Area of Cultivation and Characteristics
A representative of the family Zingiberaceae, ginger belongs to the monocots (plants with only one embryonic leaf) and grows mainly in tropical and subtropical regions. It is cultivated successfully in the following countries and areas: China, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Africa, America and Australia. Ginger is differentiated into various commercial grades depending on the area of cultivation and its treatment.
The perennial, reed-like plant possesses a robust and creeping sympodial rhizome that can grow one-year old shoots of more than one metre. Its leaves are elongated and shimmer in a light green colour. The plant flowers rarely and the flowers are hermaphroditic, zygomorphic (i.e. the flower has only one symmetrical plane; it possesses two mirror-image halves), threefold and of yellow colour with partly red corolla lobes. Ginger uses mainly vegetative propagation to reproduce.
The rhizome is usually rinsed and then dried. Ginger is available in retail stores as “black” ginger and peeled as “white” ginger, with the “white” ginger often being bleached artificially or treated with lime.
Characteristic aromatic, with a hint of lemon
Hot, tangy, burning sensation
Ginger root is usually available in either the fresh or dried form, but can also be used as a powder, candied, pickled, as an additive in beverages (ginger ale) and as tea. Ginger works very well with garlic, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, chilli and pepper, which makes it a very popular ingredient for many spice mixtures and preparations (e.g. curry powder).
Ingredients and Effect
Ginger stimulates our appetite and digestion. It helps against dizziness, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms are typical of travel sickness. Ginger capsules have proven to be an effective remedy in such cases. Ginger is believed to stimulate perspiration and work as an expectorant and cough suppressant in Chinese medicine. There are numerous scientific studies on ginger showing that this plant has probably many more important properties.
Essential oils, resin acids, resins and gingerol give ginger its typical, aromatic tangy smell, with gingerol being responsible for its spiciness (other ingredients: zingiberen, zingiberol, shogaol, diarylheptanoids, borneol, cineol and zigerone). In addition, borneol and cineol are substances that stimulate the digestion and appetite, which is important in treating dizziness, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms are typical of travel sickness, which can be treated effectively with ginger capsules. Ginger is believed to stimulate perspiration and blood flow and work as an expectorant and cough suppressant in Chinese medicine, as well as act as an aphrodisiac.
Possible Examinations for Ginger as a Food
Organoleptic, contamination, aflatoxins, heavy metal contamination (e.g. lead, cadmium,…), pesticides, microbiological (ground products), radioactivity and many more.
Curcuma (Curcuma longa L.)
White turmaric (Curcuma zedoaria (Berg.) Roscoe)
Galangal (Alpinia officinarum Hance)