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Monday, June 7, 2010


Originating from Indonesia, locally referred to as Bunga Kantan, the Torch Ginger or Wax Flower is one of the bigger plant species of the ginger family. 
This plant is known to grow in large clumps reaching a height of seven meters. Its long and broad leaves grow along the pseudostum - a "false stem, " may look like a stem but in actual fact, the are tightly packed leafbases. 

The cone - shaped inflorescence at the top of the stem has deep pink bracts carrying fragrant crimson flowers with white or yellow margins. The plant is harvested when the bud is about to open to reveal the ripe fruits that are reddish in colour.

The plant is easily cultivated by rhizome cuttings, although it can also be sown from seeds. The crop grows well on damp sandy loam or minerals soils with high organic matter content but not if water logged. The plant only flowers a year after planting. 

It is believed that this herb is good for : 

- Locally the flower is used to flavour the famous laksa Kedah, or eaten raw as ulam ( raw vegetables with dip ) or kerabu ( mixed raw vegetables ) with rice.

- Malays believe that taking the raw inflorescence could cure diabetes and ease high blood pressure.

- Shredded inflorescence with betel leaf is said to expel 'winds' from gastro - intestinal system.

- The leaves are boiled for herbal baths to eliminate body odour.

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