Scientific Name/Common Name: Curcuma zedoaria / Zedoary
Part(s) Used: Root
Constituents/Active Ingredients: 1.0 -1.5% essential oil containing D-borneol; D-camphene; D-camphor; cineole; curculone; curcumadiol; curcumanolide A and B; Curcumenol; curcumenone curcumin; curcumol; curdione; dehydrocurdione; alpha-pinene; mucilage; starch; resin; sesquiterpenes; and sesquiterpene alcohols. The root also contains numerous other bitter substances, tannins, and flavonoids.
Overview: Zedoary root is a popular spice and medicine in the Eastern world, used similarly to its cousin turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) in condiments and curries. Zedoary root possesses the odour of camphor and the taste of slightly bitter ginger. When chewed, the roots turn saliva yellow, similar to turmeric. Traditionally, zedoary is used for treating flatulent colic and indigestion, though not as popular as ginger for the same purpose. Through its bitter properties, zedoary increases the flow of gastric juices relieving dyspepsia and gastrointestinal upsets associated with digestive organ congestion. German authorities recognize that 'bitters' stimulate bile flow and cleanse the liver of fatty deposits. From ancient times on, bitter herbal drugs played a very important role in the therapy of patients with dyspeptic symptoms. The mechanisms of action of the bitters are not completely understood. But there are indications that they stimulate, at even very small concentrations, the secretion of the stomach as well as the digestive glands and strengthen the smooth musculature of the digestive tract (via the gustatory system, the vagus nerve, and the enteric nervous system). Across the enteric nervous system, the strengthened digestive tract seems to stimulate the CNS, leading to a general tonification. At higher dosages, bitters probably directly affect the mucous membranes of the stomach and the bowel.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: Digestive stimulant and tonic; to relieve indigestion, gas, and bloating; to promote bile production and ease constipation.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References: Saller R, Iten F, Reichling J. 2001.