Kaempferia rotunda is a stemless herb with rhizomes that resemble those of Kaempferia galanga. Leaves are oblong and stained underneath. Spikes are radical, appearing before the leaves. Flowers are fragrant, sessile, purplish white. Calyx is 1-leafed, as long as the tube of the corolla, somewhat gibbous, with the apex generally two-toothed, with a dotted purplish color. Upper segments of the inner series of the corolla are lanceolate and acute, the lower ones divided into two broad obcordate lobes.
- Of recent introduction as an ornamental.
- Cultivated throughout the world.
- On distillation, rhizomes yield 0.2% essential oil of light yellow color, with an unpleasant odor, similar to camphor and later, of tarragon oil.
- Oil contains cineol.
- Plant yields flavonoids, crotepoxide, chalcones, quercetin, flavonols, ß-sitosterol, stigmasterol, syringic acid, protocatechuic acid and hydrocarbons.
- Study yielded three new cyclohexane diepoxides together with crotepoxide and (-)-zeylenol from the rhizomes of K. rotunda.
- Dried and milled rhizomes of K. rotunda yielded three known flavanones. namely 5-hydroxy-7-methoxyflavanone (1), 7-hydroxy-5-methoxyflavanone (2), and 5,7-dihydrox- yflavanone (3). (see study below) (16)
- Rhizomes are cooling and diuretic.
- Reported poisonous nature of the rhizome juice when administered internally for throat affections, producing profuse salivation and vomiting.
Rhizomes, roots, leaves.
- In Java, rhizomes and young leaves used to flavor food.
- In Malaysia, leaves are eaten fresh or cooked as vegetables; also used for flavoring.
- Rhizomes use internally for gastric complaints.
- Externally, rhizomes used with coconut oil as a cicatrizant.
- Rhizomes used in mumps, for bruises and wounds.
- Ointment made from the powder used for healing wounds.
- Rhizomes used as diuretic.
- Juice of rhizomes used as resolvent of phlegm, of dropsical afflictions of the hands and feet, and for joint effusions.
- In India, powdered roots used for mumps; as poultice, used for suppurations.
- In Bangladesh, used for treatment of diabetes and pain.
Cosmetics: Rhizomes and leaves used in making cosmetic powders.
• Antioxidant: (1) The antioxidant property of the extract was compared with the standard antioxidant ascorbic acid. The scavenging of radicals by the methanol extract of K rotunda correlates with the antioxidant potential of the plant, with a potential to control age-dependent diseases such as myocardial infarction, diabetes, atherosclerosis, cancer, etc. (2) Study showed the chloroform extract of rhizomes of K. rotunda showed significant scavenging effect of DPPH free radicals.
• Essential Oils: Study on the volatile constituents of the rhizomes showed the most abundant constituents to to be benzyl benzoate, n-pentadecane, and camphene.
• Insecticidal: Extracts from rhizomes of K rotunda and Z cassumunar, incorporated into artificial diets displayed significant insecticidal activity against neonate larvae of the pest insect Spodoptera littoralis. Rhizomes of K rotunda yielded two active metabolites - crotepoxide and benzyl benzoate. Benzyl benzoate exhibited insecticidal activity only when applied locally. (3)
• Antimicrobial / Larvicidal / Antioxidant / Chemical Constituents: In a study of 4 medicinal plants, K rotunda was shown to yield five pure compounds - crotepoxide, tetracosanoic acid, benzoic acid, stigmasterol and p-sitosterol. The major constituent of the essential oil was benzyl benzoate. Extract showed activity against tested microbes (P aeruginosa, S typhimurium, B subtilis), moderate antioxidant activity, and some larvicidal activity.
• Antihelmintic: Study evaluated the anthelmintic activity of alcoholic extract of rhizomes against Pheretima posthuma and Ascardia galli. The alcoholic extract exhibited significant antihelmintic activity.
• Lectin / Cytotoxicity / Antibacterial / Antiproliferative: Study purified a lectin (KRL) from the extracts of rhizome. The lectin showed against brine shrimp nauplii and strong agglutination activity against seven pathogenic bacteria. It also showed antiproliferative activity activity against Harlech ascites carcinoma.(9)
• Antihyperglycemic / Antinociceptive: study of rhizome extract showed significant antihyperglycemic and antinociceptive activity validating its use in Bangladesh for the treatment of high blood sugar and relief of pain. (10)
• Wound Healing / Leaves: Study of aqueous and methanolic leaf extracts using incision and excision wound models in rats showed significant wound healing activity. (12)
• Safety Studies / Tuberous Rhizomes: Study evaluated ethanolic extracts of rhizome, tuber, rhizome fractions and essential oil for acute and 28-days repeated dose toxicity studies on Wistar albino rats. The extracts and fractions showed no acute toxicity up to 2000 mg/kbw and the no-observed-adverse-effect (NOAEL) of the extract and fractions is greater than 1000 mg/kbw per day per orem for 28 days. (13)
• Lectin / Antibacterial / Apoptotic Induction: Study evaluated the effect of K. rotunda lectin (KRL) on EAC (Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma) cells in vitro. Results showed the lectin induced apoptotic cell death in Ehrlich ascites carcinoma cells. KRL also showed agglutination activity against E. coli and S. aureus, with partial inhibition of their growth. (15)
• Antimutagenic: Study sought to isolate and to investigate antimutagenic activity of some flavanones from K. rotunda. The methanol extract and isolated flavanones showed significant antimutagenic effect compared to control group. (see constituents above) (16)