Researchers from the Southern Institute of Ecology have recently discovered and described a new ginger species Curcuma - Crocus species under Zingiberaceae.
Ginger is a herb which carries less or more toxins from nature, used by ethnic healers in the treatment of serious illnesses with mystical spiritual elements. Several worshippers in villages use ginger as their own family secret, as well as the local knowledge of different ethnic minority groups.
The ginger was found accidentally by researchers from the Southern Institute of Ecology when visiting a sacred temple of Co Tu ethnic minority group lying deep in a jungle of Tay Giang district. It is grown under a thousand-year banyan tree.
First, Co Tu ethnic minority people found that the mother monkeys in the forest, after giving birth, often bring their babies to eat the bulb of this species, and so they also brought it home to plant and use as the ginger for women in the family.
Co Tu ethnic people appreciated this plant as they believe that this plant brings fortunate to villagers and prevents bad things that may happen. So they often plant this in front of their house. In addition, with its antibacterial effect, the ginger is also a traditional spice. It is used to cook with chicken, and used for women after giving birth to reduce pain effectively. And to commemorate the discovery of this particular drug and spice, the authors chose Co Tu as the name for this new ginger.
Flower form of Curcuma cotuana (Photo by Luu Hong Truong) and Anther of Curcuma cotuana
Co Tu ginger is often planted in front of Co Tu ethnic minority people’s houses in Tay Giang district, Quang Nam province (Photo by Tran Huu Dang)
Co Tu ginger is under Ecomate subspecies of Curcuma branch. This ginger’s form is similar to three species, including Curcuma vitellina, Curcuma rhomba and Curcuma sahuynhensis. However, they are different in form of anther and character of flower. The root of the new ginger is smaller than turmeric. It is about 5mm and light yellow with a slight odor.
The finding is the result of the study on building biodiversity data in Tay Giang district, Quang Nam province, as a basis for planning Tay Giang Nature Reserve in the province, conducted by the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology.
The article is officially updated on Nordic Journal of Botany on October 17th, 2017 at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/njb.01594/abstract?campaign=woletoc .
Translated by Tuyet Nhung
Link to Vietnamese Version