Ginger: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Color plate from Köhler's Medicinal Plants
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Zingiberales
Family: Zingiberaceae
Genus: Zingiber
Species: Z. officinale
Binomial name
Zingiber officinale

Ginger is a tuber that is consumed whole as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale. It lends its name to its genus and family (Zingiberaceae). Other notable members of this plant family are turmeric, cardamom, and galangal.

Ginger cultivation began in Asia and has since spread to West Africa and the Caribbean.[2] It is sometimes called root ginger to distinguish it from other things that share the name ginger.



The English name ginger comes from the French gingembre, from medieval Latin ginginer, from Greek ζιγγίβερις zingiberis, from Pali सिन्गिभेर siṅgivera, ultimately of Dravidian origin from Tamil இஞ்ஜி inji ver (meaning root of inji). The Latin word was borrowed at an earlier date into Old English as gingifere, but the French form ultimately supplanted it. The name is ultimately derived from the Sanskrit phrase स्र्ङवॆरम् srngaveram, which means "body of a horn."


The characteristic odor and flavor of ginger is caused by a mixture of zingerone, shogaols and gingerols, volatile oils that compose one to three percent of the weight of fresh ginger. In laboratory animals, the gingerols increase the motility of the gastrointestinal tract and have analgesic, sedative, antipyretic and antibacterial properties.[3] Ginger oil has been shown to prevent skin cancer in mice[4] and a study at the University of Michigan demonstrated that gingerols can kill ovarian cancer cells.

Ginger section

Ginger contains up to three percent of a fragrant essential oil whose main constituents are sesquiterpenoids, with (-)-zingiberene as the main component. Smaller amounts of other sesquiterpenoids (β-sesquiphellandrene, bisabolene and farnesene) and a small monoterpenoid fraction (β-phelladrene, cineol, and citral) have also been identified.

The pungent taste of ginger is due to nonvolatile phenylpropanoid-derived compounds, particularly gingerols and shogaols, which form from gingerols when ginger is dried or cooked. Zingerone is also produced from gingerols during this process; this compound is less pungent and has a spicy-sweet aroma.[5] Ginger is also a minor chemical irritant, and because of this was used as a horse suppository by pre-World War I mounted regiments for feaguing.

Ginger has a sialagogue action, stimulating the production of saliva, which makes swallowing easier.


Culinary use

Fresh ginger rhizome.

Young ginger rhizomes are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste. They are often pickled in vinegar or sherry as a snack or just cooked as an ingredient in many dishes. They can also be stewed in boiling water to make ginger tea, to which honey is often added; sliced orange or lemon fruit may also be added.

Mature ginger roots are fibrous and nearly dry. The juice from old ginger roots is extremely potent[citation needed] and is often used as a spice in Indian recipes and Chinese cuisine to flavor dishes such as seafood or goat meat and vegetarian cuisine.

Ginger acts as a useful food preservative,[6] and has been proven to kill the harmful bacteria salmonella[citation needed].

Fresh ginger can be substituted for ground ginger at a ratio of 6 to 1, although the flavors of fresh and dried ginger are somewhat different.

Ginger can also be made into candy. Powdered dry ginger root is typically used as a flavoring for recipes such as gingerbread, cookies, crackers and cake, ginger ale, and ginger beer.

Fresh ginger may be peeled before being eaten. For storage, the ginger can be placed in a plastic bag and refrigerated or frozen for longer-term storage.

Regional use

In India, ginger is called Aadrak in Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu, Aadi in Bhojpuri, Aada in Bengali, Adu in Gujarati, Hashi Shunti in the Kannada , Allam (అల్లం) in Telugu, Inji in Tamil and Malayalam, Alay in Marathi, and Aduwa in Nepali, in somaliland,ginger is called Sinjibil

Fresh ginger is one of the main spices used for making pulse and lentil curries and other vegetable preparations. It is used fresh to spice tea especially in winter. Ginger powder is also used in certain food preparations particularly for pregnant or nursing women, the most popular one being Katlu which is a mixture of gum resin, ghee, nuts, and sugar.

In South India, ginger is used in the production of a candy called Inji-murappa meaning ginger candy in Tamil. This candy is mostly sold by vendors to bus passengers in bus stops and in small tea shops as a locally produced item. Candied or crystallised ginger (ginger cured with sugar) is also common. Additionally, in Tamil Nadu, especially in the Tanjore belt, a variety of ginger which is less spicy (also known as mango ginger because of the raw mango-like flavor it renders) is used when tender to make fresh pickle with the combination of lemon juice or vinegar, salt, and tender green chili peppers. This kind of pickle was generally made before the invention of refrigeration and stored for a maximum of 4–5 days. The pickle gains a mature flavor when the juices cook the ginger over the first day. Ginger is also added as a flavoring in tea. Dried ginger (sukku சுக்கு) is used in tea or coffee and also in siddha medicine.

In Bangladesh, ginger is called Aadha and is finely chopped or ground into a paste to use as a base for chicken and meat dishes alongside onion and garlic.

In Burma, ginger is called gyin. It is widely used in cooking and as a main ingredient in traditional medicines. It is also consumed as a salad dish called gyin-thot, which consists of shredded ginger preserved in oil, and a variety of nuts and seeds.

In Indonesia a beverage called Wedang Jahe is made from ginger and palm sugar. Indonesians also use ground ginger root, called jahe as a common ingredient in local recipes.

In Nepal, ginger is called "Aduwa" and is widely grown and used throughout the country as a spice for vegetables, used medically to treat cold and also sometimes used to flavor tea.

In Vietnam, the fresh leaves finely chopped can also be added to shrimp-and-yam soup (canh khoai mỡ) as a top garnish and spice to add a much subtler flavor of ginger than the chopped root.

In China, sliced or whole ginger root is often paired with savory dishes such as fish. However, candied ginger is sometimes a component of Chinese candy boxes, and a herbal tea can also be prepared from ginger.

In Japan, ginger is pickled to make beni shoga and gari or grated and used raw on tofu or noodles. It is also made into a candy called shoga no satozuke.

In the traditional Korean kimchi, ginger is finely minced and added to the ingredients of the spicy paste just before the fermenting process.

In Western cuisine, ginger is traditionally used mainly in sweet foods such as ginger ale, gingerbread, ginger snaps, parkin and ginger biscuits. A ginger-flavored liqueur called Canton is produced in Jarnac, France. Green ginger wine is a ginger flavored wine produced in the United Kingdom, traditionally sold in a green glass bottle. Ginger is also used as a spice added to hot coffee and tea.

In the Caribbean, ginger is a popular spice for cooking, and making drinks such as sorrel, a seasonal drink made during the Christmas season. Jamaicans make ginger beer both as a carbonated beverage and also fresh in their homes. Ginger tea is often made from fresh ginger, as well as the famous regional speciality Jamaican Ginger Cake.

On the island of Corfu, Greece, a traditional drink called τσιτσιμπύρα (tsitsimpira), a type of ginger beer, is made. The people of Corfu and the rest of the Ionian islands picked up the drink from the British, during their occupation of the islands.

In Arabic, ginger is called zanjabil and in some parts of the Middle East ginger powder is used as a spice for coffee.

In the Ivory Coast, ginger is ground and mixed with orange, pineapple and lemon to produce a juice called Nyamanku.

Medicinal use

The medical form of ginger historically was called Jamaica ginger; it was classified as a stimulant and carminative, and used frequently for dyspepsia and colic. It was also frequently employed to disguise the taste of medicines. Ginger is on the FDA's "generally recognized as safe" list, though it does interact with some medications, including warfarin. Ginger is contraindicated in people suffering from gallstones as it promotes the production of bile.[7] Ginger may also decrease pain from arthritis, though studies have been inconsistent, and may have blood thinning and cholesterol lowering properties that may make it useful for treating heart disease.[8]


Ginger compounds are active against a form of diarrhea which is the leading cause of infant death in developing countries. Zingerone is likely to be the active constituent against enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin-induced diarrhea.[9]


Ginger has been found effective in multiple studies for treating nausea caused by seasickness, morning sickness and chemotherapy,[10] though ginger was not found superior over a placebo for pre-emptively treating post-operative nausea. Ginger is a safe remedy for nausea relief during pregnancy.[11] Ginger as a remedy for motion sickness is still a debated issue. The television program Mythbusters performed an experiment using one of their staff who suffered from severe motion sickness. The staff member was placed in a moving device which, without treatment, produced severe nausea. Multiple treatments were administered. None, with the exception of the ginger and the two most common drugs, were successful. The staff member preferred the ginger due to lack of side effects. Several studies over the last 20 years were inconclusive with some studies in favor of the herb and some not.[12][13] A common thread in these studies is the lack of sufficient participants to yield statistical proof. Another issue is the lack of a known chemical pathway for the supposed relief.

Folk medicine

A variety of uses are suggested for ginger. Tea brewed from ginger is a folk remedy for colds. Three to four leaves of Tulsi taken along with a piece of ginger on an empty stomach is considered an effective cure for congestion, cough and cold.[citation needed] Ginger ale and ginger beer have been recommended as stomach settlers for generations in countries where the beverages are made, and ginger water was commonly used to avoid heat cramps in the United States. In China, "ginger eggs" (scrambled eggs with finely diced ginger root) is a common home remedy for coughing[citation needed] The Chinese also make a kind of dried ginger candy that is fermented in plum juice and sugared which is also commonly consumed to suppress coughing. Ginger has also been historically used to treat inflammation, which several scientific studies support, though one arthritis trial showed ginger to be no better than a placebo or ibuprofen for treatment of osteoarthritis.[8] Research on rats suggests that ginger may be useful for treating diabetes.[14][15]

Regional medicinal use
A pack of ginger powder

In the West, powdered dried ginger root is made into capsules and sold in pharmacies for medicinal use.

  • In Burma, ginger and a local sweetener made from palm tree juice (Htan nyat) are boiled together and taken to prevent the flu.
  • In China, ginger is included in several traditional preparations. A drink made with sliced ginger cooked in water with brown sugar or a cola is used as a folk medicine for the common cold.[16]
  • In Congo, ginger is crushed and mixed with mango tree sap to make tangawisi juice, which is considered a panacea.
  • In India, ginger is applied as a paste to the temples to relieve headache and consumed when suffering from the common cold, people use ginger for making tea, in food etc.
  • In Indonesia, ginger ("Jahe" in Indonesian) is used as a herbal preparation to reduce fatigue, reducing "winds" in the blood, prevent and cure rheumatism and controlling poor dietary habits.
  • In the Philippines a traditional health drink called "salabat" is made for breakfast by boiling chopped ginger and adding sugar; it is considered good for a sore throat.
  • In the United States, ginger is used to prevent motion and morning sickness. It is recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration and is sold as an unregulated dietary supplement.


Allergic reactions to ginger generally result in a rash, and although generally recognized as safe, ginger can cause heartburn, bloating, gas, belching and nausea, particularly if taken in powdered form. Unchewed fresh ginger may result in intestinal blockage, and individuals who have had ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease or blocked intestines may react badly to large quantities of fresh ginger.[17] Ginger can also adversely affect individuals with gallstones.[8][17] There are also suggestions that ginger may affect blood pressure, clotting, and heart rhythms.[17]


Ginger field

Ginger produces clusters of white and pink flower buds that bloom into yellow flowers. Because of its aesthetic appeal and the adaptation of the plant to warm climates, ginger is often used as landscaping around subtropical homes. It is a perennial reed-like plant with annual leafy stems, about a meter (3 to 4 feet) tall.

Traditionally, the root is gathered when the stalk withers; it is immediately scalded, or washed and scraped, in order to kill it and prevent sprouting.

Production trends

India, with over 30% of the global share, now leads in global production of ginger, replacing China, which has slipped to the second position (~20.5%), followed by Indonesia (~12.7%), Nepal (~11.5%) and Nigeria (~10%).

Top Ten Ginger Producers — 11 June 2008
Country Production (Tonnes) Footnote
 India 420,000 F
 China 285,000 F
 Indonesia 177,000 F
 Nepal 158,905
 Nigeria 138,000 F
 Bangladesh 57,000 F
 Japan 42,000 F
 Thailand 34,000 F
 Philippines 28,000 F
 Sri Lanka 8,270
 World 1,387,445 A
No symbol = official figure, F = FAO estimate, A = Aggregate (may include official, semi-official or estimates);

Source: Food And Agricultural Organization of United Nations: Economic And Social Department: The Statistical Division

Similar species

Myoga (Zingiber mioga Roscoe) appears in Japanese cuisine; the flower buds are the part eaten.

Another plant in the Zingiberaceae family, galangal, is used for similar purposes as ginger in Thai cuisine. Galangal is also called Thai ginger. Also referred to as galangal, fingerroot (Boesenbergia rotunda), or Chinese ginger or the Thai krachai, is used in cooking and medicine.

A dicotyledonous native species of eastern North America, Asarum canadense, is also known as "wild ginger", and its root has similar aromatic properties, but it is not related to true ginger. The plant also contains aristolochic acid, a carcinogenic compound.


Standard autopsies do not currently screen for the presence of ginger per American Medical Association standards.

See also


  1. ^ "Zingiber officinale information from NPGS/GRIN". Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  2. ^ "Spices: Exotic Flavours & Medicines: Ginger". Retrieved 2007-08-08. 
  3. ^ MD O' Hara, Mary; & MSt; David Kiefer, MD; Kim Farrell, MD; Kathi Kemper, MD, MPH (1998). "A Review of 12 Commonly Used Medicinal Herbs". Archives of Family Medicine 7 (7): 523–536. doi:10.1001/archfami.7.6.523. PMID 9821826. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  4. ^ Glorious Ginger: Root Out Ailments with This Ancient Spice published by
  5. ^ McGee, Harold (2004). On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen (2nd ed.). New York: Scribner pp. 425-426.
  6. ^ Glorious Ginger: Root out Ailments with this Ancient Spice published by
  7. ^ Al-Achi, Antoine. "A Current Look at Ginger Use". Retrieved 2007-08-02. 
  8. ^ a b c University of Maryland Medical Centre (2006). "Ginger". Retrieved 2007-08-02. 
  9. ^ Chen, Jaw-Chyun; Li-Jiau Huang, Shih-Lu Wu, Sheng-Chu Kuo, Tin-Yun Ho, Chien-Yun Hsiang (2007). "Ginger and Its Bioactive Component Inhibit Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli Heat-Labile Enterotoxin-Induced Diarrhoea in Mice". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 55 (21): 8390–8397. doi:10.1021/jf071460f. PMID 17880155. 
  10. ^ Ernst, E.; & Pittler, M.H. (1 March 2000). "Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials" (PDF). British Journal of Anesthesia 84 (3): 367–371. PMID 10793599. Retrieved 2006-09-06. 
  11. ^ Glorious Ginger: Root Out Ailments with This Ancient Spice published by
  12. ^ Wood, C.; Pittler, MH (2000). "Comparison of efficacy of ginger with various antimotion sickness drugs". British journal of anaesthesia 84 (3): 367–71. PMID 10793599. 
  13. ^ Grøntved, A.; Pittler, MH (2000). "Ginger root against seasickness. A controlled trial on the open sea.". British journal of anaesthesia 84 (3): 367–71. PMID 10793599. 
  14. ^ Al-Amin, Zainab M. et al.; Thomson, M; Al-Qattan, KK; Peltonen-Shalaby, R; Ali, M (2006). "Anti-diabetic and hypolipidaemic properties of ginger (Zingiber officinale) in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats". British Journal of Nutrition (Cambridge University Press) 96 (4): 660–666. doi:10.1079/BJN20061849 (inactive 2008-06-25). PMID 17010224. Retrieved 5 November 2007. 
  15. ^ Afshari, Ali Taghizadeh et al.; Shirpoor, A; Farshid, A; Saadatian, R; Rasmi, Y; Saboory, E; Ilkhanizadeh, B; Allameh, A (2007). "The effect of ginger on diabetic nephropathy, plasma antioxidant capacity and lipid peroxidation in rats". Food Chemistry (Elsevier) 101 (1): 148–153. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2006.01.013. 
  16. ^ Jakes, Susan (2007-01-15). "Beverage of Champions". Times on-line. Retrieved 2007-08-02. 
  17. ^ a b c Mayo Clinic (2006-05-01). "Drugs & Supplements: Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe)". Retrieved 2007-08-02. 
This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 edition of The Grocer's Encyclopedia.

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

GINGER (Fr. gingembre, Ger. Ingwer), the rhizome or underground stem of Zingiber officinale (nat. ord. Zingiberaceae), a perennial reed-like plant growing from 3 to 4 ft. high. The flowers and leaves are borne on separate stems, those of the former being shorter than those of the latter, and averaging from 6 to 12 in. The flowers themselves are borne at the apex of the stems in dense ovate-oblong cone-like spikes from 2 to 3 in. long, composed of obtuse strongly-imbricated bracts with membranous margins, each bract enclosing a single small sessile flower. The leaves are alternate and arranged in two rows, bright green, smooth, tapering at both ends, with very short stalks and long sheaths which stand away from the stem and end in two small rounded auricles. The plant rarely flowers and the fruit is unknown. Though not found in a wild state, it is considered with very good reason to be a native of the warmer parts of Asia, over which it has been cultivated from an early period and the rhizome imported into England. From Asia the plant has spread into the West Indies, South America, western tropical Africa, and Australia. It is commonly grown in botanic gardens in Britain.

The use of ginger as a spice has been known from very early times; it was supposed by the Greeks and Romans to be a product of southern Arabia, and was received by them by way of the Red Sea; in India it has also been known from a very remote period, the Greek and Latin names being derived from the Sanskrit. Fliickiger and Hanbury, in their Pharmacographia, give the following notes on the history of ginger. On the authority of Vincent's Commerce and Navigation of the Ancients, it is stated that in the list of imports from the Red Sea into Alexandria, which in the second century of our era were there liable to the Roman fiscal duty, ginger occurs among other Indian spices. So frequent is the mention of ginger in similar lists during the middle ages, that it evidently constituted an important item in the commerce between Europe and the East. It thus appears in the tariff of duties levied at Acre in Palestine about 1173, in that of Barcelona in 1221, Marseilles in 1228 and Paris in 1296. Ginger seems to have been well known in England even before the Norman Conquest, being often referred to in the Anglo-Saxon leech-books of the 11th century. It was very common in the 13th and 14th centuries, ranking next in value to pepper, which was then the commonest of all spices, and costing on an average about is. 7d. per lb. Three kinds of ginger were known among the merchants of Italy about the middle of the 14th century: (1) Belledi or Baladi, an Arabic name, which, as applied to ginger, would signify country or wild, and denotes common ginger; (2) Colombino, which refers to Columbum, Kolam or Quilon, a port in Travancore, frequently mentioned in the middle ages; and (3) Micchino, a name which denoted that the spice had been brought from or by way of Mecca. Marco Polo seems to have seen the ginger plant both in India and China between 1280 and 1290. John of Montecorvino, a missionary friar who visited India about 1292, gives a description of the plant, and refers to the fact of the root being dug up and transported. Nicolo di Conto, a Venetian merchant in the early part of the 15th century, also describes the plant and the collection of the root, as seen by him in India. Though the Venetians received ginger by way of Egypt, some of the superior kinds were taken from India overland by the Black Sea. The spice is said to have been introduced into America From Bentley & Trimen's Medicinal Plants, by permission of J.& A. Churchill.


stem; the former cut off short.

Flower. 1, Labellum, representing two


Flower in vertical section. barren stamens.


Fertile stamen,envelopingthe

Fertile stamen.


style which projects above it.

Piece of leafy stem. 1-3





Tip of style bearing the








Honey-secreting glands.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale), half nat. size, with leafy and flowering by Francisco de Mendota, who took it from the East Indies to New Spain. It seems to have been shipped for commercial purposes from San Domingo as early as 1585, and from Barbados in 1654; so early as 1547 considerable quantities were sent from the West Indies to Spain.

Ginger is known in commerce in two distinct forms, termed respectively coated and uncoated ginger, as having or wanting the epidermis. For the first, the pieces, which are called "races" or "hands," from their irregular palmate form, are washed and simply dried in the sun. In this form ginger presents a brown, more or less irregularly wrinkled or striated surface, and when broken shows a dark brownish fracture, hard, and sometimes horny and resinous. To produce uncoated ginger the rhizomes are washed, scraped and sun-dried, and are often subjected to a system of bleaching, either from the fumes of burning sulphur or by immersion for a short time in a solution of chlorinated limo. The whitewashed appearance that much of the ginger has, as seen in the shops, is due to the fact of its being washed in whiting and water, or even coated with sulphate of lime. This artificial coating is supposed by some to give the ginger a better appearance; it often, however, covers an inferior quality, and can readily be detected by the ease with which it rubs off, or by its leaving a white powdery substance at the bottom of the jar in which it is contained. Uncoated ginger, as seen in trade, varies from single joints an inch or less in length to flattish irregularly branched pieces of several joints, the "races" or "hands," and from 3 to 4 in. long; each branch has a depression at its summit showing the former attachment of a leafy stem. The colour, when not whitewashed, is a pale buff; it is somewhat rough or fibrous, breaking with a short mealy fracture, and presenting on the surfaces of the broken parts numerous short bristly fibres.

The principal constituents of ginger are starch, volatile oil (to which the characteristic odour of the spice is due) and resin (to which is attributed its pungency). Its chief use is as a condiment or spice, but as an aromatic and stomachic medicine it is also used internally. "The stimulant, aromatic and carminative properties render it of much value in atonic dyspepsia, especially if accompanied with much flatulence, and as an adjunct to purgative medicines to correct griping." Externally applied as a rubefacient, it has been found to relieve headache and toothache. The rhizomes, collected in a young green state, washed, scraped and preserved in syrup, form a delicious preserve, which is largely exported both from the West Indies and from China. Cut up into pieces like lozenges and preserved in sugar, ginger also forms a very agreeable sweetmeat.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also ginger




Diminutive of Virginia, also from a nickname for a girl with reddish hair.

Proper noun




  1. A female given name.
  2. a given name reserved for animals having ginger- or orange-coloured fur or feathers.


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