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Pure Appl. Chem., Vol. 70, No. 11, pp. 2111, 1998

Thai Zingiberaceae: Species diversity and their uses*

Puangpen Sirirugsa

Faculty of Science, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Thailand
Email: spuangpe@ratree.psu.ac.th

Abstract: Thailand is a country of high plant biodiversity as a result of its geographical position in the tropics and the climatic variation between north and south. There are approximately 10,000 species and 400 families of vascular plants in Thailand.

The family Zingiberaceae in Thailand includes some 200 species of rhizomatous, herbaceous plants which are important sources of medicines and spices. However, the systematics of this family still poses some problems, because it is often difficult to handle the material when it is in a dried state. Flowers of the ginger family which are the most important taxonomic character usually do not last long and are often missed. Commercially and medicinally important species include Zingiber officinale (ginger) and Curcuma longa (turmeric).

Zingiber officinale, for example, has been used for many years in traditional forms of medicine to treat a variety of disease and, more recently, scientific study has sought to reveal the bioactive compounds of the rhizome. It has been found, amongst other benefits, to be effective in the treatment of thrombosis, sea sickness, migraine and rheumatism.

The lecture includes information about the taxonomy of the family Zingiberaceae, habitats of the various species and a discussion of the uses of some representative species.

Download full text (8pages) - PDF file (26KB)

* Invited lecture presented at the International Conference on Bioversity and Bioresources: Conservation and Utilization, 23-37 November 1997, Phuket, Thailand.

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