Ginger Facts

Ginger Facts
Image source: "Ingwer 2 fcm" by Photograph: Frank C. Müller, Baden-Baden - Self-photographed. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons -

Common Names:
Zingiber officinale, African Ginger, Black Ginger, Cochin Ginger, Gingembre, Ginger root, Jamaica Ginger, Race Ginger, Zingiber is rhizome, Gingerall, Cayenne Ginger, Ginger Peppermint Combo, Ginger Power, and Ginger Trips.

1. Zingiber officinale Roscoe-or ginger as the monocotyledonous plant is more commonly known in English-is a member of the Ziniberaceae family. The term "root" is a misnomer: strictly speaking, the rhizome is the part used.

2. Ginger was given its official botanical name Zingiber officinale, by the famous eighteenth-century Swedish botanist, Linnaeus. Linnaeus derived the genus title Zingiber from its Indian Sanskrit name singabera which means shaped like a horn. 

3. Originating in southern China, cultivation of ginger has spread to India, Southeast Asia, West Africa, and the Caribbean.

4. Ginger is one of more than 1,400 species belonging to the Zingiberaceae family; also members of the Zingiberaceae family are turmeric (a principal component of curry) and cardamom. World-wide, it is one of the most important and valued spices.

5. A ginger-flavored liqueur called Canton is produced in the Guangdong province of China.

6. Green ginger wine is a ginger flavored wine produced in the United Kingdom. Ginger is also used as a spice added to hot coffee and tea. 

7. In Japan, ginger is pickled to make beni shoga and gari, or grated and used raw on tofu or noodles.

8. In Western cuisine, ginger is traditionally restricted to sweet foods, such as ginger ale, gingerbread, ginger snaps (a type of cookie), ginger cake and ginger biscuits.

9. In Myanmar, ginger is used in a salad dish called gyin-tho, which consists of shredded ginger preserved in oil, and a variety of nuts and seeds.

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

11. In India, ginger is used in all sub-varieties of the Indian cuisines. In south India, ginger is used in the production of a candy called Inji-murappa (“ginger candy” from Tamil).

12. Additionally, in Tamil Nadu, especially in the Tanjore belt, a variety of ginger which is less spicy is used when tender to make fresh pickles with the combination of lemon juice, salt and tender green chillies.

13. Ginger is well known in the form of ginger ale or crystallised ginger. If these are consumed on a journey, a herbal remedy is being unknowingly used.

14. The effectiveness of ginger root in preventing the nausea, dizziness and vomiting which are symptoms of travel sickness (kinetosis), post-operative vomiting and morning sickness in pregnancy is clearly documented in numerous clinical studies.

15. By the first century A.D. Dioscorides was praising it as a digestive tonic "It encourages the digestion, gently stimulates the stomach and is good for the stomach". His five volume "De materia medica libri quinque" was a standard until the 16th century.

16. In the 13th century, ginger as a spice was first described in cook books and its use spread quickly throughout Europe. Marco Polo (1254-1323) was one of the first to describe the living plant. Ginger had a secure place in the apothecaries of the Middle Ages. It was used for travel sickness, nausea, hangover symptoms and flatulence.

17. In East Africa ginger is used today for headache, rheumatism, as a cough remedy and galactagogue.

18. A numeral of commercial variety of ginger exists. Nigerian Ginger is darker in color, minute size and more pungent taste.

19. Cochin Ginger is habitually larger, well scraped, contains more starch and breaks with a shorter fracture. 

20. African Ginger is darker in color, more pungent in taste and less flavor than Jamaica Ginger. 

21. Ginger plant is propagated by rhizome cuttings each bearing a bud.


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