5 Benefits of Kencur for Health that are a pity to miss

Kencur, which has the Latin name Kaempferia galanga L, is still in the same family as ginger or Zingiberaceae. So, don't be surprised if many people often mistake kencur with ginger and galangal because of their almost similar shape. In fact, kencur can bring different benefits from ginger for health. Read on to find out the various benefits of kencur for body health, come on!

What is kencur?

Kencur is a type of kitchen spice that has a distinctive, fresh and bursting aroma. Besides being used as a flavor enhancer in cooking, the benefits of kencur have also long been known as a natural medicine.

This plant originating from Asia belongs to the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). Zingiberaceae species not only contain kencur plants, but also include ginger, turmeric, and galangal. Yes, in other words, kencur is actually still a close family with ginger, galangal, and turmeric.

That is one of the reasons why the basic ingredients of these dishes have almost the same shape, so that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish. Kencur plants grow a lot in tropical and subtropical climates. The distribution areas are generally in Asia, including Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Kencur plants usually thrive in mountainous areas or lowlands. The best soil structure for planting kencur is loose or does not contain too much water.

However, kencur is also no less fertile when planted in pots with soil conditions that are not too wet. Although what you have often used is only the tuber of kencur, in fact this plant has a complete form.

Just like most plants in general, kencur plants are also equipped with leaves and flowers. It's just that, the shape and appearance is certainly different from other kitchen spices.

What are the contents and chemical compounds in kencur?

In addition to its distinctive taste and can add to the delicacy of processed dishes, the benefits of kencur don't end there. Various compositions of substances contained in kencur, namely:

  • Starch
  • Mineral
  • Cinema
  • Methyl kanyl acid and pentadecane
  • cinnamic acid
  • Ethyl ester
  • Borneol
  • Kamphene
  • Paraeumarin
  • Anisic acid
  • Alkaloids
  • Gom

The content of cineol, methyl kanil acid, penta decaan, cinnamic acid, and so on is included in the essential oils. Not only that, other chemical compounds in kencur are ethyl p-methoxycinnamate, p-methoxystyrene, karen, borneol, and paraffin.

Among these chemical constituents, ethyl p-methoxycinnamate is the main component of kencur. Meanwhile, for the essential oil content, there are around 2.4-2.9 percent of the essential oil content that composes the kencur compound.

What is the difference between kencur, ginger, and turmeric?

For those of you who are familiar with various types of kitchen spices, of course you are no stranger to kencur. However, because there is not only one type of kitchen spice, it sometimes makes people confused in distinguishing the various types.

Maybe you are one of those who often find it difficult to distinguish between kencur and various other kitchen spices. Whether it's ginger or turmeric, for example. In fact, each of these spices has its own shape and characteristics. In fact, the benefits of kencur and other cooking ingredients are not the same.

Here are the differences between kencur, ginger, and turmeric, which you should understand:

1. Shape

At first glance, kencur, ginger, and turmeric look similar. Although both belong to the root group of plants, kencur has a distinctive skin appearance, brown in color with a pale yellow inside.

In addition, kencur is generally somewhat round and short. While the form of turmeric is just the opposite. If kencur has a shape that tends to be round, turmeric is long with a size that resembles a human finger joint. The color of the inside of turmeric is also very different from other kitchen spices, which is more orange.

Because it has curcuminoids, turmeric will leave a distinctive yellowish color after handling. Curcuminoids are substances that give yellow color which are usually found in turmeric and ginger.

It is different again with ginger, which does have a shape that also almost resembles a human finger joint. It's just that, the shape of this plant will usually bulge in the middle so it doesn't look slender like turmeric.

2. Leaves

Kencur plants usually have 2-4 leaves, or not too many. The shape of the leaves is wide round with the arrangement between the leaves facing each other. While the leaves of the turmeric plant are about 3-8 strands, with a leaf length of approximately 70 centimeters (cm).

Unlike the shape of the leaves of the kencur plant, the size of the leaves on the turmeric plant is elongated with a sharp shape at the end. For ginger plants, it has a pinnate leaf shape and is somewhat short.

3. Flowers

Interestingly, these three spices also have flowers to complement the plants. In kencur, the flowers are white and equipped with 4 crowns. The flower is supported by a stem that is not too long.

The flower shape of the turmeric plant is not much different from the kencur plant. However, the turmeric plant has slightly purplish-colored flowers with a size that is also quite small.

Another only with ginger plant flowers, which are quite wide and rather large. The flower color of the ginger plant is generally red, with a scaly peduncle.

4. Taste

Aroma and taste is one of the striking differences of kencur, turmeric, and ginger. Kencur has a very strong aroma, it can even be a bit overpowering. The distinctive taste of kencur itself is unique, namely there is a bitter, spicy sensation, but feels warm when it enters the body.

While ginger has a dominant spicy taste thanks to the content of zingeron compounds in it. That's why, ginger is often used as a body-warming drink that is good for consumption when the weather is cold.

On the other hand, turmeric does have a taste that is not as strong as kencur or ginger. However, turmeric gives a taste that is quite sweet and not spicy when eaten. Therefore, most people are usually not too aware of having eaten foods with processed turmeric in them.

What are the benefits of kencur for health?

Apart from being a cooking spice, in fact kencur has a variety of benefits that are good for health, including:

1. Treating cough

The traditional herb kencur mixed with salt has long been known as a traditional medicine for coughing up phlegm.

Drinking this concoction is predicted to make breathing easier and help relieve coughing with phlegm more quickly.

Besides being a cough medicine, it turns out that this herbal ingredient is often consumed by singers before they perform to help maintain the condition of the vocal cords while making the throat feel lighter, you know! But unfortunately there is no research that proves this benefit.

2. Relieve stress

A study conducted by researchers from the Department of Pharmacy of Jahangirnagar University Bangladesh, managed to find the benefits of kencur. The study showed that kencur plant extracts, both rhizomes/roots and leaves have antidepressant properties on the central nervous system that can provide a sedative or calming effect.

The results of these studies also strengthen the benefits of kencur for health as a significant sedative effect. That is why, many people use kencur as a drug used to reduce the effects of stress, anxiety, anxiety, and depression.

However, this research still requires further research on the efficacy of kencur for the health of the human body.

3. Treating diarrhea

Still from the results of previous studies published in the International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, found interesting things. The study stated that kencur extract contains a large number of cytotoxic and antibacterial substances.

For this reason, kencur is believed to be an effective treatment option for diarrhea. This is evidenced by research conducted on experimental animals which were divided into 2 groups. Both groups were given castor oil by drinking (oral) to cause diarrhea.

In fact, experimental animals that received kencur extract showed signs and symptoms of typical diarrhea that were milder, even gradually disappeared.

Meanwhile, the other experimental animal groups that did not receive kencur extract, experienced symptoms of persistent diarrhea. For example, stool tends to be liquid, stomach pain, and frequent bowel movements.

4. Herbal ingredients

In Indonesia, kencur is the main ingredient used to make herbal medicine, whether it is traditional or modern herbal medicine made in a factory. This herbal drink is often called kencur rice which is made from a mixture of rice, kencur, tamarind, and brown sugar.

The benefits of kencur which are processed into herbal drinks are useful for increasing appetite, overcoming digestive problems, stomach pain, shortness of breath, colds, and headaches.

But unfortunately again, research on the benefits of kencur is still minimal.

5. Prevent dental caries

The antimicrobial properties present in kencur have amazing benefits. This content can help inhibit the growth of Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria in the body.

The reason is, if left more and more, these bacteria can cause tooth decay, such as dental caries. Diseases that are usually experienced by children will damage the teeth because it causes cavities, infections, and toothaches.

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