Ginger: properties, use and benefits

the rhizome with many virtues






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Zingiber officinale


Ginger, whose scientific name isZingiber officinale, belongs to the family ofZinziberaceae and is native to India and tropical Asia.

Its peculiarity is the large fleshy rhizome from which the aerial stems of the plant depart.The stems are devoid of branches: the shorter ones (about 20 cm) are intended for the production of flowers while the longer ones (about 1.5 m) carry the leaves in charge of carrying out normal assimilation and photosynthesis activities.


The aromatic properties are given by its essential oil mainly made up of hydrocarbon sesquiterpenes, mainly zingiberene. The characteristic spiciness seems to be given by gingerol and zingerone and others that are found in small quantities in the fresh product but are particularly abundant in dry ginger.


The rhizome contains cellulose and numerous essential oils such as zingiberene, curcumene, camphor and compounds called gingerols and shogaoli, both responsible for the acrid aroma and its therapeutic properties. The former are found mainly in fresh ginger while the latter in dried ginger and their quantity depends on how the ginger was processed, therefore there is a substantial difference between fresh and dried ginger. In dried ginger (therefore in powder form) all its components are concentrated and also contains a high concentration of shogaol (during dehydration the gingerols are partly converted into shogaoli) which has properties similar to aspirin. more intense and therefore much more suitable for all those uses where you want to have its aroma.

The fresh root is more suitable for counteracting colds, to stimulate digestion, to dissolve phlegm, to eliminate nausea and vomiting (even motion sickness) .The powder is instead more indicated in cases of abdominal pain, diarrhea due to cold and to stop bleeding present in the urine.

It is proven that ginger has properties: antihistamines, anti-inflammatory, prokinetic (stimulate digestion and intestinal function), anti-rheumatic, anti-arthritic and anti-arthritic, antioxidant, anti-emetic, toning, anti-migraine, anti-tumor and anti-cholesterol properties.


The dried rhizome is used of the ginger plant, generally reduced to powder, but it can be fresh as it is quite easily found at the greengrocer and if intact, it can be kept well for a couple of weeks at room temperature. To keep it for a longer time it should be put in the fridge. in the vegetable department. Once cut, it must instead be kept strictly in the fridge, always in the vegetable drawer, also wrapping it with cling film to prevent it from dehydrating and losing its fragrance. It is also possible to freeze it grated, blended, squeezed or cut into small pieces. There are also those who suggest keeping it in salt.


With its peppery and burning flavor, it is used to flavor liqueurs, sweets, bread as well as meat, fish, pasta, syrups. It is also commercially available in candied fruit.


Ginger has always been one of the main species of Chinese cuisine used dried or candied. It is also used as a remedy for various ailments in fact it is a stimulant, stomachic and carminative.

In Europe it was widely used during the Middle Ages.

It is a plant known since ancient times, it is three thousand years old. Despite this, its origin is not certain. It is thought that it may have originated in India or China where it was a precious bargaining chip with other products. It was also known in Japan where it was known as "the wonder of the Universe".

There are testimonies that say that in the 19th century it was a very difficult spice to find in Asia as it was cultivated in dangerous places (from Universal dictionary of materia medica and general therapeutics by Merat and De Lens, 1835).

From Asia it arrived in the Mediterranean thanks to the Phoenicians. It was known to the Egyptians that they used it in embalming processes; it was known to the Greeks and Romans who used it in all kinds of dishes. Dioscorides (about 40-90 AD) speaks of it in his De Materia Medica where he recommends it to strengthen the stomach and many other testimonies.

Ginger: nutritional properties, benefits and uses in cooking

by Francesca Fiore

Ginger, a much loved root: fragrant, fresh, with that slight spicy aftertaste. You can use it to flavor dishes, but also in the form of an infusion to cure seasonal ailments. In fact, ginger is a real one mine of nutritional properties for your physique. Let's see what they are.

What is ginger?

What is ginger? The ginger is a perennial plant which belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, the same as turmeric and cardamom.

Originally from Asia, ginger then spread widely in Europe, thanks to the Romans, who had already understood its great healing potential, and today it is cultivated in India, Brazil, Pakistan and Bangladesh and, with some foresight, it you can also plant it with us, in the garden or in pots on the balcony.

For more information read also: What is ginger?

The root of ginger

As can be seen from this photograph, the edible part is not the plant but the rhizome which is underground and protrudes slightly on the surface.

We have already said that the expression ginger root it is inappropriate, we should rather speak of ginger rhizome, but we will still use it from time to time for convenience.

What is the first approach with this strange lumpy root?

Well it must be treated like a potato: it is washed well and then peeled with a knife or a potato peeler.

What does ginger look like?

Only a few decades ago, finding ginger was not so simple: in fact, it was perhaps not in common use especially in Italy while today this root is often used in the kitchen, to obtain spicy and particularly tasty recipes and dishes.

In fact, theuse of ginger in cooking and the recipes that can be found, even online, are different: from gingerbread to ginger tea, from spiced cakes to use as a condiment or spice for other elements, it is quite widespread and for this reason it is also quite common, even in large supermarkets.

Only a few years ago, ginger could only be found in the form of dried root - therefore in the form of powder, in classic spice jars - or in exotic shops today, however, the increasing information has provided a more massive use of this root. , which makes it easy to use and also to be found in common supermarkets

But what are the various types of ginger on the market today? In what form is this root easier to find?

Basically, as mentioned, it is easy to find ginger both in various supermarkets and in dedicated exotic shops: if fresh, it can also be found in the market or supermarket, while the dried powders can be sold both in the supermarket and in herbal medicine, and it is also quite common to find this root in pharmacies, in the form of tablets or essential oils.

Therefore, the ginger on the market can come in the form of:

  1. Fresh ginger: it is undoubtedly the most common and also the best known form. Fresh ginger looks like a simple, irregularly-shaped, gnarled root, with a characteristic beige color with white pulp: looking at it closely, it looks like a slightly irregular potato or a topinabour. In this form it is possible to find it both already 'peeled' and whole: for the purchase it is better to choose this second option, unless we need to consume it all immediately, as the totally skinned ginger has a decidedly shorter shelf life. .
  2. Ginger powder: this is the best known, as ginger powder has been on the market for several years now, and can be used for various recipes that require the use of dried ginger. What is the difference between powdered ginger and fresh ginger? Surely, a price difference: the fresh one can cost as much as ten euros for 200 grams, while powdered ginger is much less expensive. Furthermore, the difference is also in the conservation methodology: fresh ginger is difficult to store, in the sense that it can almost immediately 'lose' its properties and therefore be unusable, while the dry one has a longer expiration date which also allows a longer conservation even of beneficial properties of ginger.
  3. Essence of ginger or essential oil: this type of ginger can be found mostly in herbalists, or pharmacies, and has a mostly 'medical' or medicinal use.
  4. Pills or tablets: in this case too, the use of ginger is of the medicinal type, as some tablets based on this root which can be taken to combat various health problems, including infections, inflammation of the oral cavity, and even flu and colds.
  5. Candied ginger: mostly used in the preparation and decoration of desserts. Candied ginger has a fairly high cost, and for this reason it is not much in common use. In addition, candied ginger, while good in flavor - and also healthy, as it can be used in the form of candy against coughs and colds - is also very high in calories, so people with diabetes or other problems should stay away from. this precious as well as good root. Candied ginger has similar contraindications to fresh ginger.

Ginger: the healing properties and benefits of the golden rhizome

The anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and purifying activity, effective in protecting the liver, fights bad cholesterol, the action on the heart and circulatory system, all uses of Zingiber officinale Roscoe in Herbalist

Zingiber officinale Roscoe

"Bruno and Buffalmacco imbolize a pig in Calandrino they make him have the experience of finding him with gengiovo galls and vernaccia, and they give him two, one after the other, of those of the dog coated in aloè, and it seems that had it himself
make him buy back, if he does not want his wife to say it. "

Giovanni Boccaccio - Decameron (XIV century) Eighth day - Sixth news

Zingiber officinale Roscoe is a perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the family of Zingiberaceae.
The plant with a height of 60 ÷ 90 cm, has alternate leaves, with a lanceolate-oblong and thin shape, even up to 20cm long.
From July to September, the inflorescences appear from the final end of the stem, a spike with green-yellow flowers with a purple lip.
With a creeping habit and an average length of 15cm with irregular branches, the rhizome of the plant is covered with a light brown bark with a typical fibrous and grainy consistency. Inside, the pulp of the typed rhizome appears yellow in color and has an unmistakable aromatic smell.

The drug of the officinal species is represented by the rhizome.
The native species of India is now widely cultivated in Bangladesh, Taiwan, Jamaica, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Australia, Nepal and Indonesia.
The habitat of the plant is characterized by areas with tropical or sub-tropical climates from 300m up to 1500m.

Used for over 2000 years makes for medicinal purposes, Zingiber officinale Roscoe represents one of the foundations of medicine Ayurvedic, Unani Tibb, Siddha and Traditional Chinese Medicine for the care of heart problems, menstrual disorders and cramps, food poisoning, diarrhea, osteoarthritis, rheumatism, epilepsy, nausea, inflammation, cough and cold, bronchitis, flu and gastritis.


Zingiber: from ζιγγίβερ zingíber / ζιγγίβερις zingíberis, Greek name for ginger in Galen and Dioscorides which derives from Sanskrit shingaver / çrñgàvera where is it shri (n) ga means horn and ver root, referring to the shape of the rhizome

officinale: from workshop medieval laboratory where plants usable in pharmaceuticals, herbal medicine, liqueurs, perfumery and the like were studied and transformed.


The therapeutic efficacy of the rhizome of the species Zingiber officinale Roscoe is given by the presence in the metabolic profile of bioactive molecules such as: essential oil (characterized by: zingiberene, gingerol, gingerone, geraniol, linalool, camphene, borneol, cineole, limonene, ar-curcumene, β-bisabolene, β-sequifellandrene, α-farnesene) is resin oil.
These compounds give the rhizomes anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antitussive and antitumor properties.

Extracts of the rhizome of Zingiber officinale Roscoe are effective antiemetics and antinauseants, from the action carminative, stimulates appetite, alleviates digestive disorders and is useful in the treatment of car sickness and seasickness.
Useful in case of indigestion
manages to absorb and neutralize stomach toxins.

Cardiac tonic, helps prevent various heart diseases reducing blood clotting which can lead to plaque formation or thrombosis, in addition, regulates blood pressure decreasing peripheral vascular resistance.

Hepatoprotector to action choleretic-cholagogue, aids in the digestion of fats e lowers blood cholesterol levels.
Natural antipyretic
lower the fever caused by bacteria or viruses, also valid for the treatment of cold. The antibacterial action and specific for strains E. coli, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Proteus vulgaris.

Herbal formulations

The main herbal preparations derived from the species Zingiber officinale Roscoe I'm:

  • Decoction: (the herbal tea cut rhizome)
  • Tincture (hydroalcoholic macerate of fresh rhizome)
  • Tablets (herbal formulations from dry extract of the rhizome)
  • Essential oil (distillate of fresh rhizome)

Note: Ginger essential oil is caustic and irritating to membranes and mucous membranes, it is extremely important to dilute the contents before both internal and external administration. The essential oil must never come into contact with the eyes because they can cause serious irritation. When using essential oils, only very pure essences must always be taken into consideration, in the case of Ginger take into account chemotaxonomy.
Before any treatment, contact your doctor or specialist.

Rhizome Zingiber officinale Roscoe

Warnings and Contraindications

Pay attention to the purchase of the rhizome of Zingiber officinale Roscoe, which must maintain certifications and traceability of the supply chain, since to make the old and rotten rhizome inviting on the market, it is very often washed with sulfuric acid which is extremely dangerous for consumption and can cause kidney stones, damage the liver and create stomach burns.
We do not recommend the use of the root that does not bear certifications and traceability in subjects suffering from kidney stones, liver dysfunctions, gastritis, ulcer and hiatal hernia.
We do not recommend taking extracts and formulations based on Zingiber officinale Roscoeduring therapy with anticoagulant drugs, antiplatelet agents, aspirin and in proximity to surgical events.
During pregnancy, breastfeeding, in subjects suffering from kidney stones, liver dysfunctions, gastritis, ulcer and hiatal hernia and in minors under the age of 12, the use of preparations based on Zingiber officinale Roscoe for short periods and under close medical supervision.
Before consuming the root it is useful to always wash it thoroughly.

Rhizome to consume?

Most often in order to make the old and rotten rhizome inviting on the market, it is washed with sulfuric acid.
L'sulfuric acid which is extremely dangerous for consumption and can cause kidney stones, damage the liver and create stomach burns

Ginger between History and Curiosity

Confucius writes about Ginger in his "Dialogues".

In his treatise "De Materia Medica" Dioscorides describes ginger as an antidote to poisoning, as a digestive and as a remedy to warm the stomach.

Ginger is mentioned in the Quran, the Bible and the Talmud.

The Salerno Medical School writes about ginger: "Eat ginger and love and yes loved as in your youth" attributing to the rhizome properties as an energy enhancer, systemic tonic, hormonal balancer and agent for improving blood circulation. In addition, it suggests its use as an aphrodisiac, and due to its properties an elixir for a happy life in old age.

The rhizome of the species Zingiber officinale Roscoe has been used in traditional oriental medicine for over 2000 years.

In 1280 A.D. Marco Polo observed ginger grown in China and India.

Ginger naturalized in the Caribbean and Central America at the beginning of the sixteenth century when the Spaniards brought it from the East Indies and began to cultivate it on a large scale for export to Europe.

The Apalai Indians, in South America, sprinkle the sick with exciting spices such as ginger and carnations, carefully chewed, so that the demon of disease is not chased away by the itch.

In 1915, 25,000 eclectic doctors embraced the use of ginger.

The fully scraped (peeled) rhizome on the market called "White Ginger" comes from Jamaica, the unpeeled rhizomes called "Black Ginger" come from China and Sierra Leone. The partially scraped rhizomes come from India, Nigeria, Australia and Japan.

Ginger "washed" with sulfuric acid appears brighter and swollen (it almost doubles its weight).

The genre Zingiber includes about 85 species from East Asia and Australia.

The essential oil of the species Zingiber officinale Roscoe is distilled from rhizomes for use in the food and perfume industry.

Used as a food spice, the rhizome is used in flavoring bread, crackers, seafood dishes, meat, roasts. In the confectionery industry as a flavoring for candies, sweets, cakes, biscuits. It is one of the ingredients of Modica Chocolate.

The rhizome is also used as a beer flavoring.

In Japanese cuisine, ginger is usually served in the form of a pickle with sashimi. The fresh rhizome is used as vegetable rennet.
The ginger root extract is used for the preparation of soft drinks such as: ginger beer and ginger ale.

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Acta Plantarum, 2007 onwards - Open source project aimed at studying the spontaneous flora of Italy. Available online 11/10/2019:

Giovanni Boccaccio, Decameron 75% .svg, edited by Aldo Francesco Massera, Bari, Laterza, 1927. Source: BEIC.

Frazer J.G., The Golden Bough, Volume 1, translation by Lauro de Bosis, introduction by Giuseppe Cocchiara, 1973 Publisher Boringhieri SpA

K. Kandiannan et all 1996, Agronomy of ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) - a review, Journal of Spices an Aromatic Crop 5 (1): 1 - 27, 1996.

Subash kumar Gupta et all 2014, Medicinal properties of Zingiber officinale Roscoe - A Review, IOSR Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences (IOSR-JPBS) e-ISSN: 2278-3008, p-ISSN: 2319-7676. Volume 9, Issue 5 Ver. V (Sep - Oct 2014), PP 124-129

Yogeshwar Sharma, Ginger (Zingiber officinale) -An elixir of life a review, The Pharma Innovation Journal 2017 6 (10): 22-27.

BANERJEE S. et all 2011, ZINGIBER OFFICINALE: A NATURAL GOLD, International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences, Vol2 / Issue 1 / Jan-Mar 2011, ISSN 0975-6299.


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The contents in this article are presented for informational purposes only, do not replace the direct relationship between doctor and patient and in no case can they constitute the diagnosis or prescription of a treatment. Always consult a doctor or specialist before taking a food supplement or drug. The site assumes no responsibility for the use that users may make of the information contained in the article itself.

It's a root with almost “miraculous” properties, it Ginger (whose scientific name is Zingiber officinale - they explain to us from belongs to the family of herbaceous plants called Zingiberacee, plants Angiosperms which include about 52 genera and more than 1300 species. Many of these plants - including the Cardamom, widely used in the kitchen and not only - they have interesting properties not only for what concerns the kitchen but also from the medicinal and medicinal point of view.

The Zingiberacee to which it belongs and also refers Ginger (in the top image of iStock Photo) all have a herbaceous posture: they are mostly irregular plants, with rhizome and underground and branched stem. To this type of plants belong several species with very interesting properties, which we will see below.

In particular, it Ginger - which we also know thanks to Japanese cuisine, as it is used and offered in Japanese restaurants at the end of a fish-based dish to "eliminate the strong flavor" released - is a root that is widely used in cooking in the form of a spice and as a condiment in many recipes.

In nature, it is found mostly in the tropical and subtropical areas of the Far East, and although its uses today are widely known in cooking, there are different cultures and oriental populations and not only that have made use of this root for largely medical reasons, such as treatment and cure for diarrhea, nausea, and other problems.

The property.

The Ginger - they explain to us from - it is used as a natural and digestive anti-inflammatory and is one of the most effective anti-nausea and antivertigo medicines. With it you can treat ailments such as car sickness, seasickness, morning sickness.

Its antiemetic properties seem to reside in local effects on the walls of the stomach and intestines. The active principles of the plant are all concentrated in its root: non-volatile substances, such as gingerols, resins and mucilages.

In traditional Far Eastern medicine, ginger is used in the treatment of osteoarthritis, flu, as a stimulant of the heart, as a protective device for the gastric mucosa.

Thanks to its antibiotic properties, ginger is a valid ally for the stomach, intestines, heart and circulatory system.

Even the essential oil is rich in important properties. In fact it is anti-nausea, invigorating, pain reliever, digestive, antiviral and aphrodisiac.

The Ginger it is also useful against bad breath: it can help, in fact, to sip hot boiled water for 10 minutes with fresh ginger, a remedy that promotes digestion and counteracts the accumulation of toxins and bacterial fermentation.

How many Calories does Ginger have and what are its nutritional values?

100 g of Fresh ginger contain 80 KCal, and:

  • Protein 1.82 g
  • Carbohydrates 17.77 g
  • Sugars 1.7 g
  • Fat 0.75 g
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Dietary fiber 2 g
  • Sodium 13 mg.

Contraindicated in pregnancy and while taking anti-inflammatory or antiplatelet agents.

The use of ginger should be subject to medical advice in the following cases:

  1. pregnancy and breastfeeding
  2. if you are taking anti-inflammatory drugs
  3. if you take antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs (such as cardioaspirana) due to the fluidifying effect of Ginger.

The intake should be completely avoided in case of known allergy to one or more components and limited doses because an excess can cause gastritis and ulcers.

Video: Superfoods. 5 Benefits of Ginger: Health Hack- Thomas DeLauer

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