CAUTIONS: "No documentation" of toxicity (10), however... CONTRAINDICATIONS: "There would appear to be possible summative effects with antidiabetic drugs and antihypertensive drugs when the rhizome of Z. ottensii is taken together with them for whatever reason." (10).
EDIBLE RHIZOME: "Zingiber ottensii is used as a spice to replace (Galangal) Alpinia galanga in the traditional dishes by the local people around Mount Dầu, Quảng Ngãi province (Vietnam)." (2). "The rhizomes are pungent." (4).
MEDICINAL RHIZOME: It "is one of (the) Indonesian traditional medicines (used) as postpartum medicine and also to treat itching, pain, fever, gout, and cough." (7). It has (possibly) been used in Ayurvedic medicines, although this information comes from just one web-source via my research so far. "Study in vitro of Zingiber ottensii rhizome and its compounds showed pharmacological activities including α-glucosidase inhibitor, ACE inhibitor, antibacterial, antifungal, inhibitor of nitric oxide production, antioxidant, cytotoxic, and antiproliferation." (7).
INFORMATION FROM SIAMY, a Thai company selling Black Plai salve online: They claim that it "doesn’t leave a burning sensation, eases aching symptoms in muscles, is effective against arthritis and other joints problems, has anti-inflammatory properties, and heals and soothes damaged skin. (12). They go on to say, "Thai traditional natural remedy. It eases aching symptoms in muscles, knees and elbow joints; relieves tension of tendons; reduces stiffness symptoms and cramps; helps after sprain or other injures all around the body; helps against itching and after insects bites. It also useful for treatment of dizziness/vertigo, migraine and common headache. An ancient formula of balm doesn’t leave a “burning” sensation on your skin. But it provides long lasting healing effect instead due essential natural extracts and oils." (12). "Thai traditional medicine during centuries. The combination of black plai extract with black sesame oil is especially effective against back pain, arthritis and other joints problems, both inflammatory and traumatic." (12).
MEDICINAL LEAVES: The leaves have been studied in a number of Asian university studies.
MEDICINAL LEAVES AND RHIZOMES: "It can be concluded that antimicrobial activity of especially against the pathogenic bacteria shows its medicinal value and supports the widespread use of the plant." (8).
MEDICINAL STEMS: The stem "is used as part of a sedative lotion by the Javanese." (10. "In Sumatra it is used in potherb for postpartum care." (10).
MEDICINAL ESSENTIAL OIL: "The essential oil is one of chemical compound of Zingiber ottensii has pharmacological activity such as antibacterial and cytotoxic activity." (7). "Essentials oils of Zingiberaceae family, including Zingiber ottensii, are produced by (the) rhizome and leaves." (7).
EXTERNAL MEDICINAL USES: "In traditional medicine they are pounded into a poultice and used by women after childbirth, or are added to a mixture to make a sedative lotion or a tonic." (4).
EXTERNAL - MEDICINAL LEAVES: "The leaves are also used as a poultice for lumbago." (10).
EXTERNAL - MEDICINAL LEAVES AND RHIZOMES: "The traditional midwives of Perak (Malaysia) used the rhizome and leaves as a poultice applied on the body of the women in confinement." (10).
MEDICINAL STUDIES: Extracts from rhizomes were tested in a 2011 Thai study which revealed "relatively strong antiproliferative effects were found against five human cell lines (colon cancer, hepatoma cancer, etc.)." (3). They also found a "new glycoprotein." "The glycoprotein also contained antiproliferative activity against some plant pathogenic fungi and human cancer cell lines." (3).
ANTIFUNGAL STUDIES: " Previous study has been made by (Atai et al., 2009; Poeloengan, 2011) has shown that ethanolic extract of ginger has antifungal activity. The similar kind of result has been noticed in Z. ottensii rhizome extract (Elechiguerra et al., 2005; Atai et al., 2009)." (8).
CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS: "Twenty-six components have been identified of which the major component was found to be zerumbone (25.6%)." (6).
CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS OF THE LEAVES: An Indonesian study "showed that the essential oil of Zingiber ottensii leaves contains 37 components with five highest compounds respectively as transcaryophyllene, β–elemene, zerumbone, 1,5- cyclodecadiene, (-)-caryophyllene." (7).
CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS OF THE RHIZOMES: The "essential oil of rhizome contains 64 components with five highest compounds respectively as 1-4-terpineol, zerumbone, sabinene, 1,8-cineole, and -terpinene." (7).
CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS OF THE ESSENTIAL OIL: "The essential oil of Z. ottensii Val. rhizome contains a mixture of zerumbone, terpinen-4-ol, p-cymene, sabinene, humulene." (7). "The oils obtained were dried over anhydrous sodium sulphate. The essential oils of leaves and rhizome respectively were 0.03% and 0.26% on fresh weight basis." (7). "Both oils have characteristics pale yellow colour and pungent aromatic odour. The low percentage yield of leaves showed that essential oil production of Zingiber ottensii is concentrated in (the) rhizome." (7). An Indonesian "study reveals that essential oils of leaves and rhizome of Zingiber ottensii Val. from Bandung, Indonesia are potentially antiinflammation, antimicrobial, or antiproliferative. However, further study has to be conducted." (7).
RHIZOME CONSTITUENTS: "Essential oil from Z. ottensii rhizome was found to contain p-cymene, humulene, sabinene, terpinen-4-ol, and zerumbone." (11).
IN CROP MANAGEMENT: It shows promise to combat "blight diseases in legume crop plant." (8).
NATIVE RANGE: "This species was previously known throughout Indonesia, (peninsular) Malaysia (Borneo, Java, Sumatra) and Thailand (Valeton, 1918; Theilade, 1998; 1999), but now is a newly recorded species for Vietnam." (2). "During 2011–2015 ginger investigations in the central provinces (prov.) Vietnam, a ginger species, Zingiber ottensii Valeton was discovered in Mount Dầu (Quảng Ngãi prov.), Đông Giang District (Quảng Nam prov.) and Kỳ Sơn district, (Nghệ An prov.). " (2).
HABITAT: "Growing in secondary broad-leaved evergreen forest on granite, usually along road side, open areas and forest margin from 25 m to 1107 m." (2).
DESCRIPTION: Herbaceous, rhizomatous perennial. To 1.5 meters tall. (4). To 5' tall. (5). "Leafy shoots." (4). "Leaves elliptical, 35-40 cm × 6-8 cm." (4). Inflorescences turn a "deep burgundy red." (5). Flowers are a very light yellow color. "Fruit a red cylindrical capsule." (4,9). The (thick) rhizome flesh is "violet or pink inside." (2). "The rhizome is dark purple on cross-section." (8). Some Vietnamese wild plants have rhizome flesh that is "pale grey-purplish inside." (2). The rhizome has "a very pungent smell." (4). The website plantlust states that it goes dormant in the winter. (5).
DETAILED DESCRIPTION: Here's a detailed description from article a 2006 Vietnamese article in Bioscience Discovery (2): "Rhizomatous herb 1–1.9 m tall, forming clumps with 3–10 leaf shoots per each clump. Rhizome branched, 2.2–3 cm diam., 0.5–2 cm between leafy shoots arising from the same rhizome, externally light yellowish brown, internally pale grey-purplish, aromatic, covered with light brown-yellowish triangular scales, villose, soon decaying. Leafy shoots slightly arching, composed of 18–25 leaves, approximately basal 1/3 to 1/5 of pseudostem leafless, base swollen 1.5–2.3 cm diam.; bladeless sheaths 5–6, to 60 cm long, green, lower ones bright red, externally sparsely white villose, internally glabrous; leaf sheaths green to purplish-green tinge, white villose, densely towards the petiole; ligules 1.3–1.5 cm long, membranous, translucent dull white with small reddish dots, white villose, apex entire, papery; petiole reduced to a
light green pulvinus (3–4 mm long), densely white pubescent; lamina elliptic, 36–43 × 6–7.5 cm, adaxially green and glabrous, abaxially light green and sparsely white villose throughout, base obtuse, apex attenuate. Inflorescence arising directly from the rhizome, 27–45 cm long, with 2–3 flowers opening at a time; Peduncle close to the leafy shoot, radical, erect, 25–29 × 1.2–1.3 cm, covered by 9–12 sheathing bracts, tubular ca. 1/3 at the base, 4–4.5 × 2.5–4 cm (smaller towards the base), externally dull red, greenish-red towards the apex, pubescent, apex entire; spike ellipsoid to obloid-ellipsoid, 12–15 × 4.5–4.8 cm; bracts enclosing single flower, obovate, 36–38 × 30–32 mm (smaller towards the apex), convex with incurved apex, externally whitish ca. 1/3 of the base, dull red to greenish-red tinge
toward apex when flowering and turning bright red after flowering, pubescent, internally white, glabrous, apex truncate; bracteoles narrowly ovate, 32–35 × 12–15 mm, translucent white with reddish apex, externally sparsely white villose, internally glabrous, apex entire or short acute. Flowers exserted from bracts, 6.3–6.5 cm long; calyx tubular, 20–22 × 7–8 mm, translucent white, glabrous, unilateral incision 9–11 mm, apex acute; floral tube 40–42 mm long, widening gradually towards apex, white with pale yellowish towards the apical part, glabrous; dorsal corolla lobe narrowly ovate, 21–22 × 7–8 mm, pale yellowish with semi-translucent veins, glabrous throughout, apex acute; lateral corolla lobes narrowly ovate, 20–21 × 5–6 mm, pale yellowish, glabrous throughout, apex acute; labellum obovate-orbicular, 24–26 × 18–20 mm, pale yellow with faint red-brownish markings, margins undulating, apex rounded with a short cleft
ca. 2 mm; lateral staminodes obovate, 17–18 × 8–9 mm, connective to the labellum by basal 1/2, pale yellow with faint red-brownish markings, apex rounded. Stamen 24–25 mm long; filament sessile; anther 11–12 × 5–6 mm, connective tissue bright yellow, glabrous; anther thecae 10–11 mm long, dehiscing by longitudinal slits; anther crest 10–11 mm long (crest not straightened), wrapped around
stigma, yellow, glabrous. Style to 65 mm long (straightened), white, glabrous; stigma 1–2 × ca. 0.8 mm, white, ostiole front facing downwards, with ring of straight ciliates. Epigynous glands 2, subulate, 7–8 × 0.6–0.8 mm, cream. Ovaries 5–6 × ca. 5 mm, triangular-oblong, pale cream, sparely villose, trilocular with central placentation. Capsule oblong, 15 mm long, red."
HISTORY: "Zingiber ottensii was first discovered in a village near Buitenzorg, Java, Indonesia (Valeton,1918)." (2).
PHENOLOGY: "Flowering in August and fruiting in November." (2).
ANDY'S NOTE: The one's at my garden in Arcadia, Florida bloomed in October.
HARDINESS: USDA zones 8a to 11. (5).
NOTES: This species is "cultivated in Thailand and Malaysia." (7).