Zingiber officinale

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                            Zingiber officinale Roscoe, Trans. Linn. Soc. London, Bot. 8: 348. 1807. 
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Zingiber officinale plants

Nomenclature and Taxonomy

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Rhizomes of Zingiber officinale

Zingiber officinale is known as Ginger in English. It is called Semmar (Chepang), Adab (Gurung), Chhebok (Magar), Aduwa (Nepal), Palu (Newari), Kingra, Tunga (Tamang), Sga, Sman-sga (Tibetan) in different languages of Nepal. [1] It belongs to family Zingiberaceae and given with synonyms Amomum zingiber Linnaeus; Zingiber sichuanense Z. Y. Zhu et al. [2]

Plant Description

Zingiber officinale is a herb with branched, yellowish inside, thickened, fleshy, strongly aromatic rhizomes . Its pseudostems are 50--100 cm. Leaves are sessile; with ligule slightly 2-lobed, 2--4 mm, membranous. Leaf blade is lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, 15--30 × 2--2.5 cm, glabrescent. Inflorescences are arising from rhizomes, ovoid, 4--5 × ca. 1.5 cm; with peduncle to 25 cm; bracts are pale green, sometimes yellowish at margin, ovate, ca. 2.5 cm, apex mucronate; bracteoles equaling bracts. Calyx is ca. 1 cm. Corolla is yellowish green; tube 2--2.5 cm; lobes are lanceolate, ca. 1.8 cm. Central lobe of labellum is with purple stripe and cream blotches, oblong-obovate, shorter than corolla lobes; lateral lobes are ovate, ca. 6 mm, free nearly to base. Stamen are dark purple; anther ca. 9 mm; connective appendage curved, ca. 7 mm. [2]

Ecology and Distribution

Zingiber officinale is widely cultivated in the tropics and subtropics of the world. Its native origin is still unknown. [2] In Nepal, it grows in places up to 2500 m. [1]

Phenology and Reproduction

Zingiber officinale flowers in October. [2] Its rhizome are harvested from field in November to December in Nepal.

Economic Value

Zingiber officinale is important for food, medicine and religious purposes. It rhizomes are used as condiment; rhizome, leaf are used as medicine. It is used by Lepchas in all their religious observances. [1]

Phytochemistry and Pharmacology

Zingiber officinale is important medicinal plant for various medicinal systems including Aayurveda, Siddha and other folklore medicine. In Nepali folklore medicine, rhizome of is considered as carminative, astringent, stimulant, diuretic, and diaphoretic; also, is chewed in case of sore throat, hoarseness, and loss of voice. Roasted rhizome is chewed in case of cough and colds, toothaches, and bleeding gums. Leaf paste is applied to bruises. [1] In Ayurveda, it is used in illness such as indigestion, tastelessness, loss of appetite, flatulence, intestinal, biliary colics, nausea, vomiting, allergic reactions, acute and chronic cough, common cold, fever, allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, acute and chronic bronchitis, respiratory troubles. In Siddha medicine, it is used in vomiting, pitha diseases, indigestion, tastelessness, gastritis, dyspepsia, headache, back pain, peptic ulcer, dysmenorrhoea and toxic fever. [3]

Zingiber officinale exhibits varieties of pharmacological activities such as antimicrobial, anti-diabetic, nephroprotective, hepatoprotective, larvicidal, anticancer, analgesic, anti-inflammatory activities. [3]

Zingiber officinale possess essential oils, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, carbohydrates, proteins, alkaloids, glycosides, saponins, steroids, terpenoids and tannin as the major phytochemical groups. [3]

Diseases and Pathogens


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Manandhar, N. P. (2002). Plants and People of Nepal. Portland, Oregon, USA: Timber Press. pp. 486.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Wu, D. L. & Larsen, K. (2000). A ZINGIBER Miller, Gard. Dict. Abr., ed. 4, [1545]. 1754, nom. cons. 姜属 jiang shu. In Flora of China Editorial Committee (Eds.), Flora of China VOlume 24 [PDF onlie], pp. 323 – 333. Retrieved from http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/PDF/PDF24/zingiber.pdf
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Kumar, G., Karthik, L., & Bhaskara Rao, K. V. (2011). A Review on Pharmacological and Phytochemical Properties of Zingiber officinale Roscoe (Zingiberaceae). Journal of Pharmacy Research, 4(9), 2963-2966.