This article was published earlier in the "Hortus Magazine"
of the "Botanical Garden of Amsterdam"
of December 2013
by Fred Triep
In the Netherlands we know ginger particulary as stem ginger from a jar, but this spice has many culinary and medicinal
uses. You can encounter ginger in gingerbread
and ginger ale, but ginger would also increase libido and protect
Ginger is an important spice derived from the rhizome of the ginger plant (
The name Zingiber is derived from Sanskrit which means the bull horn. The ginger plant is also the namesake of the family to which he belongs, the
Zingiberaceae (ginger family). The Zingiberaceae have
a pantropic ( = all tropical regions of the world)
Southeast Asia includes the most species.
The plants of this family are perennial and forms creeping rhizomes under the
A rhizome is an underground, horizontally running, whether or not swollen stem. To the family belongs fifty-two genera and thirteen
hundred species .
Even after modern DNA research, this family remained intact .The family has only become smaller, because one has
split off the Costaceae.
A common property of these two families is the presence of only one fertile stamen.
The other stamens are sterile (staminodiŽn) and are fused to the lip of the
flower. At the Zingiberaceae only the inner staminodiŽn are fused to the lip, at the Costaceae all staminodiŽn .
The plants in the Zingiberaceae
family are vigorous growers who can colonize
large areas with their rootstock. Species of the beautifully blooming genus Hedychium (including
the Kahili ginger from India and Nepal ) behave like a rampant weed in the
Azores , Hawaii and New Zealand
The ginger plant
grows from the rhizomes rows
of sprouts, which are also
called pretence tribes:
are, as well as in the bananas, not real tribes.
They consist of the leaf sheaths of the leaves, which are coiled around each
shoots can be up to one hundred and twenty centimeters long.
The leaves are pinnately veined, they are about eight inches long and one
inflorescence is a green spike, in which the flowers are.
The calyx of the flower is white and the petals are pale yellow. The lip of the
flower is purple with yellow spots.
The genusZingiberincludesabout one hundredforty species,
many of whichhavemedicinal andculinary uses.
Theyare originally fromSouth Asia(China,
isused in Europe before
get itfrom Asia.
is widely grown inIndia, Bangladesh,
Nigeria andSierraLeone.The cultureis usually donevegetativelyby planting rhizomesand grow
them out.The harvest takesfiveto sevenmonths later.
To obtainthedried ginger the rhizomesare boiledorpeeled or scraped.
Peeled ginger is called"white" ginger.
ginger. From the fresh and dried ginger can bemade
ginger oil by
Withorganic solventsoleoresin, a colorant or a flavoring agent for food, can also beextracted fromginger.
Production in 2004in metrictons
Production in 2008in metrictons
Source:FAOSTAT data, 2007 and 2010
From the dried
madeginger powder by grinding.
It tastes sweet and pungent, by the presence of the compound gingerol.
By drying gingerol disintegrate in the substance shogaols, which is twice as
pungent as gingerol.
Thus, dried ginger is more pungent than original ginger. In addition, the rhizome contains an essential oil, from
main ingredient is zingiberene . Relatives of
In the Zingiberaceae family there are even more useful plants for humans. From the
galanga (Alpinia galanga) the rhizome has been ground into the spice
Turmeric has been prepared by boiling, drying, cleaning,
again drying and grinding the rhizomes
of Curcuma longa. With he
cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) the rhizomes are not used, but the seeds.
Also in the "grains of paradise" or "alligator pepper" (Aframomum melegueta) the seeds
are the spices. The seeds are used locally in West Africa.
Some plants of the ginger family are also grown for ornamental use.
This applies for species from the genera Aframomum ( 50 species), Hedychium (50 species, also called ginger lily) and
Roscoea (22 species, also called orchid ginger or Tibet ginger).
Some Roscoea species grows freely in northern China and the Himalayas
on a high
These species are also hardy and suitable for the Dutch or English garden .
An example of this is the purple blooming Roscoea purpurea.
pictures of differentplants from the
Spiced biscuits, gingerbread and other foods
used in many products. In Asia it was mainly in savory products, in the
Western world mainly
sweet products. Ginger is sold as stem ginger (ginger in
syrup of fresh water), ginger beer, as
soft drink ginger ale,
candied ginger (candied ginger candy) and pickled ginger (ginger pieces in
Europe, it is mainly used in cakes and pastries,
such as gingerbread , ginger
cake and spiced biscuit. Ginger
beer is from
Indonesia ginger is used in savory dishes such as babi
djahť. Ginger is also a component of curry blends.
Ginger and health
healthy for humans. Besides the culinary aspects ginger
a medicinal use. About ginger
there are much positive words in books and on the internet, but that's not
all confirmed by research. It can promote bowel movements, but it can also be
used to prevent vomiting and nausea in motion sickness. Furthermore, it should
also have a warming effect on the body,
stimulate blood circulation and
increase the libido. Gingerol , shogaol and zingibireen could act as
antioxidants in the body and thereby help protect against cancer.
In the Botanical
Garden of Amsterdam,
you can find
of the ginger family in the educational greenhouse (Butterfly
greenhouse) and the Tropical greenhouse.
T.M.E. Branney Hardy Gingers,
including Hedychium, Roscoea, and Zingiber Timber Press
Planten voor dagelijks gebruik- Botanische achtergronden en toepassingen KNNV