Hedychium coronarium Koen. (Family Zingiberaceae), popularly named butterfly ginger, is widely available in tropical and subtropical regions. It has been used in folk medicine for many conditions, such as contusion inflammation, anti-rheumatic and so on. In this study, chemical compositions and anti-inflammatory activity of this flowers’ essential oil were investigated for the first time. Followed by GC–MS analysis, a total of 29 components were identified and the main constituents included -transocimenone (28.05%), linalool (18.52%), 1,8-cineole (11.35%), -terpineol (7.11%), 10-epi--eudesmol (6.06%), sabinene (4.59%) and terpinen-4-ol (3.17%). We measured the antioxidant activity of the essential oil in vitro (DPPH reduction assay and ferric reducing antioxidant power assay) and the antiinflammatory activity in vivo (carrageenan-induced hind paw edema in rats). The oil (100 mg/kg p.o.) produced significant inhibition of paw oedema, but showed poor antioxidant activity (with the DPPH IC50 value of 1091.00 g/ml and FRAP value of 0.22 mol Fe2+/mg). The results reveal that there is no direct correlation between anti-inflammatory effect and antioxidant activity of this essential oil.