Family: Costaceae

Bengali/Vernacular Name: Keu, Tara, Kemak; Keumol (Rema-Kalenga).

Tribal Name: Premdaba, Prayan Chondu (Marma); Pekhum (Tipra); Pino Tiyen Tone (Bawm); Oal Sup (Murang); Madagong Lak, Moth gangath (Garo).

Description of the Plant

An erect rhizomatous herb, with long stout, leafy stem, 1.2-2.7 m high. Leaves 15-30 cm long, subsessile, spirally arranged, oblong or oblanceolate-oblong, silky pubescent beneath. Flowers white in very dense, terminal red spike, 5-12.5 x 3.8-7.5 cm. Capsules globosely 3-gonous.

Using Information

Rhizome is astringent, stimulant and aphrodisiac; useful in catarrhal fevers, coughs, dyspepsia, worms, and skin diseases. Rhizome is used for menstrual disorder and urinary inflammations; paste is taken internally when urine contains blood. Chutney made from the burnt tuber, sugar and tamarind taken for dysentery and other digestive troubles.

Juice of the boiled plant is used in earache. In Rema-Kalenga, the rhizome is used for snake-bite and skin diseases. Stem Juice is given in burning urination. Rhizome juice with sugar is administered for eye inflammation in Madhupur by the Garo.

Carbontetrachloride extract of rhizome has strong stimulant action on uterine musculature in animals and human. EtOH(50%) extract of the plant possesses antiviral activity (Asolkar et al., 1992). Total saponin mixture showed significant anti-inflammatory activity (Rastogi & Mehrotra, 1993).


Chemical Constituents

Rhizomes contain saponins (saponin A, B, C), diosgenin and tigogenin, ß-sitosterol glucoside, essential oil and Bis-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate. Diosgenin and tigogenin are also present in the stem and root. Roots contain aliphatic hydroxyketone and 5- a-stigmastenol.

Seeds contain diosgenin as the major genin (2.4% dry weight). Leaves contain a-amyrin stearate, ß-amyrin and lupeol palmitates (Ghani, 2003; Rastogi & Mehrotra, 1993).


All over Bangladesh in forests, village thickets and fallow lands.

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