Black Ginger Extract: Thai Ginseng (Kaempferia Parviflora, Krachai Dum)

Mihai Voinea
Medically reviewed by Mihai Voinea Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) — Research analysis by Alex Eriksson

​Black ginger extract, Kaempferia Parviflora (not to be confused with black turmeric) is a medicinal root from Thailand (aka Krachai Dum in Thai), which is traditionally used as an aphrodisiac, male sexual tonic, energy enhancer and longevity agent. It is also famous among Muay Thai fighters as Thai Ginseng since it increases endurance, vigor and muscle strength.

However, Krachai Dum (its name in Thai) refers to Black Galingale and not Black Ginger as we like to call it in the West. It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family (Ginger family) of plants and looks almost the same as ginger except with a purple core in its rhizomes.

thai ginseng Kaempferia Parviflora, Krachai Dum

Kaempferia Parviflora: The Natural Thai Viagra Alternative

​Similar to Viagra, black ginger contains natural PDE5 inhibitors, which inhibits the enzyme cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) that breaks down nitric oxide (NO) in the body. By doing this, it increases the availability of nitric oxide in the penis and prolongs vasodilation, essentially making your erections harder and last longer.  

Pharmaceutical PDE5 inhibitors inhibit the enzyme very strongly and can come with plenty of side effects such as back pain, vision disturbances, dizziness, flushing, dyspepsia, nasal congestion or rhinitis.

When using black ginger, you inhibit this enzyme to a milder degree and still improve erections while avoiding any side effects, making it the superior choice especially for use long term.

PDE5 inhibitor

​Black ginger ​primarily works on sexual function in two ways; by increasing vasodilation and blood circulation (PDE5 inhibition just like viagra), as well as by boosting dopamine levels (the feel-good neurotransmitter) and its sensitivity.

By using pregnenolone cream or pregnenolone supplements, the levels of the compound in the body increases, and this brings about various benefits such as fatigue relief, and delay of the aging process.

Dopamine plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy libido, which is why black ginger can also be used for women's health as well to promote sexual function. It's modulation of dopamine function also makes it a natural anti-depressant.

Examples of other conventional compounds that also increase dopamine and hence improve mood are nicotine and caffeine.

Black ginger is considered a natural viagra since it improves the quality of your erections and libido by increasing your sensitivity to become aroused by stimulating dopaminergic functions in the hypothalamus.

Black ginger is a pretty unique herb somewhat similar to Horny Goat Weed but in our view much more potent and beneficial.

Keep in mind that black ginger has to be consumed daily for 2-3 months for best effects to manifest. Although many people will notice some effects within the first 1-2 weeks.

When taken long term the benefits build up, and you will notice that you are becoming more ready to "engage," not needing to rely on viagra dosing just before sex and the stress of planning sex around that.

You can also get an even further boost in sexual performance by consuming an additional dose of black ginger just before sex.

Traditionally in Thailand, it is recommended to combine black ginger with Butea Superba (another natural Thai aphrodisiac herb) as they are synergistic and make an excellent combo for men's health.

Keep in mind that the effects of black ginger are ​NOT comparable in strength to that of the pharmaceutical viagra, although they work in similar ways.

Black ginger should be seen as a health-promoting substance to be taken long term, and compared to viagra it is entirely free of side effects and very safe.

Do not combine black ginger with viagra, cialis, poppers or other drugs that work on nitric oxide as it can increase their side effects substantially.

purple root

Black Ginger Benefits: What Does the Research Say?

​Research has shown that black ginger possesses a wide range of pharmacological effects, not only reserved for promoting sexual function and fertility.

It is traditionally used in Thailand (especially among Hmong/Mong minority groups as an ancient folk remedy) to cure allergy, asthma, impotence, erectile dysfunction, gout, diarrhea, dysentery, peptic ulcers, and diabetes.

It’s also excellent for heating up cold hands and feet (cold extremities aka Raynaud’s phenomenon) and offer relief of gastrointestinal complaints.

The Thai government has been promoting black ginger as a healthcare food to increase public awareness and conserve its traditional uses since this herb is native to Thailand and Laos only.

It remains one of the most popular herbal remedies in Thailand.

Various polymethoxyflavones (potent antioxidants) are the flavonoid type that black ginger is particularly rich in and responsible for much of its beneficial effects.

The primary flavonoids being 5,7-dimethoxyflavone, 5-hydroxy-3,7,4’-trimethoxyflavone and 5-hydroxy-3,7-dimethoxyflavone and major flavones compounds. These flavonoids are all pretty rare in the plant kingdom.


​Here is an overview of what research has revealed on the health benefits of black ginger:

​That’s a pretty impressive lineup of benefits. The following are some more images taken from research studies on black ginger that illustrates some of the study results above:

improved bood vessles
blood circulation improvement
subjective test results

Increasing Energy Expenditure with Thai Ginseng

​Like we mentioned previously, black ginger helps increase energy expenditure which is preventative for various conditions such as metabolic syndrome, obesity, and diabetes.  

Here at Anabolic Health we emphasize increasing the metabolic rate as it is one of the core features of good health as demonstrated by the peak metabolic rate people experience in youth (which is the time when you're often at peak health as well, makes sense right?).

Benefits of a high metabolic rate include increased energy production, faster recovery, higher stress tolerance, more rapid wound healing, deeper sleep, etc., the list is long.  

There are various compounds suitable for increasing the metabolic rate; caffeine is an excellent example of such a substance which most people are already aware of.

Another very potent one is nicotine since smokers have been shown in research to burn about 10% more calories on a daily basis, lowering their risk for obesity and metabolic syndrome (yes nicotine is not all bad).  

But by no means do we suggest that you should pick up smoking (burning matter and inhaling it is carcinogenic), but compounds that increase energy expenditure can be helpful for improving body composition and getting rid of that excess belly fat.

Oral/transdermal nicotine is not a good option for most because of its potential side effects (vasoconstriction) as well as possible addiction. Black ginger, however, comes with none of these side effects (is a vasodilator) but also similarly work on your metabolism.

Black ginger increases energy production by activating AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase).  Caffeine does so in a similar manner by acutely stimulating AMPK in skeletal muscle, and nicotine activates AMPK as well.  

Black ginger also activates BAT (brown adipose tissue) which is the ‘good' type of fat mass which is thermogenic, abundant in mitochondria (the powerhouses of the cells) and beneficial for energy expenditure.  

All in all Black ginger should be seen not only as a booster to your metabolism, but it also improves overall energy production which is beneficial to muscle endurance and physical performance.  

visceral fat
weight loss
blood sugar

Black Ginger Extract Side Effects & How to Use

Black ginger is free of side effects and does not affect blood pressure negatively (viagra lowers it) as well as does not affect hormone levels (such as testosterone and estrogen, meaning also great for use while on TRT).

This makes it an especially beneficial herb for people suffering from heart disease or hormonal imbalances such as estrogen dominance since it improves their symptoms without affecting the conditions negatively. Thai doctors often employ black ginger as prevention for strokes.

The only contraindication for black ginger is not to use the herb if you are suffering from arrhythmia, as it can trigger these episodes further.

Black ginger has been tested for toxicity (LD50) as well as mutagenicity (Ames Test).  LD50 is set to be higher than 2000mg/kg (no abnormal changes was seen in a mouse model at this dosage) and was shown to be non-mutagenic.

A standard daily dosage of Black ginger root powder is considered to be 1000-1500mg (1-1.5 grams). A dosage of 1.2 grams per day is recommended by the Thai traditional medicine institute as proven safe from centuries of traditional use.


​​We recommend black ginger for improving body composition and reducing visceral/abdominal fat accumulation (by increasing energy expenditure).

Also black ginger is one of the best natural herbs for erectile dysfunction since it addresses both the blood flow as well as neurotransmitters involved in the sexual response.

By using pregnenolone cream or pregnenolone supplements, the levels of the compound in the body increases, and this brings about various benefits such as fatigue relief, and delay of the aging process.

Combine black ginger with other therapies to monitor and balance your hormone levels, and you are guaranteed to succeed in reversing your erectile dysfunction.

We believe in this herb so much that we will be releasing our own black ginger extract powder in the future which we have personally sourced on the spot, directly from farmers in Thailand to ensure utmost quality at a very competitive price. Make sure you sign up for our email list to stay updated on its release.

Alex Eriksson (Research Analysis)

Alex Eriksson is the founder of Anabolic Health, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing honest and research-backed advice for optimal male hormonal health. Anabolic Health aspires to become a trusted resource where men can come and learn how to fix their hormonal problems naturally, without pharmaceuticals.

Mihai Voinea (Editor)

Mihai is a medical doctor and entrepreneur with a burning obsession for performance and health. Mihai is also an IronMan, ultramarathon runner, and co-founder of Marsilian, which owns two e-learning platforms for future medical students and doctors.

7 thoughts on “Black Ginger Extract: Thai Ginseng (Kaempferia Parviflora, Krachai Dum)

  1. Alex, this is amazing information. The level of research is fantastic. I appreciate all you put into this article. I have been wanting to break away from pharmaceuticals and this looks like a great road to go. I’ve been experimenting with arugula, watermelon & beet juice with some success (able to cut back on dosage of pharmaceutical). Question for you, how about cycling the black ginger? Is it required? Does the body build any resistance to its affect after a while? Are there liquid extracts available? While were discussing resistance, how about ashwaghanda? I am very happy with the calming affects of ashwaghanda and wonder if I should cycle it on and off every 3 months or so. Thanks for putting out this fantastic information, I consider myself very fortunate to have found your work.

    • Thanks Vince, we have been working on improving the quality of our content and I’ve been taking extra time to research topics in more detail to make sure we always present a good overview, highlight the core ideas, as well as back any claims with actual links to the research. Appreciate the feedback!

      Which one are you taking? Viagra, Cialis, Levitra? I’m also a fan of Citrulline and Ginseng as natural replacements:

      Although increasing nitric oxide using amino acids should only be a temporary solution. From my experience ED can be cured by increasing the metabolic rate and balancing hormones. Often men with ED or low libido are subclincal hypothyroid to some degree. You can confirm by monitoring your morning temperature (just after you awake) as well as average resting heart rate. Temp should be around 98.6 F and heart rate 75-95. Anything lower suggests a low metabolic rate. Many people think the lower the heart rate the better but this is only true in the context when your heart rate is higher because of stress. When you are young your heart rate is naturally much higher than when you get old.

      Liquid extract would be the best (seem to be more potent for ED) but it is very difficult to find. Best alternative is to buy the root chips or powder on Ebay (there is a good source that ships from Chiang Mai, Thailand) and put it in alcohol for 1-2 week and make your own extract. Traditionally they infuse it in alcohol and drink a small shot per day (I’m currently in Thailand and I’ve tried some). I have sourced a liquid extract that we will start selling on Anabolic Health but currently it will take a few months at least before we can release it.

      I don’t think it needs to be cycled but I have not used it more than a few months at a time personally. I feel like it takes a month before the effects really get going. Here in Thailand they consume it long term without breaks.

      I think Ashwagandha is great as a stress reducer, improve sleep and thyroid function, but I never thought of it as a particular great herb for sexual function. I my view it improves hormone levels and increase libido by reducing stress only, which can be done in many other ways as well. Personally Ginseng works better for me to reduce stress.

  2. Thanks Alex, just saw your response. I live in Hanoi, and I know there are now direct flights between Chiang Mai and Hanoi. I wonder if you could pass along info how I can get the chips? Or j However, if you are about to sell from your website, I’ll definitely support your biz. Thanks for the link, I read it and could get through 80% of the medical terms (haha), but will investigate citrulline further. Yes, I take Ashwaghanda for reducing stress, when stress is down, cortisol is down and its easier to sleep like you said. Stress can be a mood killer obviously, but reducing cortisol is the main reason for my taking it. Thanks again!

    • Buy it on Ebay and have it shipped to Hanoi is probably the easiest. But you can find it in herb shops all over Thailand as well as pharmacies, different brands vary in quality though. I will start selling the pure root powder in the next couple of months, reach out to me on email (“About” in nav menu) and I’ll send you a free sample when we have it in stock.

  3. Hey Alex, thanks for your detailed article. I’m currently living in Chiang Mai, and I’ve been looking for herbal supplements to improve sexual and overall health, so naturally I stumbled onto Black Ginger (also other herbs like Butea Superba, etc.)… My question is, given that you’ve been researching this plant, what is the best brand you’ve come across, and what is the suggested dose? I’ve been taking “Khaolaor Krachaidum Compound”, but I’m not sure of its quality, and also I’m not comfortable with the fact that it has other herbs too. The label reads:

    Kaempferia parviflora 250mg
    Elephantopus scaber 15mg
    Ficus pubigera Wall 15mg
    «and other herb, etc.»… (This is the part that makes me less comfortable, why don’t they disclose what “other herbs” does the compound have?)

    Also, the suggested dosage is 1 capsule a day at bedtime.

    So, I’d just be glad to get some recommendations on better alternatives if there are, and any other knowledge you’d want to share on the matter. Thanks!

    • Hey Carlos,
      Thanks for the feedback! I used to live in Chiang Mai as well, great place.

      Unfortunately we cannot sell our own Black Ginger product in Thailand or to Thai customers, as we are only certified by Thai FDA for export since we are a foreign company (but we manufacture in Bangkok). Otherwise I would suggest you ours.

      The product you are taking is way underdosed and yes you do not need the other herbs. I am familiar with that formula though, it’s a common thai formula.

      I will recommend you this product that ships inside Thailand:

      I think it’s a bit too expensive for what you get. I am aware of the market prices since I also source from probably the same farmers as they do in North Thailand. But either way their product is good.

      Since you’re in Thailand another way is to just find a market or herb shop that sells the Krachai Dum root (just show them an image of the purple root on your phone), you can buy that cheap and just infuse in alcohol and make your own extract. I do remember buying some root at a herb market in front of one of the caves in Chiang Mai area, I just cannot remember which cave it was.

      Good luck,


  4. Hey Alex, thanks for the tips. I’ll be looking forward to try the product you recommended. I still have an almost full bottle of the Khaolaor compound, though. In the meatime, given that it seems to be underdosed, how much do you recommend I should be taking?


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