Whenever I encounter a local rhizome herb that I do not have in my collection, I tend to get it
even though I do not know its powers. I figure that I will get around to researching about it. This is the case with Lempoyang (Bitter Ginger). It be belongs to the ginger family, one of the many varieties that we have native to Malaysia. Its botanical name is Zingiber zerumbet. It has a slightly bitter taste hence the English name of Bitter Ginger.It looks similar to other ginger plants although it is a bit taller than regular ginger.
The soil type, care and maintenance for this plant is similar to all other ginger plants. If there is sufficient rainfall such that the soil doesn’t totally dry it, then no additional watering is required. As it grows well in tropical climates, it is grown in other countries with this climate such as Brazil where a a significant amount of research has been done. In Malaysia, it is mainly what is passed down from generation to generation verbally with little scientific documentation with the main study conducted by UPM on cervical cancer (http://psasir.upm.edu.my/id/eprint/9323/).
The outer skin is reddish-brown with the flesh a cream color. The flesh has a less pungent ginger aroma. As with many of my rhizomes, it is not possible for me to consume them all when it is harvested so I will dehydrate them and convert them to powder form,retaining maximum nutrients possible, enabling me to store it for a longer period of time and available for use at any time. What is interesting is when you dehydrate the finger and mill them to a powder, the resulting color is a pale slightly green-yellow.
From a usage perspective, this variety of ginger is of interest due to its many therapeutic properties relating to its effects on the gastrointestinal system as well as for cancer. There is substantial information available from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0102695X16000259 as well as other biotechnical sites.
The rhizome of ginger has been extensively used with remarkable therapeutic effects for the treatment of inflammation, diarrhea, stomach cramps, bacterial infections, fever, flatulence, allergies and poisoning (Tewtrakul and Subhadhirasakul, 2007, Okamoto et al., 2011, Prakash et al., 2011b, Sidahmed et al., 2015). Powdered rhizome is used to treat ear infections, toothache and, in the form of tea, to treat stomach disease (Ghosh et al., 2011). The leaves are also used in therapies for joint pain. The juice of cooked rhizome was reported to be effective in combating worms in children (Somchit and Shukriyah, 2003, Ibrahim et al., 2007). The creamy substance present in the mature inflorescence, is rich in surfactants and serves as a natural shampoo (Yu et al., 2008b). Hence its other name of Shampoo ginger.
With all its many therapeutics use, I decided to produce our dehydrated powdered Lempoyang (Bitter ginger), a new addition to our product line and will continue to grow them. It is packed in packs of 30gm of pure bitter ginger with no additives or preservatives added, As with our other products, it is produced from bitter ginger grown organically at our farm. It is available via mail order.