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Monday, 30 March 2015

GROWING SAND GINGER OR CEKUR PLANT AND ITS MEDICINAL USES.

Some of the common names of Sand Ginger or cekur (in Malay) are Galanga, Lesser Galanga, Chinese Ginger, Finger Root, Kencur, Cutcherry, Aromatic Ginger, etc. Its scientific name is Kaempferia Galanga Linn.

Sand Ginger or Cekur is related to the common ginger and is commonly found in kampungs and villages. It grows well in moist garden soil with good drainage and it likes the sun. I grow my Sand Ginger plants in a small, round and shallow pot.
This is a short plant and has no stem. It grows very close to the ground. The leaves are very close together and have a nice fragrant.
The flowers are just slightly above the leaves. I like the flowers even though they are tiny. The flowers are white with purple centre. Some Sand Ginger plants have purple flowers. I only have the ones with white flowers.
The root or rhizome is like the ginger rhizome but it is smaller in size. The root also has a nice and a stronger fragrant than the leaves. The rhizome is small and light brown to brown in colour. Propagation of sand ginger is through rhizome or baby plants.

These rhizomes are quite small. Probably they are fighting for space because I planted them in a very small, shallow pot and the plants are too closely packed together.
Usually Sand Ginger can be harvested around 9 to 12 months or when the leaves started to turn yellow and dried up.
I grow Sand Ginger in my garden because I like the nice fragrance of both the leaves and rhizomes. Once I tried using the rhizomes in my cooking but hubby doesn't like the "one kind of strong smell", so I do not use them anymore for cooking.

My Indonesian friends and my local friends shared with me some of the uses of Sand Ginger or Cekur:

Used for treatment for:
  • Wounds, infection, rheumatism, inflammation, acne, boils (bisul in Malay), sore eyes and dandruff - rhizome paste with or without oil.
  • Tonic or herbal drink for cough, chest ailment, sore-throat, fever, indigestion, headache, toothache, for postnatal women - rhizome slices with honey.
  • Young leaves and rhizomes are used in salad or ulam dishes.
  • As a spice in cooking in Indonesia, Thai, Malay and Chinese cooking.

Who is this coming up from the dessert

like a column of smoke,

perfumed with myrrh and incense

made from all the spices of the merchant?

(Song of Songs 3:6, New International Version-NIV)


36 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos, and a very informative post, Thank you so much for sharing, Nancy.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. Have a wonderful day.

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  2. I've been wondering how this thing tastes like after reading some blogs mentioning this. Bought before from supermart but now I don't remember what on earth happened to it!

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    1. Stacy, I think those who like nyonya dishes will like this sand ginger. Many not used to the fragrance.

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  3. I have never come across this type of ginger before, I wonder if it would grow here in the UK.

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    1. I am not sure but I think it may grow when it can get some sunlight.

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  4. Very informative ... I didn't this before reading it here !! Thanks !!! Have a lovely day !

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    1. Thanks, Geraldine...a lovely day to you too.

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  5. Thanks for sharing... Very informative...

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  6. nice that they have medicinal uses.

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    1. Thanks, Theresa. Its a valuable plant.

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  7. This lengkuas is really useful!

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    1. It is useful, but I have not tried them yet for medicinal purposes.

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  8. We have the regular ginger here, but not this kind. It is really lovely!

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    1. Over here, it is not popular in towns or cities. I like the flowers.

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  9. We definitely don't have them in Poland. It is nice plant

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    1. I like the flowers, they are cute and pretty.

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  10. Hi Nancy,

    Did you try using this ginger for other things beside cooking? It sounds very useful.

    Zoe

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    1. Hi Zoe, no I have not tried them yet. Hope can remember this plant when I need them later.

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  11. Nancy, I know that this daun cekur is used in nonya cooking but I have never seen this plant or tasted it as yet. Since your hubby says there is a strong smell, chances are I might not like it either.

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    1. Phong Hong, yes the smell is quite strong, chances are you may not like it.

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  12. Hi Nancy...stumble on your blog while searching for info on 'cekur' plant. I have some cekur which have grown for over 4 years. All these years I have never dug up any cekur as I don't use them. Recently the planter fell and I had to replant them, I noticed that there isnt much cekur. The ones I saw were very tiny.

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    1. Hi Mocha64, thank you for visiting and leaving a comment in my blog. The cekur rhizomes are not as big as the ginger rhizomes. These are quite small about an inch or slightly more than an inch long.

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  13. Hi, Nancy where did you get it? I have been looking for it for a long time, but can't find it in CA...

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    1. Hi, I got it from a friend. Thanks for your visit and comment.

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  14. Was researching this today, wondering where the plant originated. The whole family love this with our steam chicken rice. My son, who is usually fussy about food,also take to it. Chop them up root and leaves and fried with a bit of oil. Have been growing them in pots in HDB corridor for number of years now. Not easy to get them in supermarkets.

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    1. I have not tried the fried version but would love to. My whole family except I do not like the strong aroma. Cekur roots are not easy to find nowadays, good to hear you are growing them yourself.

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  15. A malay guy at the Tanglin Halt market sells the roots. I tried making sambal but did not like the taste. It is very easy to grow the plants.

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    1. Thank you PL, for your comment. No everyone likes the taste of cekur. I think the smell and taste can be too strong for some people.

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  16. Hi Nancy,
    I have given the juice to a friend for cough and chest ailment. It did work for another friend of mine. Hope it will help her too.

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    1. Thank you, YSL for your contribution. I will keep this in mind for future needs. Have a good day!

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  17. We have organic cekur, from time to time... If you are interested, do email dio.solcrates@yahoo.com

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    1. Thank you for the info. Have a good day!

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  18. Hello Nancy, great resource on cekur plant. The ones I got a few days ago from market are smelling different and many have sprouted. How do you store your harvested cekur and do you use the sprouted ones the same way as you do the unsprouted? Thank you :)

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    1. Hello Enteaq, thanks for your visit. My family do not like cekur because of the strong smell, so I do not harvest them for my cooking. So far I have only cooked once and I have to eat the dish all by myself.

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Thank you for your visits and encouraging comments. They are greatly appreciated. Have a beautiful day.

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