Objective: Alpinia calcarata Roscoe (F. Zingiberaceae) rhizomes are often used in Sri Lankan traditional
systems of medicine as a remedy for bronchitis, cough, respiratory ailments, diabetics, asthma and arthritis. Present
review summarizes chemical, pharmacognostical, pharmacological and toxicological investigations carried out on A.
calcarata of Sri Lankan origin.
Methods: Composition of A. calcarata essential oil was analyzed by capillary GC and GC/MS. Pharmacognostical
evaluation was carried out using physico-chemical parameters and TLC – densitometric and HPLC fingerprints. In vitro
and in vivo experiments were used to investigate pharmacological and toxicological investigations.
Key Findings: Eighteen volatile constituents have been identified in essential oil of Sri Lankan grown A. calcarata
rhizomes, leaves and roots. Moreover, A. calcarata exerts strong effects on antiinflammatory, antinociception, diabetes,
gastroprotection and reproductive competence of male rats, validating the claims in traditional medicinal systems of Sri
Lanka. In addition, hitherto unreported bioactivities such as antioxidant, insecticidal and antifungal activities were also
discovered. Further, A. calcarata extracts did not produce any serious overt signs of toxicity.
Conclusions: The above findings indicate the vast potential of A. calcarata yet to be harnessed for the benefit of mankind.