This is a native of tropical Asia, occurring up to an altitude of 1200 m. It is commonly known as shampoo ginger; also known as pinecone ginger in the southern United States (see Figure 17.3). The inflorescence resembles a tight pinecone and releases a thick juice when squeezed. This juice is used to make the Paul Mitchel and Freemans' Shampoo.
Pseudostems grow to 0.6 to 2 m, the leaves are sessile or petiolate, and the rhizomes are light yellow inside. The inflorescence, produced at the tip of a long peduncle, is green when young. The flowers are white in color, and three to four are produced at a time. The color of the inflorescence changes from green to red on aging and lasts for many weeks. Hence, it is widely used as a cut flower. Capsule is ellipsoid, seeds are black.
Some variegated forms of this species are also grown in gardens. The variegated form, called Darceyi, is very popular in the United States. Another form, called Twice as Nice, produces both basal inflorescences and occasional terminal spikes on a very compact plant.
Srivastava (2003) studied the pharmacognosy of this species on which the following discussion is based. The rhizome is 7 to 15 cm long, 1 to 2.5 cm broad, and is irregularly branched. In commerce, the rhizome is found in pieces 4 to 7 cm long, which are
irregular, wrinkled, brown, and showing a large central pith. The dried rhizome is hard, brittle, with a fragrant odor and an aromatic, spicy taste. A transverse section of the rhizome shows a single, layered epidermis, below which are 7 to 10 layers of thin-walled cork cells. The cortex consists of several layers of parenchymatous cells, with intercellular air spaces, and oil cells are present. The endodermis is made of a single layer of cells. The stele consists of a broad central zone of ordinary parenchyma cells. Closed collateral vascular bundles are found in a circle just inside the endodermis. Throughout the remaining region of the stele, closed collateral bundles, partially covered by sclerenchy-matous fibers, are scattered. The tracheids are nonlignified and have reticulate, spiral, or scalariform thickening on the wall. The very tender rhizomes are eaten. The decoction of the rhizomes is used to cure various kinds of diseases.
Tewtraki et al. (1997) analyzed the water-distilled volatile oil composition of Z. zerumbet by gas chromatography and MS. The main component of the volatile oil was found to be zerumbone (8-oxohumulene) (56.48 percent). Other components in significant amounts were 1,8-cineole (1.07 percent), o-caryophyllene (2.07 percent), a-humulene (25.70 percent), caryophyllene oxide (1.41 percent), humulene epoxide (3.62 percent), humulene epoxide 11 (2.45 percent). Also, 3,4-o-diacetylafzelin and zerumbone epoxide were isolated from rhizomes (Rastogi and Mehrotra, 1993).
The most studied chemical compound is the sesquiterpene zerumbone, which is reported to be a potent inhibitor of a tumor promoter, the 12-o-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate-induced Epstein-Barr virus activation. The IC50 value of zerumbone (0.14 fxM) was noticeably lower than those of the antitumor promoters hitherto obtained (Murakami et al., 1999). Murakami et al. (2002) reported that zerumbone has potent anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive qualities. They found that zerumbone effectively suppressed tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-induced superoxide anion generation from both nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (reduced) (NADH)-oxidase in dimethyl sulfoxide-differentiated HL-60 human acute promyelocytic leukemia cells and xanthine oxidase in AS 52 Chinese hamster ovary cells. The combined lipopolysaccharide and interferon-gamma-stimulated protein expressions of inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase (Cox)-2, together with the release of tumor necrosis factor (alpha) in
RAW 264.7 mouse macrophages, were also markedly diminished. These suppressive effects were accompanied with a combined decrease in the medium concentrations of nitrite and prostaglandin E2, whereas the expression level of Cox-1 was unchanged.
Zerumbone inhibited the proliferation of human colonic adenocarcinoma cell lines in a dose-dependent manner, whereas the growth of the normal human dermal (2FO-C25) and colon (CCD-18CO) fibrobasts was less affected. It also induced apoptosis in COLO205 cells, as detected by the dysfunction of the mitochondria transmembrane, the Annexin N-detected translocation of phosphatidyl serine, and the chromatin condensation. Alpha-humulene, a structural analogue lacking only the carbonyl group in zerum-bone, was virtually inactive in all experiments, indicating that the alpha, beta-unsatur-ated carbonyl group in zerumbone may play some pivotal role in interactions with an unidentified target molecule. The results strongly support the claim that zerumbone in a food phytochemical (neutraceutical), has a potential use in anti-inflammation, chemo-prevention, and chemotherapy strategies. Dai et al. (1997) reported that zerumbone has a potent HIV-inhibitory action.
Z. amaricanus is a medicinally important species. The rhizome is small, yellow, hard, weakly fragrant, and bitter. The propagation is done through rhizome cuttings. It prefers shady, humid soils rich in humus. It grows wild in teak forests in Southeast Asia, where it has several medicinal uses. The old rhizomes are used as an ingredient in various traditional medicines. The pounded rhizome is usually used as a poultice for women after delivery. It has also gained importance as an attractive garden plant and is grown widely in the USA. The young rhizomes are eaten as a vegetable in Java (Prance and Sarket, 1977).
This plant grows up to 1.5 m. The yellow flowers come from a striking red cone produced from the base of the plant. The rhizome is strongly aromatic and fibrous, resembling Z. amaricanus in taste and aroma. The specific epithet is derived from the strong aroma of the rhizome. It is considered to be native of tropical Asia and is calledpuyang in Indonesia. Z. aromaticum is also widely cultivated in kitchen gardens and as an ornamental plant.
Its fresh and tender shoots and flowers are eaten and used to flavor foods. The rhizomes are used as an ingredient in folk medicines as well as for poultice (Prance and Sarket, 1977). From the rhizome of this species, zerumbone and 3",4'"-o-diacetylafzelin were isolated. Zerumbone exhibited HIV-inhibitory and cytotoxic activities (Dai et al., 1997).
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