Zingiber spectabile Griff

Last updated: 22 April 2016

Scientific Name

Zingiber spectabile Griff. [1]


No documentation. [1]                             

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Chadak, tepus halia, tepus tanah, tepus halia puar, tepus tunduk [2]
English Beehive ginger [3]
Thailand Changoe, dakngoe (Pattani) [3].

Geographical Distributions

The genus Zingiber is distributed throughout tropical Asia with the center of diversity in Southeast Asia and consists of around 100 species including Zingiber spectabile. Although it has a geographical distribution from Peninsular Malaysia it is occasionally cultivated as an ornamental plant throughout the tropics. [3]

Botanical Description

Z. spectabile is a member of the Zingiberaceae family. The rhizome lies just below ground surface, it is off white in colour and fibrous. The leafy stem is about 2m tall, distinctly flattened, basal leafless part is nearly 1m tall, green; lower leaves are well spaced with the uppermost crowded and narrow. [4]

The leaves measure 30-50cm by 6-10cm. They are glabrous or slightly pubescent at the underside of the base, thin, apex acuminate and base rounded or cuneate. There are no petiole. Ligule is very thin, glabrous and deeply 2-lobed. The lobes are broad, pale green and scarious when old. The scape is 30-50cm long, sheaths broad, green or slightly reddish. [4]

The inflorescence is 12-30cm tall and 6-7cm wide, cylindric and not tapering to the apex. Bracts are at first yellow but turn red when old. The calyx is glabrous and thin, with apex broad and slightly 3-lobed, split deeply down the other side, pink to cream coloured. The corolla tube is 3cm long; lobes are pale yellow. The labellum dark purple with many small pale yellow spots, the throat is yellow with fine purple flecks [4]


Z. spectabile can be found growing under the shade in evergreen forests, along trails, roadsides, streams and edges of the forest up to 1000m altitudes. [3]

Chemical Constituent

Z. spectabile Griff has been reported to contain α-pinene, α-terpineol β-caryophyllene, β-elemene; β –phellandrene, β-pinene, curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, kaempferol, acetylrhamnosides (e.g. labda-8(17),12-diene-15,16-dial, spectaflavoside A, terpinen-4-ol, and zerumbone). [5][6][7][8][9][10]

Plant Part Used

Rhizome, leaves. [2]

Traditional Use

In Malaysia the young and tender shoots are eaten fresh as salads, and used as extra flavouring in cooking. The leaves are also pounded into thick paste and used in relieving bodyaches, headaches, and to reduce inflammation. In treatment of burn wounds, fresh leaves are crushed into paste form and patched onto open wounds to heal them. It is also known to be effective against sinus ailments. [3]

During postnatal periods, new mothers will boil the whole ginger plant and add on the ingredients for medicinal baths postpartum. [3]

In Thailand, it is used to treat inflammation of the eyes where any part of the plant is infused in cold water and dropped into the affected eye. It is also used in the treatment of swellings in general including those due to beri-beri. Here the leaves are pounded and made into a poultice. [2]

In Sri Lanka, the powder of Z. spectabile is used as an effective replacement for chemical insecticides to protect stored seeds. It serves as a natural insect repellent and has been proven to be environmentally friendly. [3]

Preclinical Data


Iron chelating activity

The compound spectaflavoside A isolated from the rhizome of Z. spectabile exhibited potent iron-chelating actvitity. [5]

Anticancer activity

Nine sesquiterpenes and eight flavonoids were isolated from Z. spectabile and the major compound was found to be zerumbone. Zerumbone exhibited cell growth inhibition against colon carcinoma SW480 cells. [6]

Antibacterial activity

The essential oil extracted from the rhizome of Z. spectabile has weak antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli, Salmonella enteritidis, Salmonella typhi, Salmonella typhimurium, Shigella flexneri, Klebseilla pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). [8]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line Drawing

No documentation.


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Zingiber spectabile Griff. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2014 April 22]. Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-273408
  2. Werne R. Medicines in Malay villages. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press, 2002; p. 183.
  3. Chee BJ. The spectacular ginger: Zingiber spectabile Griffith. Malaysian Naturalist 2010 Sep;12-13.
  4. Holttum RE. The Zingiberaceae of the Malay Peninsula in The Gardens’ Bulletin 1950; XIII(1):56
  5. Sivasothy Y, Hadi AH, Mohamad K, et al. Spectaflavoside A, a new potent iron chelating dimeric flavonol glycoside from the rhizomes of Zingiber spectabile Griff. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2012;22(11):3831-3836.
  6. Sadhu SK, Khatun A, Ohtsuki T, Ishibashi M. First isolation of sesquiterpenes and flavonoids from Zingiber spectabile and identification of zerumbone as the major cell growth inhibitory component. Nat Prod Res. 2007;21(14):1242-1247.
  7. Zoghbi MGB, Andrade EHA. Volatiles of the Etlingera elatior (Jack) R. M. Sm. and Zingiber spectabile Griff.: Two Zingiberaceae cultivated in the Amazon. J Essent Oil Res. 2005;17(2):209-211.
  8. Sivasothy Y, Awang K, Ibrahim H, et al. Chemical composition and antibacterial activities of essential oils from Zingiber spectabile Griff. J Essent Oil Res. 2012;24(3):305-313.
  9. Sirat HM, Leh NHN. The rhizome oil of Zingiber spectabile Valet. J Essent Oil Res. 2001;13(4):256-257.
  10. Lechat IV, Menut C, Lamaty G, Bessiere JM. Aromatic plants of French Polynesia. II. Composition of the essential oils of Zingiber spectabile Griffith. J Essent Oil Res. 1996;8(6):671-673.