Torch Ginger

Scientific Name: Etlingera elatior

Bahasa Indonesian: Kecombrang

Batak: Rias

Basic Information: 

Torch Ginger, also known as ginger flower, red ginger lily, torch lily, wild ginger, combrang, bunga kantan, Philippine wax flower, Indonesian tall ginger, boca de dragón, rose de porcelaine, and porcelain rose is a species of herbaceous perennial plant.

This plant reaches a height of 6m and the leaves are 85 cm long. The inflorescence comes out of the ground thus making it easier to cut. The flowers are red in color and fruits are green to reddish in color. This plant is generally considered as a tall plant.

The showy pink flowers are used in decorative arrangements, bunga kecombrang, are an important ingredient across Southeast Asia. In North Sumatra (especially in Karo tribe), the flower buds are used for a stewed fish dish called Arsik ikan mas (Andaliman/Szechuan pepper-spiced carp). In Bali, people use the white part of the bottom part of the trunk for cooking chilli sauce called “Sambal Bongkot”, and use the flower buds to make chilli sauce called “Sambal Kecicang”. 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.


Health Benefits:

  • This member of the ginger family is also said to reduce inflammation, treat a loss of appetite, reduce diabetes and hypertension
  • A study suggests that flower extract of Etlingera elatior has powerful antioxidant effect against lead – induced oxidative stress and the extract may be useful therapeutic agent against lead toxicity. However, detailed evaluations are required to identify the active antioxidant compounds from this plant extract
  • Results of a study provides a strong base on the nutritional value of torch ginger inflorescence with the presence of high amounts of dietary fiber, unsaturated fatty acids, essential amino acids and essential minerals with lower levels of heavy metal contaminants





Bunga kantan have health benefits?