Latin name: Zingiber officinale Rosc
Common names: Ginger
Family: Zingiberaceae (ginger family)
Part used: Rhizome (ginger root)
Key constituents: Essential oil (1-3% w/w) including monoterpenes (mostly geraniol and neral), sesquiterpenes (making up 30-70% of the essential oil - including beta-sesquiphellandrene, ar-curcumene, alpha-zingerberene and beta-bisabolene); pungent principals (4-7.5% w/w, including gingerols, shogaols and related phenolic ketone derivatives).
Beta-sesquiphellandrene and alpha-zingerberene are highest in fresh ginger and decompose on drying and storage. The gingerols gradually convert to shogaols on storage.
Ginger is a member of the Zingiberaceae family, alongside cardamom and turmeric and it has a long history of use to help relieve digestive problems, such as nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness and morning sickness. It has recently been proposed that different combinations of antioxidants from tea and ginger blends could have synergistic effects.1
It is one of the oldest medicinal drinks in the world and has a distinctive, aromatic, spicy flavor. Although no longer grown wild, ginger originates in India where there are a huge number of genetic varieties.