Herbs & Plants

Hedychium spicatum

Botanical Name: Hedychium spicatum
Family: Zingiberaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales
Genus: Hedychium
Species: H. spicatum

*Gandasulium spicatum (Sm.) Kuntze
*Hedychium acuminatum Roscoe
*Hedychium trilobum Wall. ex Roscoe
*Hedychium flavescens Lodd. ex Lindl. 1852, illegitimate homonym, not Carey ex Roscoe 1824

Common Names: Spiked ginger lily, or Perfume ginger;

Local names : Sandharlika (Hindi), Kapur kachri (Hindi), and Takhellei (Manipuri), Cao Guo Yao (Mandarin), Afer kocher (Amharic)

Habitat:Hedychium spicatum is native to China (Guizhou, Sichuan, Tibet, Yunnan), the Himalayas, Myanmar, Thailand and Ethiopia.. It grows in forest clearings, shrubberies, 1800 – 2800 metres from Himachal Pradesh to Arunachal Pradesh.

Hedychium spicatum is a small, hardy perennial plant that grows to around 1 m (3 ft 3 in), with green leaves and large orange and white flowers.
. It is in flower in October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).


Requires a rich moist soil and a sunny position. They can be grown in a sunny border as a summer sub-tropical bedding plant[. Plants are not very cold-hardy, tolerating temperatures down to about -2°c. They can be grown at the foot of a south-facing wall if given a good mulch in the winter. Plants succeed outdoors in Tresco Gardens, Isles of Scilly. This species succeeds outdoors in most parts of S. England, especially if the rhizomes are mulched with dry leaves in the autumn. Plants have been known to withstand temperatures down to -16°c in Germany. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. The tubers should only just be covered with soil. The flowers are sweetly scented, the scent being most pronounced towards evening. Both the bruised and the dried root are very aromatic with a fragrant, somewhat pungent smell that is similar to orris root but more powerful.

Edible Uses: The fruit of this species may be cooked and eaten with lentils in savoury dishes. Crushed rhizomes, both fresh and dried, are very aromatic with a fragrant, somewhat pungent smell similar to orris root but more powerful. In Manipur, the rhizome is cooked to prepare chutney.

Medicinal Uses:
The rootstock is carminative, emmenagogue, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. It is useful in the treatment of liver complaints, and is also used in treating fevers, vomiting, diarrhoea, inflammation, pains and snake bite. The Indian medicinal system (Ayurveda) described the species as having pungent, light, bitter, strong, heating properties. The species is also an ingredient of some traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), traditional Tibetan medicine and Unani medicine. The powder and decoction of the rhizome are used for a variety of conditions. The rhizome is also chewed by the inhabitants of Uttarakhand to clean their mouths and freshen their breath.

The root is used in Tibetan medicine, it is said to have an acrid taste and heating potency. It is digestive, stomachic and vasodilator. It is used in the treatment of indigestion and poor circulation due to thickening of the blood.

Other Uses:
The rootstock yields 4% essential oil. This oil, which has a scent somewhat like hyacinths, is so powerful that a single drop will render clothes highly perfumed for a considerable period. The dried root is burnt as an incense.

“Abir”, a fragrant coloured powder marketed for religious ceremonies, is prepared from its dried rhizomes. In Himachal Pradesh, leaves are used in making mats for the home, combined with wheat straw, enhancing the durability of the product. The aromatic dried root of this plant is often used as an incense in Ethiopia. The essential oil has a fragrance somewhat like hyacinths with a long-lasting scent.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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