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The Goodness of Torch Ginger Flower Bud (Bunga Kantan)

Updated: May 6, 2020

Pretty in Pink, the Torch Ginger Flower Bud (Bunga Kantan) is well known for its floral fragrance and health benefits. It is the most sought after ingredient for Laksa and Asian Herb salads.

Bunga Kantan | Torch Ginger | My Blue Tea

My Blue Tea has been working with scientists and farmers for a while, using our unique bio-technology process to produce the best quality Torch Ginger Flower Buds, affectionately known as Bunga Kantan in Malay. New machines have been commissioned last year and we should be able to meet your demand up to 100Kg per month. Instead of powder we think Dried Slices of Torch Ginger is best to use in cooking and as a salad. To rehydrate, simply give it a quick steam or soak in water. The sliced Torch Ginger Flower Buds come in 50 grams vacuum packs and you can keep them in your pantry for up to 4 years unopened, freeing your freezer space.

What is Torch Ginger?

Torch ginger, scientifically known as Etlingera Elatior, is a herbaceous clumping plant used in culinary, for medicinal purposes, as an antibacterial agent and for ornamental and floral arrangement purposes. Torch ginger (Etlingera Elatior) has also been known as torch lily, wild ginger or Philippine wax flower which belongs to the family of Zingiberaceae. It is native to Malaysia and Indonesia and is affectionately known as "Bunga Kantan".

Torch ginger can be propagated sexually (seeds) and asexually (rhizomes). Torch ginger inflorescence consists of three colours which are red, pink and white. The pink torch ginger is usually found in rural areas and jungle fringes while the white and red variants are rare. In Southeast Asia, torch ginger especially the inflorescence bud is famous for culinary purposes. It is an important ingredient used to enhance the flavours of many Malay, Nyonya, Indonesia and Thai dishes such as Laksa, Assam Laksa, Nasi Kerabu and Ulam, a kind of herb salad.

Other plant parts such as rhizome, leaf and inflorescence of torch ginger have been traditionally used as condiment and medicine (Chan et al. 2011). Torch ginger is an aromatic plant, thus works on extracting its essential oil from different parts of plant (rhizome, leaf and inflorescence) and its phytochemistry and pharmacological properties have been extensively studied (Abdelmageed et al. 2011; Abdelwahab et al. 2010; Jackie et al. 2011; Lachumy et al. 2010; Mohamad et al. 2005).

The essential oils are used as a therapeutic agent for treating sore throats, sea and travel sickness, and relieve cramps and rheumatic pains. The extracts from torch ginger leaf and inflorescence exhibited antibacterial activity against Gram-positive bacteria (Chan et al. 2007; Wijekoon et al. 2013). Inflorescence bud extract has been reported to inhibit Colletotrichum gloeosporioides mycelial growth, and it has the potential use as an anti fungal agent to control anthracnose diseases (Punnawich et al. 2009).

Commercially, the rhizome and inflorescence are used as a natural ingredient in cosmetics such as soap, shampoo and perfume (Voon et al. 2012).

In recent years, the torch ginger is becoming popular as an ornamental and landscape garden plant. The extravagant and showy inflorescence with bright colour is suitable to be used as a cut flower. In Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Thailand and United States of America, torch ginger has been used in floral arrangements. Depending on the market demand, the torch ginger inflorescences from the tight bud to the blooming stage could be used as a cut flower. This has increased the marketability of the inflorescence.

A summary of the health benefits of Torch Ginger

The Torch Ginger Flower Bud has natural anti-bacterial agents. It has high fibre content. Saturated fatty acids proteins, amino acids and other mineral compounds found in this plant are necessary for various physiological processes and potentially protect you against various diseases and reduce blood cholesterol levels, hypertension, heart disease risk and constipation. Not forgetting that it also has high-antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities.

The scientific findings on the health benefits of Torch Ginger

Nutritional quality:

In traditional dishes, E. elatior flower, inflorescence and fruit are widely used as a food ingredients because of the bright red shaped, distinctive taste and smell, which can increasingly enhance the tastes of dishes. The consumption of E. Elatior in foods is considered to have high nutritional value with unsaturated fatty acids, proteins, amino acids and other mineral compounds as well as low contaminants of heavy metals. The composition of protein, fat and fibre in the dried flower were 12.6, 18.2 and 17%, respectively. The high level of fibre content in this plant can potentially reduce blood cholesterol levels, hypertension, heart disease risk and constipation.

It was proven that the high content of saturated fatty acids were: Myristic acid > palmitic acid > stearic acid, whereas for the unsaturated were: Palmitoleic acid > linoleic acid > oleic acid1. Monounsaturated fatty acid and polyunsaturated acid contents were quantified up to 22.4 and 19.8%, respectively. In this basis, E. elatior could be used as an alternative source of fatty acids that is essential for various physiological processes and protection against various disease.

Furthermore, the amino acid profiles of E. Elatior inflorescence reveal the presence of non-essential amino acids higher than the essential amino acids, which supports the pharmacological activity to treat inflammation, as immune stimulating agents, anti-oxidant and anti-microbials agent. The non-essential amino acids were dominated by glutamic acid and aspartic acid, while the essential amino acids were dominated by lysine, leucine, valine, threonine, isoleucine and phenylalanine. The inflorescence also contained high levels of major minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphor, which are very fundamental for extracellular and intracellular roles and as building blocks of physical components in human body. Also interestingly, heavy metal contents are found at a lower concentration thus making it safer for daily diet consumption.

Nasi Kerabu | Torch Ginger | Bunga Kantan | Blue Tea

Torch Ginger flower bud is traditionally used in Nasi Kerabu flower salad - NASI Kerabu gets its colours from the vibrant blue of the Butterfly Pea flowers. To add on to the flower theme of the dish, why not combine it with a refreshing Torch flower salad?

Pharmacological activities:

Studies have listed all of the pharmacological activities articles of E. elatior accompanied with the inhibitory activity, which are anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, anti-tumor, anti-hyperglycemic, anti-hyperuricemic, anti-inflammatory, anti-larvae, skin whitening and anti-aging and wound healing.

Anti-microbial activity:

E. elatior has been reported to having significant capability as anti-bacterial agent in responding to the symptoms caused by pathogenic microbes. Leaves, rhizome and inflorescence extracts of this plant were found to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activity against various microbes.

The highly potential anti-microbials activity possessed by E. elatior against microbial infections is due to its elevated contents of flavonoids, phenolic and terpenoids compounds. A study by Xu and Lee et al.44 showed inhibitory activity against MRSA by four flavonols such as datiscetin, kaempferol, quercetin, myricetin and two flavones such as flavone and luteolin44. Flavonoids mechanism in defeating microorganism pathogen is by targeting membrane cell wall due to its capability to composite with extracellular and soluble proteins

Torch Ginger Sorbet

Anti-oxidant activity:

E. elatior leaves, inflorescences and rhizomes exhibited diverse antioxidant activity level analyzed through ascorbic acid equivalent antioxidant capacity (AEAC) and gallic acid equivalent (GAE) in FRAP determination. Rhizomes were observed possessed the highest activity11. The scavenging effect against free radicals of E. elatior extract has often been revealed through the ability in reducing violet of DPPH to the yellow of DPPH-H and the ability to reduce ferric (Fe3+) tripyridyltriazine complex to ferrous (Fe2+), forming deep blue colour by FRAP assay determination

Anti-hyperglycemic activity:

By inhibiting either α-glucosidase or α-amylase enzymes, it will further delay carbohydrate absorption and decrease sugar absorption after meals and eventually reduces glucose uptake and blood glucose89. E. elatior ethanol extract (25 μg mL–1) showed potent inhibition on α-glucosidase and α-amylase compared to acarbose inhibition4.

Anti-inflammatory activity:

The study of anti-inflammatory activity of E. elatior plant has not been widely reported yet. The potent anti-inflammatory activity of E. elatior once reported by Srey et al.4 which conducted on the E. elatior rhizome extract inhibition to wards nitric oxide (NO) production in murine macrophage-like cell-line (RAW264.7).

Toxicity study:

E. elatior extract was found to be non-toxic based on the study of Lachumy et al.7 using brine shrimp lethality bioassay (LC50 = 2.52 mg mL–1) at 24 h. Thus, E. elatior extracts and the pharmaceutical properties contained can be categorized as biologically safe compounds.

Butterfly Pea flower | Torch Ginger

Butterfly Pea flower with lemongrass & torch ginger flower cooler

Torch Ginger | Bunga Kantan | Blue Tea

Torch Ginger Flower buds in slices - our Torch Ginger flower bud is pure flower. We remove the outer layer of the petals and all stems. Just the pure sweet flower and the process is using a dehydration system in low heat drying. A Biotechnology processing approach to remove 90% of moisture.


The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food Safety Standards, Australia. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


\fbclid=IwAR3JQxGvGTtbpJVAtaAZxxNrl8bMiNYh3T1ffya3Ecujoer-Yze2dW3TcpI Young spi, A.H.A.,

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