All about Fingerroot

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Fingerroot Quick Facts
Name: Fingerroot
Scientific Name: Boesenbergia rotunda (L.) Mansf
Origin Native to China and Southeast Asia
Health benefits Prevents Helicobacter pylori, Prevent bacteria, Helpful for HIV patients, Inhibits giardiasis, Prevent cavity
Fingerroot, also known as Chinese ginger, Chinese key, Chinese-keys is the low herb which creeps in soil. It has rhizomes which is thick, aromatic and yellow brown of size 5-30 x 0.5-2 cm in size. The petiole of the plant is hairless, grooved and 7-16 cm long. Leaves are lanceolate and erect in shape with pointed tip and smooth surface. The leaves have light green color of 5-11 cm wide. The flowers are pink to yellow to white which is tubular and 50-52 mm. It grows in lowland tropical regions. The flowering time occurs in January to February and April to June. It grows well in humid and hot climate. Fingerroot is native to Southeast Asia and China but also cultivated in India, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand.

Health Benefits of Fingerroot

Fingerroot is a vital ingredient used in many Asian countries and also used as a condiment in food. Traditionally it is used for the treatment of various illnesses as a tonic for childbirth, preventive remedy for leucorrhea and beauty aid for teenage girls. Rhizomes are used for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. Leaves are used for alleviating poisoning and allergies. It is also used to cure infections. The study shows that the isolated bioactive compounds found in fingerroot helps to treat various diseases. It is used to accelerate the development of stronger drugs to counteract diseases in future.

  1. Prevents Helicobacter pylori

Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria which is the cause for dyspepsia, gastritis and peptic ulcer and also associated with the development of colon cancer and gastric. Fingerroot prevents the infection of Helicobacter pylori. The oil extracted from the roots helps to exhibit anti-Helicobacter activities. B.rotunda has flavonoid components that serve as a drug for inhibiting infection caused by H.pylori.

  1. Prevent bacteria

Pathogenic bacteria are the cause for promoting diseases in humans as well as plant. The study shows that Fingerroot has high inhibitory activity against B.cereus, L.monocytogenes and S. Aureus. The extract inhibits the spoilage bacteria such as L.cellobiosus and L.plantarum. It also possess antimicrobial activities against Staphylococcus strains.

  1. Helpful for HIV patients

Amoeba Entamoeba histolytica causes the infection called Amoebiasis that causes chronic and acute diarrhea in the patients of HIV. It is used to treat the diseases at low cost.  The chloroform extracts of B.rotunda, A.galangal and B.lupulina helps to inhibit propagation of amobeas.

  1. Inhibits giardiasis

B.rotunda has inhibitory activity against Giardia lamblia which is the cause for giardiasis that is the inflammation of small intestine that causes nutrient deficiencies and diarrhea. It might cause chronic diarrhea in HIV patients. The chloroform and methanol extracts contains bioactive compounds that helps to prevent giardiasis.

  1. Prevent cavity

The oral bacteria named Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus is the cause for tooth decay and dental caries. It produces bacteria in the presence of fructose and sucrose that damages the tooth. The extract of B.rotunda has bactericidal activity against S.mutans that could be used as a mouthwash or applied to toothpaste.

  1. Treat ulcers

Fingerroot is a medicine used for the treatment of ulcers in Indonesia as well as Thailand. The methanolic extract of B.rotunda provides antiulcer effect and has pinostrobin that exhibits cytoprotective effects on the rats induced with ulcers. It lowers the mucosal content. Pinostrobin has antioxidant activity that could lower the level of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances.

  1. Obesity

This has become a common threat to humans globally. It is caused due to accumulation of fat due to improper balance of energy and lipid metabolism. It could also cause cardiovascular diseases and liver diseases. The study shows that the improvement in serum lipid profiles and reduction in fatty liver was shown in mice.

  1. Prevent colon and breast cancer

Colon cancer and breast cancer has become the leading cause for cancer deaths. Although the research is going on for the effective treatment or anticancer drug to counteract these diseases, due to the lack of knowledge on these cancers physiology, researchers are still far. The current researches are being focused on the natural herbs that act as anticancer drug. Fingerroot is one of them. It is found that Zingiber aromaticum and B.rotunda has the ability to exhibit the growth of colon cancer cells and breast cancer cells.

  1. Treat leukemia

The rhizome of Fingerroot has antileuckemic activity and possess five flavonoid derivatives , pinocembrin, pinostrobin, alpinetin, pinocembrin, boesenbergin and cardamonin that could inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

  1. Heal wounds

Rhizome of Fingerroot has ethanolic extracts that helps to accelerate the wound healing process in rats. The study shows that the wounds which are dressed with the extract of rhizomes as well as intrasite gel healed quickly. It lead to lower appearance of scar. It prevents mitigation and treats various diseases.

Traditional uses

  • It is used for the treatment of illnesses such as muscle pain, rheumatism, peptic ulcer, gastrointestinal disorder, dental caries, dermatitis, diarrhea, wounds and diuretic.
  • The tonic made from roots is used as carminative, stomachic and an aid for colds, sore throat and coughs.
  • It is useful for rheumatoid ailments.
  • The rhizome is helpful for the people with erectile dysfunction, sexual problems and low sperm counts.
  • It prevents the chances of dengue fever.
  • Apply rhizomes and crushed roots to the painful body parts to ease rheumatic pain.
  • It is also used internally to eliminate flatulence, improve digestion and appetite.
  • It is a remedy for ulcers and dry mouths.
  • It is useful for muscle pains, dysentery, diarrhea and rheumatism.
  • It is also used to increase male libido.
  • It maintains balance in blood pressure.
  • It helps to relieve dysentery.
  • It assists the function of kidneys.
  • Roots and rhizomes are useful for treating ringworms.
  • It is used to cure skin diseases.
  • It is used for lung and sinus issues.
  • It assist in detoxification of the body.


  • Seek medical help if you experience allergic reactions such as difficulty in breathing, hives, swelling of lips, face, throat and tongue.
  • Side effects such as diarrhea, heartburn, heavier menstrual periods, stomach discomfort and skin irritation might be experienced.
  • Use with the consultancy of doctor.

Culinary uses    

  • In Indonesia, it is used in Javanese cuisines.
  • It is used as an ingredient in dish named kaeng tai pla.
  • It is frozen or pickled in west.
  • It is used in Thai cuisine named krachai.
  • Rhizomes are consumed as vegetables.

Fingerroot facts

Fingerroot is a medicinal as well as culinary herb also called Chinese ginger that is native to China and Southeast Asia. As the shape of rhizome resembles fingers, it has got named as fingerroot. It is known as krachai in Thai. This plant belongs to Zingiberaceae family. This plant is either perennial or biennial that has tall leaves and pink to purple flowers.

Name Fingerroot uses and benefits
Scientific Name Boesenbergia rotunda (L.) Mansf
Native Native to China and Southeast Asia. It is also cultivated in India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Common/English Name Chinese ginger, Chinese key,  Fingerroot, Lesser ginger
Name in Other Languages
  • Cambodian: k’cheay;
  • Chinese: Āo chún jiāng (凹唇姜), Suo shi, Yao shi;
  • Czech: Číňan zázvor;
  • Dutch: Temoe koentji;
  • English: Chinese ginger, Chinese key, Chinese-keys, Fingerroot, Lesser ginger, rotund boesenbergia, Temu Kunci, kunchi, Chinese keys, Resurrection lily, Finger root, Tropical crocus, Lesser galangal
  • French: Petits doigts
  • German: Chinesischer Ingwer, Gewürzlilie, Fingerwurz;
  • Hungarian: Kínai gyömbér;
  • Indonesian: Temu kunci;
  • Japanese: Gajutu (ガジュツ);
  • Khmer: Khchiey;
  • Korean: ping-geo-ru-teu, Pinggeo-rutu, Pinngo-rutu, ping-geoluteu (핑거루트);
  • Laotian: Houo ka sai, Neng Kieng, Kasay;
  • Lithuanian: Besenbergija;
  • Malay: Kunci, Temu kunchi;
  • Sinhalese: haran kaha (හරං කහ);
  • Thai: Ka chai, Khingsai khingkaeng, Ka chai, Ka-aen, Khingsai khingkaeng, kra chaai, Kra chai, Wan-phraathit, Wan-phra’a-thit, Krachāy (กระชาย), K̄hing sāy k̄hing khæng (ขิงซาย ขิงแคง);
  • Vietnamese: Bong nga truat, Ngai num kho, Cu ngai;
Plant Size Height: 50 cm
Rhizomes Bright yellow, aromatic, ovoid to globose
Leaves Oblong, ovate;  Wide: 12 cm
Flower Pink
Flavor/aroma Spicy


Boesenbergia rotunda (L.) Mansf





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