Basic Information



 Species                      : Costus speciosus (Koen) Sm.

Local Name                : Beth laure(Nep), Ruyang (Lep)

Synonym                    :

Family                         : Zingiberaceae

Habitat                       : A tuberous erect herb.

Distribution                : Loves to grow in dry land in temperate region.

Sikkim                         : Burmeok (East Sikkim), Ranipool-Gangtok, Samdong, Dikchu- Sankalang, Jorethang Melli, Passingdong- Bay,

                                     Prekchu- Yuksom, Singtam- Rakdong Tintek.

Out side                     : West Bengal, Ceylon- Malay Islands, and China.

General                      : Pantropics, Eastern Himalaya (East Nepal- Bhutan).

Morphological information

An erect plant 1.2- 2.7 m high; rootstock tuberous, insipid; stem sub woody at the base. Leaves 15- 30 by 5.7- 7.5 cm, sub sessile, spirally arranged, oblong or oblanceolate- oblong, acute or acuminate, often cuspidate, glabrous above, silky-pubescent beneath, base rounded; sheaths coriaceous; ligule- 0. Flowers white, numerous, in very dense spikes 5- 12.5 by 3.8- 7.5 cm; bracts 2- 3.2 cm long, ovate, acuminate, often pungently mucronate, bright red; bracteole solitary below the calyx, 1.6 mm long. Calyx 3.2 cm long; lobes 6 mm long, deltoid- ovate cuspidate. Corolla- tube as long as the calyx; lobes ovate- oblong, apiculate, the lateral lobes 3.5 by 1.3 cm. the dorsal 4 by 2 cm. Lip suborbicular, white with a yellow centre, 5 cm and more in diameter, concave, plicate, crisped, the margins sometimes meeting in the middle; disc pubescent and with a tuft of hairs at its base. Stamen 3.8- 4.5 cm long, with a tuft of hairs at the base of the filament; connective petaloid, 13 mm broad, pubescent produced into a glabrous appendage as long as the linear anther- cell. Style 3.8 cm long, slender; stigma with a semi lunar ciliate mouth. Capsules globosely 3- gonous, 2 cm diameter, red. Seed black, with a white aril.

Flowering                    : July-October

Fruiting                       : October -December

History                       :

Parts                          : Rhizome.

Status                        : Vulnerable


 Two new quinones- dihydrophytylplasto-2-uinone and its 6- methyl derivative- along with a tocopherolquinone and 5α- stigmast- 9 (11) en- 3β- ol isolated from seeds and their structures elucidated (Phytochemistry 1984, 23, 1725); methyl hexadecnoate, methyl octadecanoate and tetracosanyl octadecanoate isolated from seeds (Indian J.Pharm. Sci. 1984, 46, 150); a tocopherol isolated from seeds and identified as G2- tocopherol; five new compounds- tetradecyl13- methylpentadecanoate,tetradecyl11- methyltridecanoate,14- oxotricosanoid- acid,14- oxoheptacosanoid acid and 15 oxoctacosanoid acid- isolated from rhizomes and characterized (Phytochemistry 1986, 25, 1899); seed oil (6.0%) consisted of palmitic (55.97), oleic (23.75%), linoleic, stearic, myristic and lauric acids. Defatted seeds contained diosgenin, glucose, galactose and rhamnose (Indian For. 1986, 112,135; Chem.Abstr. 1987, 106, 99407e); 31- norcyicoartanone, cycloartanol, cycloartenol and cyclolaudenol isolated from roots (Planta Med. 1988, 54, 268); methyl 3- ( 4- hydroxyphenyl ) -2E propanoate isolated from rhizomes (Planta Med. 1988, 54, 477).


 The root is pungent, bitter; useful in bronchitis, fever, "Kapha" and "Vata". Dyspepsia, inflammation, anemia, rheumatism, lumbago, hiccough.


Traditional        : Rhizome mixed with sugar is used in venereal diseases.


The underground tubers are now considered as a source of Diosgenin, the precursor of steroids, including sex hormones and oral contraceptives. Also, a tonic and anthelmintic may be obtained from it. The extract from the tubers and stem is given orally (usually at morning time, empty stomach) to cure the urinary tract infections and inflammation. In the united provinces, from the root a strengthening tonic is made, and it is also used as an anthelmintic. In Bengal and in the Konkan, the root is considered depurative and aphrodisiac.



1. Anonymous (1992). The Useful Plants of India. Publications and Information Directorate, CSIR. New Delhi. 143.

2. Kiritikar, K.R & B.D. Basu (1994). Indian Medicinal Plants (Vol. 4). Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehradun, 2440- 2442.

3. Progress Report of the Project "Studies on Medicinal Plants of Sikkim" (1998- 2001). State Council of Science and Technology for Sikkim.

4. Rai, Lalit Kumar & Eklabya Sharma (1994). Medicinal Plants of the Sikkim Himalayas. Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehradun, 35