Thai black galingale (Kaempferia parviflora Wall. ex Baker)

Kaempferia parviflora Wall. ex Baker, also known as Thai black galingale, Thai ginseng or Cekur Hitam in Malay and Krachaidam in Thailand, is an important medicinal plant from the Zingiberaceae family. K. parviflora is a perennial and herbaceous stemless plant with dark purple rhizomes with a taste that has spiciness to it, but much more subdued than ginger. It is originally found in the North and Northeast of Thailand. The leaves of K. parviflora is approximately 6 to 8 cm long, oblong to lanceolate in shape with red margins, and produces purple and white flowers (Labrooy et al., 2013; Labrooy et al., 2020). In the Zingiberaceae family, Zingiber officinale and Curcuma longa are commonly used in culinary to enhance the taste and aroma of the dishes.

Nowadays, natural product derived medicine is preferable to modern medicine because of its low side effects. K. parviflora is widely used as an alternative medicine in treating various types of diseases including fungal infections, gastrointestinal disorders, and decreased vitality and allergies (Tewtrakul et al., 2008; Trisomboon, 2009). In several studies conducted on K. parviflora, the extract of this plant has potential as an anti-inflammatory, anti-allergies, anti-cancer, anti-plasmodial, anti-fungal, anti-HIV-1 protease activity, and antispasmodic effects (Sookkongwaree et al., 2006; Wattanapitayakul et al., 2008; Sae-wong et al., 2009; Saokaew et al., 2016). It is known as health-promoting herbs and traditionally used as a folk medicine for managing a variety of diseases, including ulcers, gout, colic disorder, abscesses, and osteoarthritis.

This phenomenon has led to the demand for medicinal plants including K. parviflora, to increase drastically. This plant undergoes a vegetative stage for three months and a reproductive stage for two months. This plant produces flowers, but the flowers are inconspicuous and do not produce seeds (Labrooy et al., 2020). The long dormancy period and the inability to set seed affect raw material production for K. parviflora. However, the demand for K. parviflora rhizomes in Malaysia can hardly be fulfilled due to the scarcity of planting materials (Labrooy et al., 2013). Propagation of K. parviflora via conventional propagation is time consuming due to the long dormancy period after senescence, which is approximately 5 to 7 months during November to May according to the Malaysian climate (Techaprasan et al., 2010). To overcome the limited supply of K. parviflora raw materials, plant tissue culture technique plays a pivotal role in cloning the black ginger at mass scale.


Labrooy, C., Thohirah, L. A., Johnson, S., Nur Ashikin, P. A. and Maheran, A. A. (2013). Morphological description for kunyit hitam (Kaempferia parviflora) and breaking bud dormancy with BAP and Ethephon treatment. Transactions of the Malaysian Society of Plant Physiology, 22, 139-141.

Labrooy, C., Abdullah, T. L. and Stanslas, J. (2020). Influence of N6-Benzyladenine and sucrose on in vitro direct regeneration and microrhizome induction of Kaempferia parviflora Wall. Ex Baker, an important ethnomedicinal herb of Asia. Tropical Life Sciences Research, 31(1), 123-139.

Sae-wong, C., Tansakul, P. and Tewtrakul, S. (2009). Anti-inflammatory mechanism of Kaempferia parviflora in murine macrophage cells (RAW 264.7) and in experimental animals. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 124(3), 576-580.

Saokaew, S., Wilairat, P., Raktanyakan, P., Dilokthornsakul, P., Dhippayom, T., Kongkaew, C. and Chaiyakunapruk, N. (2016). Clinical effects of krachaidum (Kaempferia parviflora): A systematic review. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 22(3), 413-428.

Sookkongwaree, K., Geitmann, M., Roengsumran, S., Petsom, A. and Danielson, U. H. (2006). Inhibition of viral proteases by Zingiberaceae extracts and flavones isolated from Kaempferia parviflora. Die Pharmazie-An International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 61(8), 717-721.

Techaprasan, J., Klinbunga, S., Ngamriabsakul, C. and Jenjittikul, T. (2010). Genetic variation of Kaempferia (Zingiberaceae) in Thailand based on chloroplast DNA (psbA-trnH and petA-psbJ) sequences. Genetics and Molecular Research, 9(4), 1957-1973.

Tewtrakul, S., Subhadhirasakul, S. and Kummee, S. (2008). Anti-allergic activity of compounds from Kaempferia parviflora. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 116(1), 191-193.

Trisomboon, H. (2009). Kaempferia parviflora, a Thai herbal plant, neither promote reproductive function nor increase libido via male hormone. Thai Journal of Physiological Sciences, 21, 83-86.

Wattanapitayakul, S. K., Chularojmontri, L., Herunsalee, A., Charuchongkolwongse, S. and Chansuvanich, N. (2008). Vasorelaxation and antispasmodic effects of Kaempferia parviflora ethanolic extract in isolated rat organ studies. Fitoterapia, 79(3), 214-216.