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Values of ginger lily

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HEDYCHIUM coronarium (white garland-lily or white ginger lily) is a perennial flowering plant in the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family native to the Eastern Himalayas region of India (Sikkim), Nepal and Bhutan through northernmost Myanmar and Thailand, southern China (Yunnan, Sichuan, Hunan, Guangxi and Guangdong) to Taiwan in the East. It is typically found growing in the forest understory where the pseudostems may reach 1-3m in height arising from below ground rhizomes and in its native environment flowering occurs between August and December.

It is commonly cultivated in warm temperate and subtropical regions of the world as an ornamental and cultivated in China for use in medicine and production of aromatic oil due to its strong characteristic fragrance of the flowers said to be reminiscent of jasmine. It is a perennial-green, growing in warmer climates but may also be grown in mild winter temperate regions of North America and Europe where it dies back in winter but re-emerges in spring.

 

Botanical name: Costus afer

English name: Ginger lily/bush cane

Igbo name: Okpete/Opete

Hausa name: Kakii-zuwaa

Yoruba name: Atare tete-egun

Description: A tall perennial, semi-woody herb with leaf cane about 3m high, bearing terminal inflorescence of white and yellow flowers, of the forst zone in moist places.

 

Actions: Diuretic, aphrodisiac actions.

Part used: Plant, leaf, root and stem.

Chemical constituents: Alkaloids

 

Medicinal uses

  1. Plant is used for headache and friction for oedemas and fever.
  2. Sap is used for various eye infections.
  3. Leaf sap is used in nasal instillation for headache and can also be drunk for malaria.
  4. Root is used for cough.
  5. It is used as a remedy for sleeping sickness.
  6. Mashed to a quick paste for abscesses and ulcers.
  7. It is also used for constipation.
  8. Boiled and taken for syphilis.
  9. Decoction is taken for leprosy and gonorrhoea.
  10. Stem is used as cough medicine.
  11. Decoction is used for rheumatism.
  12. Used to relieve urethral discharge.
  13. It is taken for malaria.
  14. Used to clear urine.
  15. Used against attacks of nausea.
  16. Young stem is sucked to quench thirst.

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