Ginger – Zingiber officinale

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Ginger - Zingiber officinale

Ginger Quick Facts
Name: Ginger
Origin Southeast Asia
Colors Light Brown
Shapes Subterranean, irregularly branched, thickened and fleshy
Flesh colors Pale yellow, white or red depending on the varieties
Taste Aromatic, pungent and hot
Calories 19 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Copper (6.00%)
Carbohydrate (3.28%)
Vitamin B6 (2.92%)
Manganese (2.39%)
Magnesium (2.38%)
Health benefits Help Fight Infections, Protect Against Alzheimer’s disease, Prevent Cancer, Lower Cholesterol Levels, Reduce Menstrual Pain, Help Treat Chronic Indigestion, Helpful for Osteoarthritis, Reduce Muscle Pain and Soreness, Treat Nausea, Especially Morning Sickness
More facts about Ginger
Ginger is the common name for Zingiber officinale, which was originally grown in China and now equally spread around the world. The plant’s botanical name is supposed to be derived from its Sanskrit name singabera which means “horn shaped,” a physical characteristic that ginger reflects. Pungent, spicy ginger root is one of popular root herb of culinary as well as medicinal importance. Ginger belongs to Zingiberaceae botanical family which also includes cardamom, galangal and turmeric. The spice ginger is the underground rhizome of the ginger plant, with a robust distinct flavor which can boost the production of saliva. The main part which is used as spice on the plant itself is the rhizomes or ginger root. Ginger root is traditionally used in popular sweet foods in Western cuisine such as ginger cake, ginger snaps, gingerbread, ginger biscuits and ginger ale. Apart from its culinary benefits it is considered to be beneficial to cure diabetes, fatigue, headaches, flu, cold and nausea when used in tea or food. Canton Ginger, True Ginger, Common Ginger, Culinary Ginger, Stem Ginger, Jamaican Ginger and Green Ginger are some popular common names of Zingiber officinale. Few of the popular varieties of ginger are Baby Ginger, Organic Ginger, Jamaican Ginger, Thai Ginger, and Yellow Ginger which are found used throughout the world.


Zingiber officinale is an herbaceous perennial plant sized 50–100 cm high and is found growing in warm, humid monsoon forests. It prefers loamy, well-drained or alluvial fertile soils and likes the addition of well-rotted manure or compost. It is intolerant of waterlogging. The part which is used as spice on the plant is the rhizomes or ginger root. Ginger root are normally slender, erect leafy shoot, 0.6 cm diameter. Leaves are distichous, lanceolate to linear–lanceolate, 15–25 cm long and about 2 cm wide, glabrescent, sessile, ligule weakly bilobed, membranous. Flowers arise from axil of bracts; calyx is about 1 cm, corolla greenish yellow, tube 2 cm long, lip (mid-lobe) oblong–obovate, dull purplish mottled with cream blotches, stamens dark purple, anther 9 mm, and connective appendage 7 mm. Fruit is a red capsule.


Ginger is actually a tangled, thick, beige underground stem, known as a rhizome. Ginger root or Rhizome is the main parts that are used as spice around the world. It has been utilized as a medication within Asian, Indian, as well as Arabic herbal traditions for thousands of years. Rhizomes are usually subterranean, irregularly branched, thickened and fleshy and are light brown in color. Ginger rhizome has thin brownish skin and the flesh is pale yellow, white or red depending on the Varieties. It has Aromatic, pungent and hot taste so it is mostly used in traditional medications as well as in wide range of food items throughout the world.


The species is described to be native in Southeast Asia. It is supposed to have originated in the Himalayan foothills of Northern India and later is distributed from India to South Central China. It is widely grown in the tropics and subtropics in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Today, it is widely grown all over the world as a major commercial spice crop.

Nutritional Value

Apart from their aromatic, pungent and hot taste Ginger is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Consuming 24 gram of ginger offers 0.054 mg of Copper,4.26 g of Carbohydrate, 0.038 mg of Vitamin B6, 0.055 mg of Manganese,10 mg of Magnesium,100 mg of Potassium and 0.14 mg of Iron. Moreover many Amino acids like 0.003 g of Tryptophan, 0.009 g of Threonine, 0.012 g of Isoleucine, 0.018 g of Leucine and 0.014 g of Lysine are also found in 24 gram of Ginger.

Health benefits of Ginger

Ginger which is supposed to have originated from Himalayan foothills of Northern India is a pungent and hot spice which is found used all over the world due to its nutritional value. It is a powerhouse of several important nutrients and compounds present in ginger is proven to control allergic symptoms as well as many other health related problem without any kinds of side effects. Listed below are some popular health benefits of using ginger:

1. Treat Nausea, Especially Morning Sickness

Ginger seems to be greatly effective against nausea. For example, it has a long history of use as a sea sickness remedy, and there is certain proof that it may be as effective as prescription medication. Frequent use of ginger can relieve nausea and vomiting after surgery, and in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. However it is mostly effective to pregnancy-related nausea, such as morning sickness.

Researches done in pregnant women suggest that, 1.1-1.5 grams of ginger can expressively decrease symptoms of nausea, but it has no effect on vomiting problems. Although ginger is considered safe, talk to your physician just before taking huge amounts if you are pregnant. Some believe that huge quantities can increase the risk of miscarriage; however there are presently no studies to support this.(1), (2), (3), (4), (5)

2. Reduce Muscle Pain and Soreness

Exercise-induced muscle pain can easily be cured with the regular use of ginger. Research suggests that consuming 2 grams of ginger per day will expressively reduce muscle pain in people performing elbow exercises. However ginger does not have an instant effect, but may be effective at decreasing the day-to-day progression of muscle pain. These effects are supposed to be mediated by the anti-inflammatory properties.(6), (7)

3. Helpful for Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is one of the common medical condition in which the bones become stiff and fragile from loss of tissue, normally as a result of hormonal changes, or lack of calcium or vitamin D. Research carried out on people with osteoarthritis of the knee suggest that frequent intake of ginger extract significantly reduce the pain compared to those who do not take them frequently.

Similarly another research concluded that the combination of ginger, cinnamon, mastic and sesame oil, can decrease pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis patients when applied topically.(8), (9)

4. Help Treat Chronic Indigestion

Recurrent pain and discomfort within the upper part of the stomach is generally described as Dyspepsia (Chronic indigestion). Late emptying of the stomach is the major reason for indigestion. Remarkably, ginger has been displayed to speed up emptying of the stomach in people with this disorder. After consumption of soup, ginger reduced the time it took for the stomach to empty from 16 to 12 minutes.

Researches carried out among 24 healthy individuals suggest that 1.2 grams of ginger powder just before meal accelerated emptying of the stomach by 50%.(10), (11)

5. Reduce Menstrual Pain

Dysmenorrhea or menstrual pain generally refers to pain felt throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle. Ginger is traditionally used to get relief from such pain during menstrual cycle. Scientific research recommends taking about 1 gram of ginger powder per day, for the first 3 days of the menstrual period. Ginger help to manage the pain as effectively as drug ibuprofen and mefenamic acid.(12)

6. Lower Cholesterol Levels

High levels of LDL lipoproteins (the “bad” cholesterol) are related to an increased risk of heart disease. The foods you consume have a strong influence on LDL levels. Research suggests that regular consumption of 3 grams of ginger powder caused significant reductions in most cholesterol markers.

Another research done in hypothyroid rats, have proven that ginger extract helps to lowered LDL cholesterol just like cholesterol lowering drug atorvastatin. Both studies also displayed reductions in total cholesterol and blood triglycerides.(13), (14)

7. Prevent Cancer

Cancer is one of the very serious diseases which are described by uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. Ginger extract has been considered as an alternative usage for numerous forms of cancer. 6-gingerol is one of the essential substance which is found in huge amount in raw ginger has got anti-cancer properties.

Research has discovered that about 2 grams of ginger extract per day considerably reduced pro-inflammatory signaling molecules in the colon. However, a follow-up research in individuals at a high risk of colon cancer did not approve these findings. There is some, although limited, proof that ginger may be effective against pancreatic cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. More research is necessary.(15), (16), (17), (18), (19), (20), (21)

8. Protect Against Alzheimer’s disease

Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can speed up the aging process. They are believed to be one of the important reasons for Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline.

Certain research suggests that the antioxidants as well as bioactive compounds present in ginger can help to prevent inflammatory responses which occur in the brain. However there is some proof that proves ginger can enhance brain function effectively.

In a research of 60 middle-aged women, ginger extract was shown to increase reaction time and working memory. There are several researches showing that ginger can protect against age-related decline in brain function.(22), (23), (24), (25), (26)

9. Help Fight Infections

Fresh ginger consists of Gingerol, the bioactive substance that can help lower the risk of infections. Ginger extract can prevent the growth of many different types of bacteria. It is extremely effective against the oral bacteria related to inflammatory diseases in the gums, like gingivitis and periodontitis. Fresh ginger may be effective against the RSV virus, a common cause of respiratory infections.(27), (28), (29), (30)

How to Eat

  • Ginger is a common spice used as a flavoring agent in food, confectionery and beverage products like chutneys, ginger ale, marmalade, sweets,  ginger tea, pickles, ginger beer, liquors, ginger wine, ginger bread, crystallized gingers, preserves, candies, biscuits, cakes, and other bakery products.
  • Ginger—fresh, juiced, dried, paste, powdered or as essence—is an essential element in numerous Asian food: meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes, soups, curries, sauces, chili sauces, salads as well as noodles.
  • In Japan, ginger is pickled to make beni shoga and gari or grated and used raw on tofu or noodles.
  • It is made into a candy called ‘shoga no sato zuke’.
  • In the traditional Korean kimchi, ginger is either finely minced or just juiced just before the fermentation process.
  • Ginger is consumed in a salad dish called ‘gyin-thot’, which contains of shredded ginger conserved in oil and a variety of nuts and seeds in Burma.
  • Ginger is brewed into the beverage tahu or salabat in the Philippines.
  • A traditional drink called τσιτσιμπύρα (‘tsitsibira’), a type of ginger beer, is made in Corfu island, Greece.
  • Ginger is a popular spice for cooking and is utilized in drinks such as ‘sorrel’, a seasonal drink made during the Christmas season in the Caribbean.
  • Jamaicans make ginger beer as a carbonated beverage and also fresh within their homes.
  • Ginger tea and Jamaican ginger cake are frequently made from fresh ginger, as well as sweet foods like ginger snaps, ginger biscuits, ginger ale, gingerbread, parkin, and ‘speculaas’.
  • A ginger-flavored liqueur named ‘Canton’ is produced in Jarnac, France.
  • Ginger wine is a ginger-flavored wine manufactured in UK.
  • Ginger is also added to tea and coffee.
  • It is used for spicing nearly all kinds of food like tea, and it is one of the major ingredients of ‘zobo’, a local drink in Nigeria.
  • Young, fresh ginger is consumed raw as ‘lalab’ and used for ‘sayur’ and for pickles called ‘achar’, while the old rhizomes are used as a manisan in Indonesia.
  • Sambal jahe is a paste of grated ginger and vinegar consumed with roasted meat and rice.
  • A delicacy called ‘bintang jahe’ is a kind of dodol made of steamed potato, sago meal and ginger and sugar.
  • ‘Tengteng jahe’ is a firm delicacy made from ginger and palm sugar. A flavorful jelly can be obtained from a decoction of young rhizome.
  • A common warming drink made of ginger and sugar called ‘wedang jahe’ (Javanese), ‘bandrek’ (Sundanese, Malay) and ‘sorbat’(Malay) or ‘bidang jahe’ (Madurese) is often drunk by the locals.
  • Fresh leaves, finely chopped, can also be added to shrimp and yam soup as a top garnish and spice to add a much subtler flavor of ginger than the chopped root in Vietnam.

Other Traditional uses and benefits of Ginger

  • It is used in extensive array of unrelated disorders that include arthritis, hypertension, rheumatism, sprains, helminthiasis, muscular aches, dementia, pains, cramps, indigestion, vomiting, fever, sore throats, infectious diseases and constipation.
  • It is used traditionally for the treatment of gastrointestinal ailments like dyspepsia, motion sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum.
  • Hot ginger infusion is used for stoppage of menses due to cold and ginger is also used as a rubefacient.
  • Ginger is a popular spice and is most often recommended as a traditional Chinese medicine for antiemetic, expectorant, anti-diarrheal, stomachic, anti-asthmatic, haemostatic and cardiologic properties for the management of numerous gastrointestinal and respiratory ailments.
  • It is use to encourage blood circulation for the removal of blood stasis, a mechanism which is associated to antiplatelet aggregation activity.
  • Red ginger has been recommended as an analgesic for arthritis pain in Indonesian traditional medicine.
  • The rhizome of ginger is a traditional medicine with carminative effect and anti-nausea, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Ginger is used in Japan, Korea and China as a traditional medicine for treating vomiting, nausea, gastric or duodenal ulcers, cough, dyspepsia and diarrhea.
  • Ginger is used in the traditional system of medicine for the treatment of respiratory disorders.
  • Dried and fresh ginger have been used in Indian traditional medicine for relief from arthritis, muscular aches and pains, indigestion, coughs, rheumatism, sprains, congestion, fever, sinusitis, sore throats, diarrhea, loss of appetite, flu.
  • Ginger and its variants are used in folk medicine to treat stomach discomfort and tumors.
  • Ginger essential oil is used in folk medicine for multifarious conditions including as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-rheumatic.
  • Ginger is a common medicinal plant used by women from Agnalazaha littoral forest.
  • Rhizome and leaf are used to treat cough, nausea, diarrhea and during pregnancy and evacuation of the placenta.
  • Ginger rhizome is used to treat malaria, abdominal pains and cold and as a stimulant in Ethiopia.
  • Ginger is chewed and swallowed for tonsillitis.
  • Ginger rhizome and garlic are crushed and consumed with honey for malaria, the same with Vernonia amygdalina twigs, which are also pounded and eaten with honey for intestinal parasites.
  • Ginger rhizome is chewed for stomach ache, and a cold decoction of ginger rhizome and tea is taken for cough in Ethiopia.
  • The Shinasha, Agew-awi and Amhara peoples in northwest Ethiopia used ginger rhizome to treat tuberculosis.
  • Ginger is chewed and swallowed to treat stomach ache in Wonago Woreda, Ethiopia.
  • A concoction of ginger rhizome, garlic and chilli fruit and coffee leaves is taken orally for headache by the Sheko ethnic group of Ethiopia.
  • A ginger decoction is used for constipation cough, asthma, common cold and diarrhea in North Shewa Zone, Amhara Region, Ethiopia.
  • Ginger rhizome is used for remedy of cough and indigestion in Senegal.
  • Waluguru people in east Uluguru Mountains Tanzania swallow pressed ginger, ginger juice and salt to treat cough and hernia.
  • Ginger root decoction is orally taken for coughs in Tanzania.
  • An infusion of ginger rhizome powder is used as appetite stimulant, aphrodisiac and antipyretic and for digestive disorders, diabetes and pulmonary disease in Morocco.
  • A decoction of ginger rhizome is used to remedy voice problems in common cold in Egypt.
  • Ginger is chewed for sore throat, and a decoction is taken to treat malaria in Suba District, Kenya.
  • Ginger rhizomes are crushed with a single fruit of Capsicum annum and the poultice rubbed as a remedy for fever and colds in children in Sierra Leone.
  • Ginger rhizome is used as poultice for chronic wounds and boils in Ghana.
  • Ginger rhizomes are gnawed to induce labor during childbirth and ginger rhizome is pulverized and used in tea or boiled in porridge or milk and ingested to treat sexual impotence and erectile dysfunction in western Uganda.
  • A decoction of fresh ginger rhizome is taken orally to treat coughs by the local communities of Kibale National Park, Uganda.
  • Ginger is used as aphrodisiac in Libya.
  • Maceration of pounded roots is taken or the rhizome is chewed to treat coughing and pounded rhizome is used to treat diaper rash in children in Gabon.
  • Ginger rhizome is used to deal with coughs and diarrhea and is chewed to treat toothache in Nigeria.
  • The Ondo people in Nigeria use ginger rhizome for headache, aerophagia, stomach ache, yellow fever, indigestion and malaria.
  • A concoction of ginger rhizome is ingested for cancer in Southwestern Nigeria.
  • Ginger rhizome is chewed to treat cough, stomach ache and catarrh in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.
  • Ginger stem is used for piles in Ijesa Land of Osun State, Nigeria.
  • Ginger is used for typhoid fever, malaria, cough, asthma, obesity, piles, cold, digestive disorders, hepatitis, liver diseases and rheumatism in Lagos State, Nigeria.
  • Ginger rhizome is taken once daily for typhoid, and a mixture of onion, ginger rhizome and root/bark of Garcinia kola is taken twice daily for asthma in Nigeria.
  • Fresh or dried ginger is chewed to relieve throat infections in the municipality of Nkonkobe, South Africa.
  • Ginger is used to treat abdominal pains and to manage opportunistic fungal infections in HIV/AIDS patients in the Amathole District of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.
  • Ginger rhizome juice is taken orally to treat intestinal worm infestation in the Republic of Guinea.
  • A decoction of Abrus precatorius, Mondia whitei, Allium sativum and Zingiber officinale is used to treat cough; ginger rhizome is cooked with tomatoes, lemons, fish and a bit of salt to treat intestinal worms in the Congo basin.
  • Leaves of Ocimum basilicum and Mondia whitei, Allium sativum, Dorstenia psilurus and ginger are pulverized, boiled, filtered and taken to treat hookworms.
  • Ginger rhizomes are pounded with traditional salt and the resulting paste is introduced into the anus as a suppository to treat hemorrhoids.
  • Pounded ginger rhizomes are used to relieve abdominal pain by rectal administration.
  • Ginger rhizomes are pounded with salt, and the aqueous maceration is used as enema or taken orally for blennorrhoea, and a decoction of rhizome with pepper and salt is ingested as an aphrodisiac and appetite stimulant.
  • Leaves are macerated and ingested to treat piles and backache in the Democratic republic of Congo.
  • Ginger rhizome is used to treat headache, cough, joint pains and hernia in Benin.
  • Ginger is taken as a warm, stimulating carminative and applied to the skin as an efficient rubefacient and counter irritant in Malaysia.
  • Ginger is chewed or sucked as an antiemetic, and a decoction is taken to treat stomach ache and given to women after childbirth.
  • The Medical Book of Malayan Medicine recommended ginger for intestinal problems in tonics, for congestion of the liver, in a panacea for puerperal infections and for headache and extreme bodily pains, while halia padi is suggested for coughs and diseases of the female generative system.
  • Ginger pickle is used in a draught for puerperal infection and in a lotion for rheumatism.
  • Ginger plaster is used outwardly on the abdomen to treat intestinal troubles.
  • Bathing in ginger water is beneficial for fever.
  • The Chinese people take a hot drink of ginger and brown sugar for its diuretic effect.
  • An ointment that contains Datura, ginger and onion is used for pain along the spinal cord.
  • The Malays consumed the leaves as food for indigestion and those of ‘halia udang’ for rheumatism.
  • Leaves pounded may be used as a poultice for headache and ginger juice may be sprinkled over a child’s face for ague.
  • Young shoots may be made into a lotion for rheumatism.
  • Pounded ginger rhizome, alone or mixed with oil, is used as revulsive and anti-rheumatic in the Philippines.
  • For rheumatism, roasted rhizome is pounded and mixed with oil and applied locally.
  • As digestive aid and for flatulence and tympanism, decoction of the rhizome is drunk as tea.
  • For sore throat and hoarseness, warm decoction of the rhizome is drunk as ginger tea; a piece of small rhizome is chewed for the same.
  • Chewing ginger is said to diminish nausea and delirium; relieve sore throat, hoarseness and aphonia; and increase the flow of saliva.
  • Pulverized fresh ginger is used for baldness and vitiligo in Chinese folk medicine.
  • Juice from fresh root is used for treatment of burns.
  • Rhizomes were prescribed for tuberculosis, general fatigue and affections of the uterus, and ginger cataplasm were good for furuncles and, when mixed with oil in Indochina.
  • Dry ginger is much used in India as a carminative adjunct along with black pepper and long pepper.
  • Ginger is extremely valuable in flatulence, dyspepsia, vomiting, colic, spasms as well as other painful affections of the stomach and the bowels unattended by fever.
  • It is also very effective for colds, asthma, coughs, dyspepsia and indigestion.
  • Ginger taken with rock salt just before meals is said to clean the throat, boost the appetite and produce an agreeable sensation.
  • Drying ginger is generally used as a corrective adjunct to purgatives to prevent nausea and griping.
  • Juice from fresh ginger in gradually increasing doses is a strong diuretic in cases of general dropsy.
  • Ginger juice is rubbed on and around the navel to cure all kinds of diarrhea.

Other Facts

  • Ginger is often used in landscaping around subtropical homes.


  • Ginger may interact with certain prescription medications.
  • Herbalists guide not to take more than four grams of ginger in a single day.
  • Side effects may comprise gas, bloating, heartburn and nausea.
  • Avoid ginger if you have a bleeding disorder or if you are taking blood thinners, including aspirin.
  • Ginger root is also known to potentiate the toxicity of anti-coagulant drug warfarin, resulting in severe bleeding incidents.






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