Background: Zingiber zerumbet (L.) Roscoe ex Sm. (family, Zingiberaceae) is a potent medicinal
herb widely known as shampoo ginger and its rhizome is used in numerous ethnomedicinal applications
including antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-diarrheal, antidiabetics, carminative,
and diuretic. The aim of this review was to bring together all the scientific updates on the phytochemistry
and pharmacological activities of this herb, including their toxicological studies, and critically
analyzed the outcomes to provide directions for future research on the herb as potential source of
bioactive metabolites for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical applications.
Methods: A structured electronic search on worldwide accepted scientific databases (Web of Science,
PubMed, Google Scholar, Science Direct, SciFinder, Wiley Online Library) was carried out to compile
the relevant information. Some information was obtained from books and database on medicinal plants
used in various countries.
Results: About 60 metabolites, mainly polyphenols, and terpenoids have been isolated and identified.
However, most of the reported pharmacological studies were based on crude extracts, and only a few
of those isolated metabolites, particularly zerumbone have been investigated for biological and pharmacological
activities. Many of the mechanistic studies to understand the pharmacological effects of
the plant are limited by many considerations with regard to design, experimentation and interpretation.
Conclusion: The bioactive metabolites should be further investigated on their safety and more elaborate
preclinical studies before clinical trials can be undertaken.