Kaempferia galanga L.
Lesser galangal, finger root, resurrection lily, ginger, maraba, chinese ginger.
Dusol, gisol, duso.
‘Cekur’ is native to tropical Asia. It is widely cultivated throughout Southeast Asia countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. It can also be found in Southern China, India and Taiwan. It is normally planted around the house for its aromatic leaf. The rhizomes are used as salad for culinary and medicinal purposes.
‘Cekur’ is a stemless herb arising from tuberous rootstocks with fibrous cylindrical roots. The leaf spreads horizontally, smooth, dark green, broadly ovate to round measuring 8-15 cm wide. The white flowers with a purple spot on the lip appear singly in the centre of the plant. The leaf and the rhizome have a distinctive aromatic smell. The rhizome has a dark reddish-brown skin and the soft interior is nearly white.
|Fully grown ‘cekur’ with white flowers|
Medicinal Properties and Usage
The rhizome contains ethyl cinnamate, borneol, camphene, cineol, paraumarin, cinnamic acid and anisic acid. The rhizomes are carminative, stimulant, expectorant and diuretic. The rhizomes are used to treat sore throat, fevers, inflammations, rheumatism, indigestions, coughs, acne and sore eyes. The decoction of the rhizomes are used as a tonic and also taken by women after childbirth. The rhizomes are also used as a spice in cooking. The young leaf and rhizomes are consumed as salad. It is also used for cosmetics and perfumeries.
Soil Suitability and Climatic Requirement
‘Cekur’ can be cultivated on various soil types but it grows better on soil with high organic matter content, good texture and drainage. It can be planted both in the tropic and subtropic. Under natural growing conditions, the vegetative growth starts at early rainy season and the leaves will be dried up in drought season when the rhizomes start to mature.
The planting area has to be disc ploughed at 25-30 cm deep and followed by rotovation to get a good texture soil before planting beds are made. For soil with pH less than five, it must be limed before rotovation to get pH around six using Ground Magnesium Limestone (GML) at the rate of 2-3 t/ha.
Production of Planting Materials
‘Cekur’ is planted using mature rhizomes cuttings having 3-4 leaf buds. The cutting is dipped in fungicide to protect from soil-borne diseases. The rhizome cuttings are pregerminated in growing media before field planting to ensure a good stand in the field.
Field planting should be done at the start of the rainy season. Planting bed is made using bed-former. The bed should be flat on the top measuring about a meter wide and 20 cm high. The planting distance is 25 cm between rows and 20-25 cm within a row. This will give the population density of about 120,000–160,000 plants/ha. ‘Cekur’ can be planted in the open field or slightly shady areas.
|Planting of ‘cekur’ on beds at the spacing of 25 cm between and within rows|
|Matured ‘cekur’ on planting beds|
Basal fertiliser at the rate of 10 t/ha of processed chicken dung (NPK=4:4:3) is incorporated into the soil 4-5 days before planting. The crops are side-dressed by using the same fertiliser at the rate of 3 t/ha. The side dressing fertilisers should be given between the planting rows at monthly intervals up to five months.
Weeds can be affectively controlled at the early crop stage by using plastic mulch. However, care should be taken to prevent the plastic mulch from disturbing the crop growth. The plastic mulch can be removed when the crop canopy between the hills nearly touch one another. Manual weeding has to be done from time to time to remove weeds.
For optimum crop growth, supplementary irrigation is needed especially during the dry season. Sprinkler irrigation system is recommended.
Pest and Disease Control
Leaf folding caterpillar (Erionata thrax) normally attacks the crop. It can be controlled by spraying with acephate. Mitex is used to control mites if crops are grown under shady areas.
Young leaves and rhizome are harvested at vegetative stage for dip, salad and other culinary purposes. For medicinal purposes, the mature rhizomes are harvested at 10-11 months after planting. At this stage, the leaf starts to turn yellow and dries. Potential fresh yield is 7-10 t/ha.
|Mature rhizomes are harvested 10 months after field planting|
|Curing of ‘cekur’ under shade|
Harvested rhizomes are washed and dried at air temperature and sold as fresh rhizomes. For the preparation of traditional medicines and for storage, rhizomes are sliced and dried at 40oC either sun-dried or using the commercial dryer.
The production cost per hectare for land preparation, input and labour is about RM15,530. The production cost per kilogramme depends on the yield per hectare. The production cost of fresh rhizome is between RM1.60/kg (yield 10 t/ha) and RM2.20/kg (yield 7 t/ha). The production cost was estimated based on the cost of current inputs during writing of this article.