Zingiber officinale, better known as ginger, is a small herbaceous perennial that is native to India (Floridata, 2003; Grace, n.d). It is a medium sized plant, reaching a maximum height of 121cm (Floridata, 2003). Ginger grows best in shady areas, but if soil becomes waterlogged, the plant will rot (Plant Village, 2014). The plant has narrow leaves, and produces purple tipped green-yellow flowers that grow on separate stems (Floridata, 2003; Grace, n.d). The edible part of the plant is the rhizome, which is the underground stem, and is brown on the outside and light yellow on the inside (Floridata, 2003; Plant Village, 2014). The rhizome has been used in cooking for thousands of years and continues to be used today (Ehrlich, 2010). A popular carbonated drink called ginger ale can be made from the rhizome of the plant (Floridata, 2003) as well as ginger being consumed in tea.
In addition to its culinary use, ginger has medicinal properties. Its medicinal use can be traced back to at least two thousand years ago in China (Ehrlich, 2010). Studies have shown that ginger helps treat nausea and vomiting, and is even included in some over the counter medications such as Gravol (Dong & Bode, 2011; Gravol, 2015). Traditionally, ginger is used to treat colds, menstrual pains, sore throats, headaches, and arthritis pain, however the effectiveness of ginger to treat these ailments has not be confirmed (National Tropical Botanical Garden, n.d).
Ehrlich, S.D. 2010. Ginger. Univeristy of Maryland Medical Centre. Retrieved from: http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/ginger
Floridata. 2003. Zingiber Officinale. Retrieved from: http://www.floridata.com/ref/z/zing_off.cfm
Grace, O. n.d. Zingiber officinale (ginger). KEW Royal Botanic Gardens. Retrieved from: http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/zingiber-officinale-ginger
National Tropical Botanical Garden. N.d. Meet the Plants – Zingiber Officinale. Retrieved from: http://ntbg.org/plants/plant_details.php?plantid=11651
Plant Village. 2014 Ginger. Retrieved from: https://www.plantvillage.com/en/topics/ginger/infos/diseases_and_pests_description_uses_propagation