Medical Herbs Catalogue



Botanical Name: Curcuma zedoaria (ROSCOE)
Family: N.O. Zingiberaceae

Synonyms: Turmeric. Zitterwurzel.
Part Used: Dried rhizome.
Habitat: East Indies and Cochin-China.

Description: There are two kinds of Zedoary, the long and the round, distinguished by the names of radix zedoaria longae (Curcuma Zerumbet, the Long Zedoary of the shops) and radix zedoaria rotundae. The long is in slices, or oval fingers; the round in transverse, rounded sections, twisted and wrinkled, greyish-brown in colour, hairy, rough, and with few root scars. The odour is camphoraceous, and the taste warm, aromatic, and slightly bitter, resembling ginger. The five commercial varieties come from China, Bengal, Madras, Java and Cochin-China, and vary in size and colour. When chewed they turn the saliva yellow. The powder is coloured brown-red by alkalis and boric acid. The Zerumbet has been erroneously confused with the round Zedoary.

Curcuma Starch, or East Indian Arrowroot, is prepared from the rhizomes of Curcuma angustifolia.

Some varieties of Zedoary are used as an ingredient in condiments and curries.

Constituents: A volatile oil, when distilled with water, fixed oil, pungent resin, curcumin (an orange-yellow, tasteless, resinous principle), starch, mucilage, and an alkaloid.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Aromatic, stimulant. Useful in flatulent colic and debility of the digestive organs, though it is rarely employed, as ginger gives the same, or better results. It is used as an ingredient in bitter tincture of Zedoary, antiperiodic pills (with and without aloes) bitter tincture, antiperiodic tincture (with and without aloes).

Dosages: From 10 grains to 1/2 drachm. Fluid extract, 10 to 30 drops. Infusion of 1/2 OZ. to a pint of boiling water, 1 tablespoonful.