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Zamboanga Philippines, October 2011 Travel Log.
Etlingera elatior (also known as Torch Ginger, Ginger Flower, Red Ginger Lily, Torch Lily, Wild Ginger, Combrang, Bunga Kantan, Philippine Wax Flower, Xiang Bao Jiaing, Indonesian Tall Ginger, Boca de Dragón, Rose de Porcelaine, Porcelain Rose) is a species of herbaceous perennial plant.In North Sumatra, the flower buds are used for a dish called arsik ikan mas (Andaliman/Szechuan pepper Spiced Carp).It is known in Indonesian as bunga kecombrang or honje, Malay as bunga kantan and Thai as ดาหลา daalaa. In Thailand it is eaten in a kind of Thai salad preparation.
In Karo, it is known as asam cekala (asam meaning 'sour'), and the flower buds, but more importantly the ripe seed pods, which are packed with small black seeds, are an essential ingredient of the Karo version of sayur asam, and are particularly suited to cooking fresh fish.From the leaves of E. elatior, three caffeoylquinic acids including chlorogenic acid (CGA), and three flavonoids quercitrin, isoquecitrin and catechin have been isolated. Content of CGA was significantly higher than flowers of Lonicera japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle), the commercial source. A protocol for producing a standardized herbal extract of CGA from leaves of E. elatior (40%) has been developed, compared to commercial CGA extracts from honeysuckle flowers (25%).
Leaves of E. elatior have the highest antioxidant, antibacterial and tyrosinase inhibition activities among five Etlingera species studied. Antioxidant properties (AOP) of leaves were significantly stronger than flowers and rhizomes. Leaves of highland populations had higher AOP values than lowland counterparts. Thermal drying of leaves led to drastic declines in AOP while freeze-dried leaves showed significant higher AOP values. Ethanolic extracts of inflorescences have antimicrobial activity and are cytotoxic to HeLa cells. Antioxidant activity of diarylheptanoids isolated from rhizomes is greater than α-tocopherol.