Herb: Butterfly Ginger

Latin name: Hedychium coronarium

Family: Zingiberaceae (Ginger Family)

Medicinal use of Butterfly Ginger:

The seed is aromatic, carminative and stomachic. The root is antirheumatic, excitant and tonic. The ground rhizome is used as a febrifuge. An essential oil from the roots is carminative and has anthelmintic indications. The plant has been used as a remedy for foetid nostril.

Description of the plant:


150 cm
(5 feet)

August to


Habitat of the herb:

Moist places along streams and on forest edges.

Edible parts of Butterfly Ginger:

Young buds and flowers are eaten or used as a flavouring. Root - cooked. A famine food used when all else fails.

Other uses of the herb:

The stems contain 43 - 48% cellulose and are useful in making paper. An essential oil obtained from the flowers is valued in high grade perfumes. The root contains 1.7% essential oil, which is used medicinally.

Propagation of Butterfly Ginger:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a warm greenhouse at 18C. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on for at least their first winter in the greenhouse. Plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Division as growth commences in the spring. Dig up the clump and divide it with a sharp spade or knife, making sure that each division has a growing shoot. Larger clumps can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, but it is best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a greenhouse until they are established. Plant them out in the summer or late in the following spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Moist places along streams and on forest edges.

Known hazards of Hedychium coronarium:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.