Shell Flower - Alpinia zerumbet - Shell Ginger - Alpinia speciosa Shell Flower - Alpinia zerumbet - Shell Ginger - Alpinia speciosa

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Shell-Flower
(Alpinia zerumbet)

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  • Family: Zingiberaceae
    Genus: Alpinia
    Species: zerumbet
    Synonyms: Alpinia speciosa, Alpinia nutans, Costus zerumbet, Catimbium speciosum, Languas speciosa, Zerumbet speciosum Common name: boca de dragon, colonia, de tui maux, getto, jockey club, light galangal, palo santo, pink porcelain-lily, shellflower, shell ginger, tous maux
    Part Used: leaves, rhizome


    Shell-Flower
    HERBAL PROPERTIES AND ACTIONS
    Main Actions Other Actions Standard Dosage
  • lowers blood pressure
  • relieves pain
  • Rhizome
  • kills bacteria
  • kills insects
  • Decoction
  • kills fungi
  • relieves spasms
  •  
  • kills candida
  • reduces pain
  •  
  • reduces pain
  • antioxidant
  •  



    Shell-flower is in the ginger family and is native tropical China, Japan, India, Indo-China, Cambodia, Thailand Vietnam, and Malaysia. It is widely cultivated and distributed in most tropical and semi-tropical areas including Brazil, Peru, the Amazon, and the U. S. (Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico). This plant is an evergreen tropical perennial that grows in upright clumps to 8-10' tall in tropical climates. It produces fleshy rhizomes much like ginger that have a ginger-like aroma. Shell-flower was first botanically referred to as Alpinia speciosa but has been standardized A. zerumbet. This beautiful tropical plant is becoming a popular tropical house plant as well as a landscape plant in warmer climates. Various cultivars can now be found for sale in U.S. nurseries and plant stores under the common name "variegated ginger."

    Shell-flower is commonly called shell ginger or shellflower because its individual shell pink flowers, particularly when in bud, resemble sea shells. It is distinguished from other members of the ginger family by the fact that its flowers droop from the ends of leafy stems rather than rise directly from plant rhizomes. The fragrant flowers are waxy; light pink flower buds open to tubular flowers with yellow inside lips and red throats. The plant produces lance-shaped green leaves to 2' long and 5" wide.

    TRIBAL AND HERBAL MEDICINE USES

    In Brazilian herbal medicine the essential oil of the leaf is used for high blood pressure and as a heart tonic. In other parts of the world the plant is considered balsamic, diuretic, and stomachic and traditionally used for colds and flu, fevers, flatulence, stomach problems and indigestion.

    PLANT CHEMICALS

    Some of the active compounds found in shell-flower include: 1'-acetoxy-eugenol-acetate, 1'-acetoxychavicol-acetate, bassorin, cadinene, camphor, caryophyllene-oxide, caryophyllenol-I, caryophyllenol-II, cineole, d-pinene, dihydro-5,6-dehydrokawain, eugenol, galangin, kaempferide, methyl-cinnamate, phlobaphen, trans-3,4-dimethoxycinnamyl, trans-4-hydroxycinnamaldehyde, and trans-4-methoxycinnamyl.



    WORLDWIDE ETHNOMEDICAL USES
    Brazil hypertension, heart tonic
    Elsewhere as a balsamic, diuretic, and stomachic; for colds and flu, fevers, flatulence, stomach problems and indigestion



    SHELL-FLOWER PLANT SUMMARY
    Main Actions (in order):
    hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), stomachic (aids digestion), antimicrobial, febrifuge (reduces fever), analgesic (reduces pain)

    Main Uses:

    1. as a heart tonic and for high blood pressure
    2. as a digestive aid for stomach upset, indigestion and intestinal gas
    3. for colds, flu and fever
    4. as a mild diuretic
    5. for candida and fungal conditions
    Properties/Actions Documented by Research:
    analgesic, antibacterial, anticandidal, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimycobacterial, antioxidant, antiparasitic, antiplatelet, antispasmodic, antiulcerous, diuretic, hypotensive, insecticidal, muscle relaxant, uterine stimulant

    Other Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:
    balsamic, cardiotonic, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, hypotensive, and stomachic

    Cautions: It stimulates the uterus and is contraindicated in pregnancy. It may also increase the effectiveness of medications used to treat hypertension.





    This text and plant database file has been authored by Leslie Taylor, copyrighted © 2006. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, including websites, without written permission.

    † The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information contained in this plant database file is intended for education, entertainment and information purposes only. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace proper medical care. The plant described herein is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease. Please refer to our Conditions of Use for using this plant database file and web site.




    Published Third-Party Research on Shell-Flower


    All available third-party research on shell-flower can be found at PubMed. A partial listing of the published research on shell-flower is shown below:

    Antimicrobial Actions (bacteria, fungi, candida, mycobacteria)
    Upadhyay, A., et al. "HIV-1 integrase and neuraminidase inhibitors from Alpinia zerumbet." J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Apr 13;59(7):2857-62.
    Sawangjaroen, N., et al. “The in vitro anti-giardial activity of extracts from plants that are used for self-medication by AIDS patients in southern Thailand.” Parasitol. Res. 2005 Jan; 95(1): 17-21.
    Wang, Y., et al. “Screening of anti-Helicobacter pylori herbs deriving from Taiwanese folk medicinal plants.” FEMS. Immunol. Med. Microbiol. 2005; 43(2): 295-300.
    Tawata, S., et al. “Syntheses and biological activities of dihydro-5,6-dehydrokawain derivatives. Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem. 1996; 60(10): 1643-5.
    Pooter, H., et al. “Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of essential oil of leaf, stem and rhizome of Alpinia speciosa (J.C. Wendl.) K. Schum grown in Egypt.”Flavour Fragrance J. 1995; 10(2): 63-67.
    Lima, E., et al. “In vitro antifungal activity of essential oils obtained from officinal plants against dermatophytes.” Mycoses.. 1993; 36(9-10): 333-6.
    Prudent, D., et al. “Chemical analysis, bacteriostatic and fungistatic properties of the essential oil of the atoumau from Martinique (Alpinia speciosa K. Schum.).” J. Essent. Oil Res. 1993; 5 3: 255-264.
    Misas, C., el al. “Contribution to the biological evaluation of Cuban plants. II.” Rev. Cub. Med. Trop. 1979; 31: 13-19.

    Anti-parasitic and Insecticidal Actions
    Macedo, I., et al. "In vitro activity of Lantana camara, Alpinia zerumbet, Mentha villosa and Tagetes minuta decoctions on Haemonchus contortus eggs and larvae." Vet Parasitol. 2012 Dec 21;190(3-4):504-9.
    Suthisut, D., et al. "Contact toxicity, feeding reduction, and repellency of essential oils from three plants from the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) and their major components against Sitophilus zeamais and Tribolium castaneum." J Econ Entomol. 2011 Aug;104(4):1445-54.
    Sawangjaroen, N., et al “The anti-amoebic activity of some medicinal plants used by AIDS patients in southern Thailand.” Parasitol. Res. 2006 May; 98(6): 588-92.
    Morita, D. Insecticide and bactericide made of shell flower essential oil. Patent-US- 5,110,594: 5pp-. 1992 (USA)
    Medina, F. R., et al. “Terrestrial plants molluscicidal to Lymnaeid hosts of Fasciliasis hepaticain Puerto Rico.” J. Agr. Univ. Puerto Rico 1979; 63 : 366-376.
    Rouquayrol, M. Z., et al. “Molluscicidal activity of essential oils from Northeastern Brazilian plants.” Rev. Brasil Pesq. Med. Biol. 1980; 13 :135-143.
    Pinheiro de Sousa, M., et al. “Molluscicidal activity of plants from northeast Brazil.” Rev. Bras. Pesq. Med. Biol. 1974; (7)4: 389-394.

    Hypotensive, Antiplatelet & Cholesterol Lowering Actions:
    Chompoo, J., et al. "Antiatherogenic properties of acetone extract of Alpinia zerumbet seeds." Molecules. 2012 May 25;17(6):6237-48.
    Chuang, C., et al. "Hypolipidemic effects of different angiocarp parts of Alpinia zerumbet." Pharm Biol. 2011 Dec;49(12):1257-64.
    Pinto, N., et al. "Endothelium-dependent vasorelaxant effects of the essential oil from aerial parts of Alpinia zerumbet and its main constituent 1,8-cineole in rats." Phytomedicine. 2009 Dec;16(12):1151-5.
    de Moura, R.S., et al. “Antihypertensive and endothelium-dependent vasodilator effects of Alpinia zerumbet, a medicinal plant.” J. Cardiovasc. Pharmacol. 2005 Sep;46(3):288-94.
    Lahlou S, et al. “Antihypertensive effects of the essential oil of Alpinia zerumbet and its main constituent, terpinen-4-ol, in DOCA-salt hypertensive conscious rats.” Fundam. Clin. Pharmacol. 2003 Jun; 17(3): 323-30.
    Lahlou, S., et al. “Cardiovascular effects of the essential oil of Alpinia zerumbet leaves and its main constituent, Terpinen-4-ol, in rats: role of the autonomic nervous system.” Planta Med. 2002; 68(12): 1097-102.
    Laranja, S. M., et al. ”Evaluation of three plants with potential diuretic effect.” Rev. Assoc. Med. Bras. 1992 Jan-Mar; 38(1): 13-6.
    Mendonca, V. L., et al. “Pharmacological and toxicological evaluation of Alpinia speciosa.” Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz. 1991; 86 Suppl 2: 93-7.
    Laranja, S. M., et al. “Evaluation of acute administration of natural products with potential diuretic effects, in humans.” Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz. 1991; 86 Suppl 2: 237-40.
    Teng, C. M., et al. “Antiplatelet action of dehydrokawain derivatives isolated from Alpinia speciosa rhizoma.” Chin. J. Physiol. 1990; 33(1): 41-8.
    Vieira, J. E. V., et al. “Pharmacologic screening of plants from northeast Brazil. II.” Rev. Brasil Parm. 1968; 49: 67-75.

    Analgesic Actions:
    de Araujo, P. F., et al. “Antinociceptive effects of the essential oil of Alpinia zerumbet on mice." Phytomedicine. 2005 Jun; 12(6-7): 482-6.
    Leal-Cardoso, J. H., et al. “Effects of essential oil of Alpinia zerumbet on the compound action potential of the rat sciatic nerve.” Phytomedicine. 2004 Sep; 11(6): 549-53.

    Anti-inflammatory and Antispasmodic Actions:
    Jantan, I., et al. “Platelet-activating factor (PAF) receptor-binding antagonist activity of Malaysian medicinal plants. Phytomedicine. 2005 Jan; 12(1-2): 88-92.
    Bezerra, M. A., et al. ”Myorelaxant and antispasmodic effects of the essential oil of Alpinia speciosa on rat ileum.” Phytother. Res. 2000 Nov; 14(7): 549-51.

    Cellular Protective Actions:
    Cavalcanti, B., et al. "Genetic toxicology evaluation of essential oil of Alpinia zerumbet and its chemoprotective effects against H(2)O(2)-induced DNA damage in cultured human leukocytes." Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Nov;50(11):4051-61.

    Skin Healing Actions:
    Chompoo, J., et al. "Effect of Alpinia zerumbet components on antioxidant and skin diseases-related enzymes." BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 Jul 24;12:106.

    Antioxidant Actions:
    Chompoo, J., et al. "Effect of Alpinia zerumbet components on antioxidant and skin diseases-related enzymes." BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 Jul 24;12:106.
    de Araujo, F., et al. "Inhibition of ketamine-induced hyperlocomotion in mice by the essential oil of Alpinia zerumbet: possible involvement of an antioxidant effect." J Pharm Pharmacol. 2011 Aug;63(8):1103-10.
    Liao, M. C., et al. “Inhibitory effects of Alpinia speciosa K. SCHUM on the porphyrin photooxidative reaction.” J. Dermatol. 2000; 27(5): 312-7.
    Masuda, T., et al. “Isolation and structure determination of new antioxidative ferulic acid glucoside esters from the rhizome of Alpinia speciosa, a Zingiberaceae plant used in Okinawan food culture.” J. Agric. Food Chem. 2000; 48(5): 1479-84.

    Smooth Muscle Relaxant Actions:
    Vieira, J., et al. “Pharmacologic screening of plants from northeast Brazil. II.” Rev. Brasil Parm. 1968; 49: 67-75.

    Uterine Stimulant Actions:
    Barros, G., et al. “Pharmacological screening of some Brazilian plants. J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 1970; 22 :116.
    Vieira, J., et al. “Pharmacologic screening of plants from northeast Brazil. II.” Rev. Brasil Parm. 1968; 49: 67-75.

    Anti-ulcer Actions:
    Hsu, S. Y. “Effects of the constituents of Alpinia speciosa rhizoma on experimental ulcers.” Taiwan Yi. Xue. Hui. Za. Zhi. 1987 Jan;86(1):58-64.

    Sedative & Anti-Anxiety Actions:
    Satou, T., et al. "Anxiolytic effect and tissue distribution of inhaled Alpinia zerumbet essential oil in mice." Nat Prod Commun. 2010 Jan;5(1):143-6.
    de Araujo, F., et al. "Central nervous system effects of the essential oil of the leaves of Alpinia zerumbet in mice." J Pharm Pharmacol. 2009 Nov;61(11):1521-7.
    Murakami, S., et al. "Effects of the essential oil from leaves of Alpinia zerumbet on behavioral alterations in mice." Nat Prod Commun. 2009 Jan;4(1):129-32.

    Toxicity Studies:
    Cavalcanti, B., et al. "Genetic toxicology evaluation of essential oil of Alpinia zerumbet and its chemoprotective effects against H(2)O(2)-induced DNA damage in cultured human leukocytes." Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Nov;50(11):4051-61.

    Phytochemistry:
    Fujita, H., et al. “The constituents of the essential oil from Alpinia speciosa K. Schum.” Yakugaku. Zasshi. 1973; 93(12): 1635-8.
    Kimura, Y., et al. “Studies on the constituents of Alpinia. X. On the constituents of the rhizomata of Alpinia speciosa K. Schumann and A. kumatake Makino (A. formosana
    K. Schumann).” Yakugaku. Zasshi. 1966; 86(12): 1184-6.



    * The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information contained in this plant database file is intended for education, entertainment and information purposes only. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace proper medical care. The plant described herein is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease. Please refer to our Conditions of Use for using this plant database file and web site.




    © Copyrighted 1996 to present by Leslie Taylor, Milam County, TX 77857.
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    Last updated 12-19-2012