Botanical name – Zingiber officinale Rosc.
Family – Zingiberaceae
Common names –
English – Ginger
Hindi – Adrak
Sanskrit – Shunthi
Parts used – Rhizome
It was originated in the Indo-Malayan region, and is now widely distributed across the tropics of Asia, Africa, America and Australia. It was domesticated in India and China, which represent the centre of origin of the species. China, Indonesia, Nigeria, Philippines, Thailand and India are the main ginger producers.
India is the largest producer of Ginger in the world
Chemical analysis of ginger shows that it contains over 400 different compounds. The major constituents in ginger rhizomes are carbohydrates (50–70%), lipids (3–8%), terpenes, and phenolic compounds. Ginger has abundant Phenolic and Terpene compounds. The Phenolic compounds in ginger are mainly Gingerols, Shogaols, and Paradols. In fresh ginger, Gingerols are the major Polyphenols, such as 6-gingerol, 8-gingerol, and 10-gingerol. Terpene components in Ginger, are β-bisabolene, α-curcumene, zingiberene, α-farnesene, and β-sesquiphellandrene, which are considered to be the main constituents of ginger essential oils
The powdered rhizome contains 3-6% fatty oil, 9% protein, 60-70% carbohydrates, 3-8% crude fiber, about 8% ash, 9-12% water and 2-3% volatile oil. The volatile oil consists of mainly mono and sesquiter– penes; camphene, beta-phellandrene, curcumene, cineole, geranyl acetate, terphineol, terpenes, borneol, geraniol, limonene, linalool, alpha-zingiberene (30-70%), beta-sesquiphellandrene (15-20%), beta-bisabolene (10- 15%) and alpha-farmesene.
The oleoresin has also been found to contain zingiberol, the principal aroma contributing component as well as zingiberene, gingediol, diarylheptanoids, vitamins and
Uses of Ginger
Fresh ginger possess stimulating effects on peripheral circulation, vasodilation contributes to its ability to clear colds. Ginger has been proven effective with asthma, as an anti-inflammatory, anti-hypersecretory, and even helping to repair the body after attack. Ginger helps to reduce inflammation, secretions, and even long-term destruction related to asthma, and thus help in many stages of the disease.
The anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger relax membranes in the airways, which reduces coughing. Ginger and its active components induce broncho-dilatation by modulating intracellular calcium [Ca2+]in airway smooth muscle (ASM).
Ginger increases the secretion of digestive enzymes, and possesses carminative effect, decreases pressure on lower esophageal sphincter, reduces intestinal cramping, and prevents dyspepsia, flatulence, and bloating. It exhibits Cholagogic effects, with its chief pungent principles, -gingerol and -gingerol, being most responsible. While ginger stimulates bile production, it is also hepato-protective.
It stimulates defensive Mucin (a constituent of mucous) production slightly more than the offensive acid-pepsin secretions. The isolated compound 6- gingesulphonic acid shows anti- ulcer activit. Ginger’s antibacterial ‘power’ is effective against preventing numerous intestinal problems that take place as a result of the alteration of the intestinal flora.
In Ayurveda it is advised to take ginger with salt to improve appetite, if suffering from anorexia.
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Gingerol, Shogaol, and other structurally-related substances in ginger inhibit prostaglandin and leukotriene biosynthesis through suppression of 5-lipoxygenase or prostaglandin synthetase. It also inhibit synthesis of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1, TNF-α, and IL-8. Because of potent compounds in ginger rhizome for inhibiting allergic reactions, it may be useful for the treatment and prevention of allergic diseases.
Ginger extract reduces the elevated expression of NFκB and TNF-α, the activation of NF-κB is linked to a variety of inflammatory diseases, including cancer, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, diabetes, allergy, asthma, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, psoriasis, septic shock, and AIDS.
According to a study Ginger extract have significant effect on reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee. In gout as a rheumatic disease of joints, -shogaol has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and can be used as a curative agent.
Ginger significantly lowered blood glucose, serum total cholesterol, LDL, VLDL, and triglycerides, and raised HDL in hyperglycemic conditions. Ethanol extract of Zingiber officinale fed orally for 20 days produced a significant antihyperglycaemic effect . Ethanolic extract of ginger reduced body weights and levels of glucose, insulin, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, free fatty acids, and phospholipids in high-fat diets.