Hedychium coronarium

Hedychium coronarium

Butterfly Ginger or white garland-lily or white ginger lily (Hedychium coronarium J. Koenig, 1783) is a herbaceous species belonging to the Zingiberaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota Domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Magnoliophyta Division,
Liliopsida class,
Zingiberales Order,
Zingiberaceae family,
Genus Hedychium,
H. coronarium species.
The following terms are synonymous:
– Amomum filiforme Hunter ex Ridl .;
– Gandasulium coronarium (J.König) Kuntze;
– Gandasulium lingulatum (Hassk.) Kuntze;
– Hedychium chrysoleucum Hook .;
– Hedychium gandasulium Buch.-Ham. ex Wall .;
– Hedychium lingulatum Hassk .;
– Hedychium maximum Roscoe;
– Hedychium prophetae Buch.-Ham. ex Wall .;
– Hedychium spicatum Lodd .;
– Hedychium sulphureum Wall .;
– Kaempferia hedychium Lam ..

Etymology –
The term Hedychium comes from the Greek ἠδύς hedýs sweet, pleasant and from χιών chión neve.
The specific epithet coronarium comes from coróna corona, garland: suitable for composing garlands or with organs arranged in a crown.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Hedychium coronarium is a plant native to the Himalayan region of Nepal and India where it is known as Dolan champa (दोलन चम्पा) in Hindi, Takhellei angouba in Manipuri, Sontaka in Marathi and Suruli Sugandhi in Kannada.
This plant is present in East Asia: China, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia.
This plant was then introduced to Brazil in the period of slavery by African deportees who used its leaves as a mattress and is now so common that it is considered a weed.
It is a common plant in farmers’ gardens and is also found in the wild in the Sierra del Rosario in the province of Pinar del Río, in the Sierra de Escambray in the Province of Cienfuegos and in the Sierra Maestra.
The plant is also present in Cuba.
Its habitat is that of wetlands along streams, in marshy areas, in open wetlands and on the edge of shaded secondary forests, at altitudes from sea level up to 2,500 meters.

Description –
Hedychium coronarium is a robust, strongly aromatic perennial that grows from 1 to 2.5 meters in height from a fleshy rhizome of 25-50 mm in diameter.
The leaves are large, oblong to lanceolate, 16 – 60 cm long and 5 – 10 cm broad.
The very fragrant, candid white flowers are hermaphroditic, strongly irregular, composed of a tubular calyx and a tubular corolla. There are three stamens, two of which are sterile joined together. The ovary is inferior.
The flowers are gathered in inflorescences in which the large bracts stand out, arranged in a spiral.
The plant blooms during the summer.

Cultivation –
Hedychium coronarium is a plant of subtropical and tropical regions, not very resistant to cold, tolerating short-term temperatures that drop to about -2 ° C.
This plant requires rich, moist soil and a sunny or partial shade location.
It can grow in shallow water and often escapes cultivation and naturalizes. These plants can spread considerably by means of their rhizomes to form dense vegetation which can be quite difficult to eradicate.
The plant propagates by seed which is best sown as soon as it is mature in a slightly shaded location in containers in a nursery. Germination is best at 18 ° C; when the seedlings are large enough to be handled, they should be placed in individual pots; the transplant must then be carried out when the root system and the plant are perfectly formed.
The plant can also propagate by division of tufts; in this case the individual tufts must be divided with a spade or a sharp knife, making sure that each division has a growing sprout. The larger clumps can be planted directly in their permanent locations, but it is best to repot the smaller portions and grow them until they are established and rooted well.
Propagation by tuber is the easiest and this must be done by placing these in small holes, covered and immediately watered.

Customs and Traditions –
The flowers of the Hedychium coronarium have a delicious scent that is more pronounced in the evening.
From this plant we get an essential oil obtained from the flowers, appreciated in the creation of high quality perfumes.
The plant has food-related uses.
The buds and young flowers are steamed and eaten or used as a flavoring.
The roots are cooked and have been used as food during times of famine.
Hedychium coronarium also has medicinal uses.
The seed is aromatic, carminative and gastric.
The root is antirheumatic, exciting and tonic.
The ground rhizome is used as a febrifuge; a decoction is also prepared to treat pain in the chest and arms.
The essential oil obtained from the roots is carminative and has anti-helminthic indications.
From the basal part of the stem a decoction is obtained which is used for gargling in the treatment of tonsillitis or, alternatively, a part of the stem can be chewed.
The chewed stem is applied to the infected nostrils.
An infusion is prepared from the leaves which is used to treat abdominal disorders. Furthermore, this plant, together with Lantana camara, is used as a febrifuge.
Boiled leaves are applied to stiff and aching joints.
Among other uses, the stems are reported to contain 43-48% cellulose and are useful for papermaking.
The plant has been recommended as a possible source of paper pulp.
A flower extract is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a skin conditioner.
A root extract is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a skin conditioner, tonic, and masking agent.
The dried, powdered plant is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a skin conditioner.
The root contains 1.7% essential oil which is used medicinally.
The flowers are widely used in flower wreaths in Hawaii and Japan.
In addition, the plant is also widely cultivated as an ornamental plant in tropical and subtropical areas of the world.

Preparation Method –
The fragrance of Hedychium coronarium is usually extracted by steam distillation.
For medicinal uses, the ground rhizome is used as a febrifuge; a decoction is also prepared to treat pain in the chest and arms.
From the basal part of the stem a decoction is obtained which is used for gargling in the treatment of tonsillitis or, alternatively, a part of the stem can be chewed.
An infusion is prepared from the leaves which is used to treat abdominal disorders. Furthermore, this plant, together with Lantana camara, is used as a febrifuge.
Boiled leaves are applied to stiff and aching joints.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.



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