Cekur is a perennial herb and grows from a rhizome with leaves spreading horizontally just above the ground. Originating from India, the cekur plant is familiar almost throughout Southeast Asia and southern China and was probably bought into Melaka by early Indian traders. It is commonly cultivated in many gardens.
The young leaves and rhizome of the cekur plant are eaten raw as ulam with sambal belacan. They are also finely sliced and used in kerabu and nasi ulam recipes. The sliced leaves are used as an ingredient in the preparation of seafood curry with fish, crabs or shellfish, to enhance an appetizing aroma. The rhizome is very aromatic and is used as a spice to flavour food.
In some traditional medicine practices in Malaysia and Singapore, the rhizome is powdered and rubbed on the abdomen of women after confinement to warm the body and also to assist uterus contraction. It is also boiled in water and taken as a tonic after childbirth. The crushed leaves are used in a hot compress to treat swellings and rheumatism, while the roots are used to relieve toothache, headache, pains in the chest and constipation. For medicinal, it is use for treatment of high blood pressure, swellings, ulcers, sprains and asthma.