Scavenging Effects of Various Fractions from Curcuma zedoaria / Muhammad Athar Abbasi, Aziz-ur-Rehaman / Asian J Phar Biol Res. 2011; 1(4): 525-533

(17) Antihyperglycemic activity Evaluation of Rhizomes of Curcuma zedoaria (Christm.) Roscoe and Fruits of Sonneratia caseolaris (L.) Engl. / Mohammed Rahmatullah*, Md. Nur Kabidul Azam, Sujan Pramanik, Sania, Shahnaz Rahman, Rownak Jahan / International Journal of PharmTech Research, Vol.4, No.1, pp 125-129, Jan-Mar 2012


– Pungent tasting, warming and slightly aromatic.
– Traditionally considered analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiarthritic, diuretic, antiallergic, antiulcer, and antiasthmatic.
– Improves Ch’i and blood circulation, anticontusion, and improves menstrual flow.
– Rhizomes are considered cooling, diuretic, stomachic, emmenagogue, digestive, improves appetite.
– Volatile oil is a viscid liquid of a greenish color, with a smell of ginger oil mixed with camphor. The presence of cineol imparts the scent that suggests camphor and sesquiterpene.


Parts used and preparation
· Part utilized: rhizome.
· Collect rhizome during August to October.
· Rinse, remove roots, cut into sections and sun-dry.

Turmeric roots
· In Malaya, leaves are cooked with fish.
· Tender rhizomes used as flavoring for salad.

· In the Philippines the juice of the fresh rhizome is used as remedy for certain kinds of dermatitis (paño blanco).
· The rhizome is used as topical and applied to the stomach as stomachic.
· In Bulacan Province the fresh rhizomes are burned and the ash applied externally to wounds, ulcers and sprains.
· Decoction of dried materials used for abdominal cramps, amenorrhea-abdominal pain, and rheumatic pains.
· In India the rhizomes are used for poulticing. Plant used for flatulent colic and debility. Used as ingredient in bitter tincture of zedoary and anti-periodic pills. In Punjab and Cashmere, used for liver pains.
· In Ceylon the rhizome is used as tonic and carminative; the Arabs used it as tonic and aphrodisiac.
· Rhizome paste used externally for cuts, wounds, itching and sprains.
· Arabs consider it a tonic and aphrodisiac.
· Pain and swelling associated with sprains: Use pounded and fried rhizome with alcohol and apply as poultice. Or, warm fresh rhizome over fire, crush and apply on abdomen or affected part.
· In Ayurveda, used for diarrhea, cancer, flatulence and dyspepsia.
· According to the Dispensatory of the USA zedoary is a gastrointestinal stimulant in flatulent colic and other afflictions of the gastrointestinal system.
· In Bangladesh the rhizomes and fruits are used in the treatment of diabetes. Also used in the treatment of leprosy, mental disorders, leucorrhea, hepatitis, diarrhea and hemorrhoids.
· In Java and India the rhizome is chewed, or as decoction, as strengthening tonic after childbirth.
· In the Malay Peninsula decoction is given as tonic and for indigestion.
· Fresh rhizome considered cooling and diuretic, used for leucorrheal and gonorrheal discharges, and as a blood purifier. Rhizome also used as emmenagogue in amenorrhea. Also, rhizome used as an ingredient of stomachic elixirs and bitter drops preparations.

· Perfumery: In India, the rhizomes was once the most important source of native perfumery.

Study Findings
• Antimicrobial: Antimicrobial activity of Curcuma zedoaria and Curcuma malabarica tubers: Study supports the traditional use of CZ for bacterial and fungal infections. Study showed the hydroalcoholic extract to have potent antimicrobial activity against B cereus and moderate activity against K pneumonia and C albicans.
• Phytochemical / Analgesic:Phytochemical Analysis and Analgesic Properties of Curcuma zedoaria Rhizomes Grown in Brazil: Phytochemical studies yielded dichloromethane and curcumenol which exhibited analgesic activity and justifies its folkloric use for painful conditions.
• Anti-inflammatory: A Curcuminoid and Two Sesquiterpenoids from Curcuma zedoaria as Inhibitors of Nitric Oxide Synthesis in Activated Macrophages: Study suggests the use of CZ rhizome as an antiinflammatory may be explained partly by inhibition of NO production.
• Antitumor / Genotoxicity / Anticlastogenic: Antitumor, genotoxicity and anticlastogenic activities of polysaccharide from Curcuma zedoaria: Study suggests the CZ-I-III, the polysaccharide fraction from CZ, decreases tumor size of mouse and prevents chromosomal mutation.
• Decreased Melanin Synthesis / Anti-Tyrosinase: Study showed the combination of extracts of C zedoaria and Aloe vera is effective in decreasing melanin synthesis when tested in murine melanoma cells. The mechanism was through tyrosinase blockage. Tyrosinase is the primary enzyme involved in the oxidation of tyrosine to melanin, and its inactivation is essential in achieving the skin lightening effects of various cosmetic preparations. Furthermore, the approach is reversible, safe, without permanent damage.
• Antimicrobial / Mouthrinse Activity: Study comparing the antimicrobial activity of CZ against S mutans, E faecalis, S aureus and C albicans with five commercial mouth rinses showed it to be comparable to that of commercial products. Its incorporation into a mouthrinse could be an alternative for improving the antimicrobial efficacy of the oral product.
• Sedative Effect / Phytochemicals / Toxicity Study: Phytochemicals yielded alkaloid groups and triterpenoids, curcuminoids – curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin (most common). Results showed the chloroform soluble fraction might contain active sedative compounds, and effect achieved through the GABA pathway, muscarinic receptor pathway and the opioid receptor pathway. Toxicity study also classifies it as practically non-toxic.
• Antitumor Effect / Immunomodulation: Study of crude extract of CZ on peripheral blood cells and tumor progression in mice injected with murine melanoma cells showed intraperitoneal therapy caused a significant increase in white and RBC count, decrease in peritoneal cell number, tumor volume reduction. The results suggest a phytotherapic potential to compounds against tumor progression and possible immunomodulation.
• Reduction of Meat Cholesterol in Broiler: Study showed that although the addition of CZ meal in the broiler ration did not significantly affect the percentage of abdominal fat, it significantly reduced the level of cholesterol broiler meat.
• Cytotoxicity / Curcumins: Study isolated an active curcuminoid, demethoxycurcumin, together with curcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin. The curcuminoids demonstrated cytotoxicity against human ovarian cancer OVCAR-3 cells.
• Uterine Myoelectric Effect: Study showed C. zedoaria has an exciting effect on the smooth muscle of uterus in rats, with a mechanism that may be associated with M- and alpha-receptors.
• Pharmacognostic Evaluation: Phytochemial evaluation of the rhizome yielded: moisture, 83.22%; total ash, 6.64%; acid insoluble ash, 0.64%; alcohol soluble extractives, 15.53%, water soluble extractives, 18.96%; sugar, 12.51% and starch 15.70%.
• Antitumor / Isocurcumenol: Study characterized isocurcumenol which was found to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells without inducing significant toxicity to normal cells. In vivo tumor reduction studies showed significant reduction of ascitic tumor in DLA-challenged mice and increased lifespan.
• Benefits in Arthritis-Induced Behavior Modulation: Study in rats showed the efficacy of extracts treatment in behavior modulation induced by arthritis by decreasing irritation, anxiety, increased intention to walk, and reduction of joint swelling.
• Antioxidant: Various extracts from the dried rhizomes were evaluated for antioxidant activity. Maximum antioxidant activity was seen in the ethyl acetate, n-hexane and water extracts. Study of organic and aqueous fractions showed the chloroform soluble fraction to be rich in in strong antioxidants while the ethyl acetate fraction showed moderate amounts of antioxidant. Results suggest a potential source of natural antioxidants and bioactive materials.
• Analgesic / Antimicrobial: A crude extract of methanol and pet ether showed mild analgesic and antimicrobial property.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Various extracts were evaluated for anti-inflammatory activity in albino rats using carrageenan and histamine-induced hind paw edema methods. Except for the methanol extract, all extracts showed significant anti-inflammatory activity, using the standard drug Indomethacin as control.
• Antihyperglycemic Effect: Study evaluated the anti-hyperglycemic potential of a methanol extract of C. zedoria rhizomes and fruits. Results showed significant and dose-dependent reduction of serum glucose concentrations. The reduction from fruits were less than those of the rhizomes.
• Anti-Candida Activity: Study evaluated the anticandida activity of C. zedoria volatile oil in vitro. Results showed all the candida test strains to be susceptible, suggesting a fungicidal mechanism.
• Cytotoxicity / Safety of Zedoary Oral Hygiene Products: Study evaluated the cytotoxic effects of C. zedoria fluid extracts preparations used for oral hygiene, mostly for anti-septic reasons. Results showed the zedoary fluid extract has low cytotoxicity and can probably be used in oral hygiene products.