Alpinia bicalyculata SessÃ© & Moc.
Alpinia exaltata (L.f.) Roem. & Schult.
Alpinia macrantha Poepp. & Endl.
Alpinia pacoseroca Jacq.
Alpinia renealmia (Lam.) Sm.
Alpinia tubulata Ker Gawl.
Amomum renealmia Lam.
Amomum repens Lam.
Ethanium bracteosum (Griseb.) Kuntze
Ethanium exaltatum (L.f.) Kuntze
Ethanium macranthum (Poepp. & Endl.) Kuntze
Ethanium pacoseroca (Jacq.) Kuntze
Gethyra tubulata (Ker Gawl.) Sweet
Peperidium tubulatum Lindl.
Renealmia bracteosa Griseb.
Renealmia coelobractea K.Schum.
Renealmia exaltata L.f.
Renealmia foliosa S.Moore
Renealmia goyazensis K.Schum. & Gagnep.
Renealmia lativagina J.F.Macbr.
Renealmia macrantha Poepp. & Endl.
Renealmia occidentalis pacoderoca (Jacq.) Petersen
Renealmia pacoseroca (Jacq.) Horan.
Renealmia raja Petersen
Renealmia rubroflava K.Schum.
Siphotria squamosa Raf.
Plant growing in native habitat - note the fruits are produced near the base of the plant
Photograph by: Dick Culbert
Renealmia alpinia is a herbaceous perennial plant that can grow from 1 - 6 metres tall from a rhizome that can be 10 - 30cm thick. The plant often forms large colonies[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine, food flavouring and source of a dye.
S. America - Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas; C. America - Panama to Mexico; Caribbean - Trinidad to Puerto Rico.
Wet thickets or dense mixed forest, often forming large colonies, at elevations up to 1,200 metres in Guatemala[
]. Secondary forest, inundated forest, swamps and stream banks; usually below 500 metres, occasionally ascending to 1,500 metres[
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The light green foliage has a very gingery scent when crushed[
The flesh of the fruit is mixed with rice meal, or can be added to soups, where it imparts a pleasant flavour[
]. The ellipsoid to subglobose, black-purple fruit is 15 - 35mm long and 8 - 20mm wide with a fleshy wall about 2 - 8mm thick[
The leaves are wrapped round food when it is baked in order to impart their flavour into the food[
An oil obtained from the fruits can be used in cooking[
The rhizome is carminative, stomachic and tonic[
]. It is used in a tea to treat heart problems manifested by shortness of breath[
]. A decoction is drunk to induce vomiting and relieve stomach pains[
]. It is used in a syrup with sugar as a remedy for chest colds[
A root decoction is used on swellings, sprains, sores, wounds and for stomach pains and malnutrition[
]. Decoctions or external baths of the rhizome are used by traditional healers for treating snakebites[
]. The juice of the rhizome is used to treat eye diseases and for treating strained backs[
]. An infusion is used as a wash for cleaning ulcers[
The shoots are used for treating snakebite and stomachaches[
The purple-red juice from the berries is used to treat eye diseases[
The seeds are anthelmintic and aromatic[
An infusion of the leaves is used as a treatment for dysentery[
]. The leaves are used in the treatment of hypertension[
A leaf poultice or bath is used on swellings, sprains, sores, wounds and for stomach pains and malnutrition[
]. A decoction of the leaves is used as a fever-bath for treating pulmonary conditions and typhoid, and to wash the hair in order to remove dandruff[
]. An infusion is used in a herbal bath for strengthening the nerves[
The leaves contain diterpenes and proanthocyanins[
An ethanolic extract of the rhizomes demonstrated moderate to full neutralising capacity of Bothrops atrox venom within 48 hours when it was injected into mice. The neutralisation was attributed to antiphospholipase A2 activity[
The ripe fruits produce a purple dye that is used for dying fibres of plants species such as Astrocaryum that are used in weaving[
The dye from the fruits is used as ink for writing and for skin tattoos[
A yellow-orange dye is obtained from the root[
A decoction of the leaves is used to wash the hair in order to remove dandruff[
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