Zingiber officinale Zingiberaceae
Ginger Root has been used by the Chinese for over 2,500 years as a warm, pungent spice and as a medicine. The root used is actually the rhizome of the plant which is consumed whole as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. Ginger cultivation began in South Asia and has since spread to East Africa and the Caribbean. Ginger derives its name Zingiber from the Greek, zingiberis. The origin of its name being from the Tamil name for ginger “inji” plus the botanical term for root, which is ver, hence inji ver.
The aroma of ginger is due to a mixture of chemical constituents, mainly zingerone, shogaols and gingerols, compounds that have been found to increase the motility of the gastrointestinal tract and have analgesic, sedative, antipyretic and antibacterial properties. 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.
Mature ginger roots are fibrous and nearly dry. The juice from old ginger roots is extremely potent and is often used as a spice in Indian recipes, and is a quintessential ingredient of Chinese, Japanese and many South Asian cuisines and it acts as a food preservative. 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 has a sialagogue action, stimulating the production of saliva. It has been used traditionally to treat coughing, fevers, nausea, vomiting, motion sickness, and morning sickness. Ginger has been found effective in multiple studies for treating nausea caused by seasickness, morning sickness and chemotherapy,
Ginger is classified as a stimulating carminative, used for dyspepsia, gastroparesis, slow motility symptoms, constipation, and colic. It interacts with warfarin, being that it is mildly blood thinning. Ginger is contraindicated in people suffering from gallstones as it promotes the production of bile. Ginger may also decrease pain from arthritis, and have cholesterol lowering properties that may make it useful for treating heart disease.
 University of Maryland Medical Centre (2006). “Ginger” http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/ginger-000246.htm
 O’Hara, Mary; Kiefer, David; Farrell, Kim; Kemper, Kathi (1998). “A Review of 12 Commonly Used Medicinal Herbs”. Archives of Family Medicine 7 (7): 523–536.
 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.
 Mayo Clinic (2006-05-01). “Drugs & Supplements: Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe)”
 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.