Pharmacological studies of Kaempferia galanga

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Plants as medicinal and aromatic products are recommended to ensure the legal and sustainable use of the taxa towards beneficial products. Future research in wild-harvested plants and certification into trade from plant materials with sustainable sources are highly required (Lange 1998).

Plants have been an excellent source of medicine since ancient times. The various plants studied in Ayurveda and other Indian literature provides sources in treatment of various human ailments. India contains nearly 45,000 plant species and amongst them some thousands have been claimed to acquire medicinal properties. The research conducted in last few decades has references on medicinal plants from ancient literature. The traditionally important medicinal plants provide information about extensive treatment of ailments from ancient literature.

Some of the Indian plants that are most effective and commonly studied in ageing diseases and their complications are listed as follows: Allium sativum, Aloe vera, Allium cepa, Coccinia indica, Cajanus cajan, Ocimum sanctum, Ficus bengalenesis, Caesalpinia bonducella, Gymnema sylvestre, Pterocarpus marsupium, Swertia chirayita, Momordica charantia, Syzigium cumini, Trigonella foenum graecum, and Tinospora cordifolia. Most of the plants had shown varying degree of biological activities like antioxidant and antimicrobial activities apart from development of cure for ageing diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Cancer, Kidney stones, Arteriosclerosis etc. (Grover et al., 2002).

Table 2.1 shows the pharmacological studies like antioxidant activity, tyrosinase inhibition activity, antimicrobial activity and tumoricidal or amebicidal activity etc., which have been conducted on K. galanga from previous literature.

Table 2.1: Pharmacological studies of Kaempferia galanga from previous literature


Type of activity



Antimicrobial activity

Parvez et al., 2005; Norajit et al., 2007; Sato et al., 1996; Kochuthressia et al., 2012; Sini and Malathy, 2005


Antioxidant and

Tyrosinase inhibition activity

Chan et al., 2008; Wang et al., 2011; Rui 2010


Tumoricidal or Amebicidal activity

Chu et al., 1998


Anti-inflammatory and Analgesic activity

Sulaiman et al., 2008; Amberkar et al., 2011


Sedative activity

Huang et al., 2008


Anti-nociceptive activity

Ridtitid et al., 2008; Sae-wong et al., 2008


Antitumor activity

Kirana et al., 2003; Murakami et al., 1994


Wound healing activity

Shanbhag et al., 2006; Nagori et al., 2011


Anti-allergic activity

Madaka and Tewtrakul, 2011



He et al., 2012



Yuliana et al., 2011



Lakshmanan et al., 2011



Jagadish et al., 2010


Antimalarial activities

Thiengsusuk et al., 2013; Kamaraj et al., 2009


Antiulcer effect

Siqueira et al., 2012

More than 750 medicinal plants from India are described previously by (Nair and Mohanan, 1998). The main emphasis is on Ayurvedic, Unani and Sidha systems of herbal medicine. Tribal medical treatments using plants has been conducted on chest pain, cuts and wounds, fever, cough, whooping cough, headache, eye diseases, dysentery, ringworm, intestinal worms, snake bite, dog bite, jaundice, epilepsy, rheumatism, sprains, throat pain, earache, asthma, leprosy, menorrhagia, women's delivery care, birth control, increasing breast milk production, dysuria, kidney stones, sores, constipation and mumps has been reported in plants from ancient to modern literatures (Nair and Mohanan, 1998).

Throughout the ages, plants have provided humans with the needs in terms of food, shelter, clothing, fragrances, flavors and medicines. The plants formed the basis for complicated traditional medicine systems like Ayurvedic, Unani and Chinese medicine, are evident from formal healing systems. The various diseases are treated from ancient times by using some important drugs still which are derived from these systems. In the present decades, the different sources and classes of new compounds discovered from various medicinal plants and guided by ethnobotany and ethnopharmacognosy being used by the various chemists. Based on phytomedicine, the flora of the tropics by good value of its diversity has been played a significant role in providing new leads to a system (Gurib-Fakim, 2006).

The medicinal plants used as a source for relief from nearly 130 drugs, all with single chemical entities that are extracted for disease state can be traced back over nearly five millennia in plants, or modified synthetically has been documented in the early civilization in China and India (Thomson, 1978). Nearly 60,000 years ago, ancient civilization from Neanderthals is using medicinal plants that have rich sources of medicines. People from Iraq used plants as antimicrobial agents from ancient times. Plants used medicinally are still widely applied as ethnomedicine all around the world (Mahesh and Satish, 2008).

The potential of higher plants as source of medicine are used from extract as raw drugs possess varied drugs and are mostly unexplored. Nearly 250,000-500,000 plant species have been used for medicinal properties estimated that include from different plant parts. A small percentage of plant parts like root, stem, rhizomes, flower, fruit, twigs exudates and modified plants been investigated in phytochemistry. Some of the raw drugs have been investigated on biological or pharmacological screening in slighter quantities by the local communities and in folk medicines. Thus, phytochemical investigation of healers from local people used many various raw drugs that are collected from plants will expose only a very lean range of its action in larger quantities and traded in the market as the raw constituents. The pharmacological screening of phytocompounds from ancient times from many herbal industries provides superior medicines for control and cure of various diseases (Zain 2012).

The nature has been a good source of medicinal agents since times immemorial as virtual compounds in medicine (Gaikwad et al., 2011). An importance of herbs for human ailments cannot be over emphasized by the hospital management for diseases. The earlier literatures on plant kingdom harbors in an exhaustible source of active ingredients are very useful in the management of many intractable diseases (Anibijuwon and Udeze, 2009).

Many substances appear to be inactive as isolated constituents but as active components in being combined forms for herbal remedies. The bioactive phytocomponents that are isolated and pure active components like alkaloids, anthroquinone, catachol, flavonoids, phenols, saponins, steriods, triterpenoids and tannins give the plant an absolute superiority, safety and competence for biological protection (Parekh and Chanda, 2007; Babayi et al., 2007; Suresh et al., 2008).

A large number of medicinal plants and prescriptions have been mentioned in Chinese and Indian medical literatures aimed to control ageing processes as well in the prevention of diseases for the prolongation of life-span (Xiao et al., 1993). By resources of modern scientific research, a strategy towards anti-ageing drugs can to be investigated. The selection of the candidates based on the ethnopharmacological usages is one of the successful routes followed by phytochemical and biological investigation in connection with anti-ageing experimentations. A record of Chinese medicinal plants used as or related to the anti-ageing agents and medicinal drugs to control disease are Fructus Lycii, Ganoderma, Radix Cynanchi auriculati, Radix Polygoni multiflori and Herba Epimedii (Lv et al., 2010).

The history for involvement of plants to medicine is known with reference as sources of novel drug entities such as artemisinin, etoposide and taxol (Phillipson 2001). High through-put robotics have been developed in the search for compounds differentiation from plant extracts associated to chromatographic separation techniques leads to the isolation of biologically active molecules where chemical structures are determining by modern spectroscopic methods (Zhang 2005). Research and collaboration in phytochemistry is essential for providing good results in control of ageing and disease.

The use of medicines in the form of phytocompounds from plant extracts are used in dementia therapy that varies according to different cultural traditions. In China, pharmacological properties of plants and their mechanisms have not been widely investigated in the perspective of present models in ageing diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson’s, Arteriosclerosis, Kidney stones, cancer etc (Perry et al., 1999). A phytocompound “gingkolides” isolated from Gingko biloba has shown neuroprotective, cholinergic and antioxidant activities appropriate to Alzheimer's disease mechanisms. The therapeutic efficiency is more and the side effects are minimal with extracts of Ginkgo in Alzheimer's disease compared to presently prescribed drugs such as donepezil or tacrine (Perry et al., 1998).

The earlier literature from medicinal herbs has a variety of medicinal plants like Melissa officinalis (balm) and Salvia officinalis (sage) that are showing memory-improving properties with a wide range of biological activities like astringent, anti-bacterial, fungistatic, virustatic, eupeptic, anti-hydrotic and cholinergic activities (Zhang 2004). The effective disease treatment based on modern discovery of clinically appropriate pharmacological activity in plants include the interaction of alkaloid opioids from Papaver somniferum with endogenous opiate receptors. Hence the recent advances in understanding the ageing diseases has to re-explore the historical records for some new directions in drug development from the ancient knowledge on medicine (Zhu et al., 2003).

The earlier literature from medicinal herbs has a variety of medicinal plants like Melissa officinalis (balm) and Salvia officinalis (sage) that are showing memory-improving properties with a wide range of biological activities like astringent, anti-bacterial, fungistatic, virustatic, eupeptic, anti-hydrotic and cholinergic activities (Zhang 2004).

Table 2.2 shows the studies on the Phytochemistry of Kaempferia galanga from previous literature. The plant part used (Plant source), compound structure, compound name and IUPAC name has been reported from previous literature that shows a need in phytochemistry and pharmacological activities in K.glanga.

Table 2.2: Studies on the Phytochemistry of Kaempferia galanga from previous literature

Plant source

Compound structure

Common name

IUPAC name




Ethyl 3-phenylprop-2-enoate

Wong et al., 1992


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1, 8 – cineole

1,3,3- trimethyl-2-oxabicyclo[2.2.2]octane

Wong et al., 1992


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Delta 3 Carene

(1S, 6R)-3,7,7- trimethylbicyclo[4.1.0]hept-3-ene

Wong et al., 1992


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(+)Alpha Pinene

(1 S, 5R)-2,6,6-trimethylbicyclo[3.1.1]hept-2-ene

Wu et al., 1994


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(- )Alpha Pinene


Wu et al., 1994


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Wu et al., 1994


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Wong et al., 1992


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Wu et al., 1994


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Alpha Terpineol


Wu et al., 1994

Dried plant

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Alpha Gurjunene

1,1,4,7-tetramethyl-1 a,2,3,4,4a,5,6,7b-octahydro-1 H-cyclopropa[e]azulene

Muhammad et al., 2011



(S,1E,5E)-1, 5-dimethyl-8-(prop-1-en-2-yl)cyclodeca-1,5-diene

Liu and Wang, 2008


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Wu et al., 1994


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(1R, 9S,E)-4,11,11-trimethyl-8-methylenebicyclo[7.2.0]undec-4-ene

Liu and Wang, 2008


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(E)-ethyl 3-(4-methoxyphenyl)acrylate

Zhi-Heng et al., 2012


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Zhi-Heng et al., 2012


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Zhi-Heng et al., 2012


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Wang et al., 2009

The effective disease treatment is based on modern discovery of clinically appropriate pharmacological activity in plants include the interaction of alkaloid opioids from Papaver somniferum with endogenous opiate receptors. Hence the recent advances in understanding the ageing diseases has to re-explore the historical records for some new directions in drug development from the ancient knowledge on medicine (Zhu et al., 2003).

The botanical assortment is required to early explorers and the later ethnobotany has played important roles in the expansion of new drugs in the past few centuries (De et al., 2010). The four indigenous groups from Mexican Indians of medicinal plants are shown as Maya, Nahua, Zapotec and Mixe from ancient literature. The relative importance of a medicinal plant contained with indigenous culture is familiar using a data and quantitative method are compared with inter- intra and cultural methods (Heinrich 1998). The indigenous groups have been selected plants as a medicine that show diverges to the data. The sources indicate that the survival is a well-defined criterion showing specific for each culture. The various indigenous groups are used number of plant species for gastrointestinal illnesses from ancient times (Heinrich 2000).

The people in developing are affected by new emerging microbial species like bacteria, viruses and protozoans (Turrens 2004). In various cases the drugs employed for treatment are useful, non-toxic and effective against resistance microbes. The abundant plant-derived natural products from unusual structural classes have been investigated as antimicrobial candidates including alkaloids, terpenoids, flavonoids and quinonoids (Salem and Werbovetz, 2006). C. aromatica, a closely related species of C.longa contain curcumin, is of elevated caloric value and used as a replacement for baby food. Curcuminoids reveal antioxidant activity and free radical scavenging properties that act as inhibitors of human immune deficiency virus (Piper et al., 1998).

Curcumin (diferuloylmethane; 1, 7-bis(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-1,6-heptadiene-3,5-dione), is a major bioactive secondary metabolite found in the rhizomes of turmeric (Curcuma longa) (Ali., 2009). Turmeric is used as aromatic constituent for cooking in various parts of the world. Curcumin extracted from C. longa rhizome is an anti-inflammatory agent and has anti-carcinogenic properties (Ammon et al., 1993). The recent data suggest that other antioxidant products from the rhizome of turmeric and curcumin may be useful in the treatment or prevention of some age related degenerative processes.

Explore of new major plant sources should be a right way in current and future efforts toward sustainable maintenance and rational utilization of biodiversity (Gavrilescu and Chisti, 2005). The antioxidant activity in rhizomes of C. aromatica and C .longa in family member to curcumin and phenol content by using DPPH method has been reported in earlier studies (Masuda et al., 1991). Curcumin inhibits cAK, PKC and CDPK proteins in a fashion that are competitive with respect to both ATP and the synthetic peptide substrate (Hasmeda and Polya, 1996).

The importance of medicinal plants and traditional systems in solving the healthcare problems of the world is gaining increasing interest (Krishnaraju et al., 2005). Due to this re-emerging of interest, the importance of medicinal plants provides a wide research on phytocompounds. There are growing amazingly at the international level repeatedly to the damage of natural habitats in the countries of origin. There is an adaptation of traditional medical practices and research in the developing countries that have an integral part of ancient and modern cultures (Brach and Fraserirector, 2000). Alternatives to the desirable production of medicinal compounds can be made from plants through modern approaches like plant tissue cultures, gene transfer etc are being employed. Biotechnological approaches provide potential approaches in the production of food and medicinal supplements to traditional agriculture and industrial production for bioactive plant metabolites (Vanisree et al., 2004).

In the middle of the last century concern in ethnobotany had declined considerably, but has rise yet again during its last decade, and novel approaches have been developed in drug discovery and design. Traditionally, all medicinal preparations were derived from plants in the refined form of crude extracts as simple form of raw plant materials or mixtures (Joy et al., 1998). Applications in various human cultures and societies recommend several thousands of plants that have been known with medicinal constituents in current generations (Moshafi et al., 2010). The organized evaluation of indigenous pharmacopoeias using natural and synthetic drugs to contribute in the improved healthcare in marginalized regions has been placed in the agenda of international and national organizations (Lantum 2007).

Medicinal plants are a great source for economic value in the Indian subcontinent (Kala et al., 2006). Nature provides a rich botanical wealth and a huge number of varied types of plants to humans grow in different parts of the country (Joseph and Raj, 2011). India is rich in various levels of biodiversity like genetic, species, and ecosystem that show variability among living organisms from all sources. Thousands of species are known to have medicinal value and the use of different parts of numerous medicinal plants to heal specific ailments has been established since ancient times (Hamilton 2004).

Herbal medicine are mostly using in developing countries depends as primary healthcare because of better compatibility and cultural suitability with the human body, and less side effects (Pandey et al., 2011). From the last few years a major increase in use of medicinal plants in the developed world shows the modern application against new emerging and ageing diseases. In the present decades multiple drug resistance due to multidrug resistance proteins has developed due to the arbitrary use of antimicrobial drugs that are used in the treatment of infectious microbial and invertebrate diseases (Parekh et al., 2005).

The antibiotic resistance has developed into a global concern in the current decades (Hoge et al., 1998). There has been an increasing frequency of multiple resistances in human pathogenic microorganisms largely due to subjective and effective use of commercial antimicrobial drugs that are frequently employed in the treatment of various infectious diseases (Pitout and Laupland, 2008). Scientists has lot of challenges in search for novel antimicrobial compounds from medicinal plants that are resistance to antibiotics (Sibanda and Okoh, 2007). The new and effective antibacterial agents should be sustained by screening from several plants. Recent literatures have provided the potential phytocompounds from several herbs as sources of drugs. The screening of plant products and extracts for antimicrobial constituents provides a potential source of novel antibiotics and their prototypes (Murugesan and Viji, 2010).

Numerous studies have identified phytocompounds within herbal plants that are effective antibiotics (Parekh and Chanda, 2007). Traditional healing systems around the world utilized herbal remedies as an important source of plant compounds for the discovery of new antibiotics (Chin et al., 2006). Some traditional remedies from the previous literature have produced compounds that are effective against strains of bacteria that show antibiotic resistance (Romero et al., 2005). Pharmacological studies of a more potent drug with reduced toxicity should be conducted where there is a need for further research in isolation of phytocompounds through traditional health systems (Lee 2000).