Just for clarity, when we say ginger facts, we actually mean the spice and not redheads.
In this article on ginger facts, we are going to learn about its nature, its name’s origin, uses and a few more interesting facts that you will need for your school project or simply for gaining knowledge.
So, without further ado, let us begin…
Ginger Facts: 1-5
1. Ginger (Binomial name: Zingiber officinale, Species: Z. officinale) is a flowering plant and has widespread applications in folk medicine and as a spice.
2. Ginger is a herbaceous plant. Simply put, it lacks a woody stem. It is also a perennial plant, which means that it lives for more than two years. The stem of the plant grows once a year and reaches the length of about a meter.
3. The stem bears long narrow leaves that are green in color. Clusters of pink and white flower buds grow on the stem. These buds eventually bloom into yellow flowers.
4. Ginger is capable of surviving in warm climates and has a charming aesthetic appeal. This makes ginger a go-to plant for landscaping in certain subtropical areas of the world.
5. The underground stem (known as rhizome) of the ginger plant is what is used as spice. So, ginger that we consume is not really root. It is the rhizome.
Ginger Facts: 6-10
6. The rhizomes are gathered only when the stalk withers. Immediately after the rhizomes are gathered, they will be either washed and scraped or scalded for killing them so that sprouting doesn’t take place.
7. Ginger has a characteristic smell. This smell comes from some volatile oils that are present in the rhizome. In fresh ginger, the oil makes up 1-3% of the total weight.
8. When the ginger ages, the essential oil content of the ginger increases significantly. It is because of this, it is highly advised that essential oil should not be extracted from fresh ginger. One should allow at least 9 months of time since harvest for extracting essential oil.
9. Mature ginger rhizomes are nearly dry and they are fibrous. The young ones on the other hand are juicy, have a mild taste and are fleshy.
10. Ginger has a strong yet sweet and at the same time, woodsy smell. It is this characteristic smell that makes it an excellent choice as a spice in food preparation across the world.
Ginger Facts: 11-15
11. It is being said that ginger actually originated in the form of ground flora in lowland tropical forests that are found in Indian subcontinent and southern Asia.
12. The word ‘Ginger’ in English originated somewhere in the mid 14th century. It is believed that the word has been derived from the following sources:
|Prakrit (Middle Indic)||singabera|
|Sanskrit||srngaveram (which in turn is derived from srngam meaning ‘horn’ and vera meaning ‘body’ – that’s the shape of ginger.|
13. Ginger has many other names in various countries. For instance, people in Burma call ginger as ‘gyin’. In Thailand, people called it by the name ‘khing’.
14. Halia is the word for ginger that is used in Malayasia. Filipinos call it ‘luya’.
15. In Arabic, ginger is known as ‘zanjabil’. ‘Gin gayu’ is the word for ginger in the Middle East while ‘zangevil’ is the Hebrew name for ginger.
DID YOU KNOW? Ginger is actually the rhizome, but it is often referred to as Ginger Root. So, the next time you hear ginger root, know that people are actually referring to the ginger rhizome.
Ginger Facts: 16-20
16. The largest producers of ginger are always from Indian subcontinent and southern Asia. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Statistics Division (FAOSTAT), the total ginger production in the world was ~ 2.2 million tonnes.
17. India led the world with 30% of world production, followed by China at 19%, Nepal at 13%, Indonesia at 12% and Thailand at 7%.
18. The top 10 ginger producing countries in world for 2014 are given in the table below:
|Country||Ginger production in tonnes|
|Taiwan province of China||34,735|
19. When it comes to uses, ginger root is primarily used as spice. In India, it is used in almost every type of gravy food item (both veg and non-veg variants). Outside cooking, ginger has widespread use in Ayurveda – the alternative holistic medical practice of ancient India.
20. There are many ways of using ginger in food preparation. It may not be used as an ingredient in food but rather used as a pickle. For instance, in Japan, one can always find Gari and Beni Shoga, which are nothing but ginger pickles.
Ginger Facts: 21-25
21. Ginger is also processed in the form of candies and can be easily found in China. If that isn’t enough, one can find gingerbread, ginger biscuits, ginger snaps, speculaas, parkin etc. in western countries.
22. Heard of ginger tea? It is a herbal tea that is often used for medicinal properties in alternative medicines in various countries of the world.
23. Then there is ginger wine! Yes, it literally is wine but it has ginger flavor. It is produced in the United Kingdom. This ginger wine is sold in green glass bottles.
24. When it comes to uses for health benefits, there’s a lot to say. So, we will create a completely different article on ginger health benefits. But for now, know that traditional medical practices such as Ayurveda of India and traditional Chinese medicines, ginger has been used for curing problems like morning sickness, stomach upset, motion sickness, nausea, expelling intestinal gas etc.
25. Ginger is also used for making ginger beer by both Jamaicans and Greeks. These are basically traditional carbonated beverages.
Ginger Facts: 26-30
26. Did you know that during the 13th century and 14th century, one could buy a sheep by paying with one pound of ginger?
27. When ginger slices are put in sweet vinegar, it turns pink in color. It is this pickled ginger that you can see in sushi in Japan.
28. Did you know that Europe came to know about ginger only in 800 CE. After that, ginger became the second ranking spice for several centuries. First position was taken by pepper.
29. Did you know that while Asians usually use ginger in regular cooking, Europeans usually make use of ginger as exotic flavoring in items like fruit salads, carrot soup cream etc. People in the United Kingdom are known for using ground ginger as a condiment.
30. There is an island called Ginger Island. The only problem is that no one can cultivate ginger there and there are no inhabitants on the island.
Ginger Facts: 31-35
31. One of the active ingredients found in ginger is 1-Dehydro-(10)-gingerdione. It is known for regulation of inflammatory genes through inhibition of NF-κB pathway. Ginger is also known for blocking production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes (inflammatory chemicals) and blocking COX enzyme activities.
32. Reduces muscular pain: In view of aforementioned properties, studies have found that ginger is a very effective painkiller. Consuming around 2 grams of ginger a day for at least 5 days leads to reduction in muscular pain caused by prolonged running and resistance exercises.
33. Reduces menstrual cramps: It has also been found that ginger is far more effective compared to placebo when it comes to reduction of pain sensitivity. This spice is just as good as mefenamic acid (which is an NSAID pain medication). So, ginger is perfect for reducing menstrual cramps.
34. Helps with osteoarthritis: Some studies have found that ginger is capable of improving effects of osteoarthritis, but there are other studies which suggest that ginger is not very effective in dealing with osteoarthritis after the first treatment. So, further research is warranted in this case.
35. Helps with asthma: Researchers have found that ginger’s active ingredient called Zerumbone is responsible for enhancing Th1 response and reduces Th2 allergic response caused by egg white. This spice suppresses Th2-mediated immune response and also helps in reduction of contraction of smooth muscles in airways and helps with asthma.
Ginger Facts: 36-40
36. Alleviates eczema: Ginger has a compound known as 6-Shogaol. This compound has been found to reduce allergic dermatitis through inhibition of cytokine. This inhibition is achieved by Nrf2 pathway activation.
37. Cancer cell apoptosis: Terpenoids found in ginger have been found to induce cell death (apoptosis) in endometrial cancer cells. This is achieved by activation of p53. Similarly, Zerumbone found in ginger has also been found to induce cell death in pancreatic cancer cells via p53 signal pathway.
38. Sensitizes cancer cells: Radiation therapy is pretty common among cancer patients. However, the cancer cells need to be sensitive to radiations used. Zerumbone in ginger is capable of sensitizing colorectal cancer cells and hence, making radiation therapy far more effective.
39. Growth inhibition for cancer cells: 6-gingerol – an ingredient found in ginger is known for the ability of inhibiting growth of bone cancer cells and liver cancer cells (known as osteosarcoma and hepatoma respectively).
40. Inhibition of angiogenesis: Angiogenesis is a process through which cancer cells can grow new blood vessels. Ginger can inhibit angiogenesis especially in skin cancer. Angiogenesis in case of colon cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer (cancer of the pancreas) and stomach cancer is inhibited by Zerumbone found in ginger. Zerumbone blocks NF-kB for preventing angiogenesis.
Ginger Facts: 41-45
41. Prevents cancer cell migration: In case of breast cancer, migration of cancer cells (known as metastasis) is prevented by ginger.
42. DNA protection: Aflatoxin B1 is a type of mold toxin which is known for damaging DNA. The essential oil found in ginger reduces the damage caused by alfatoxin B1. In addition to this, ginger is also capable of protecting sperm DNA from being damaged by oxidative stress. So ginger is basically something men can rely on to improve fertility.
43. Blood sugar: Ginger has been found to be capable of reducing blood glucose in fasting conditions. It also reduced HbA1c.
44. Prevents obesity: In a study conducted on mice, it has been found that mice on high fat diet do not become obese when given ginger. This is achieved by activation of the PPARδ pathway.
45. Effective against Fatty Liver Disease (Nonalcoholic): Studies have found that consumption of 2 grams of ginger daily for 12 weeks in a row is capable of significant reduction in inflammatory cytokines, insulin resistance index and several liver enzymes as compared to placebo. On the other hand, essential oil in ginger is capable of protecting the liver against fatty liver disease (nonalcoholic by nature) and several other related metabolic diseases that are caused by a diet high in fat.
Ginger Facts: 46-50
46. Improves gut integrity: It has been found that ginger improves gut integrity by increasing prostaglandins in lining of the stomach, which gets reduced by prolonged use of NSAID by osteoarthritis patients.
47. Prevents vomiting and nausea: Vagal nerve overactivation is responsible for vomiting and nausea. Ginger has been found to inhibit serotonin function in the digestive tract and hence, prevents vagal nerve overactivation. It has also been found to relieve morning sickness in pregnant women.
48. Reduction of stomach discomfort: Studies have revealed that ginger is capable of stimulating peristalsis in the gut, thereby aiding emptying of the stomach into the small intestine. This means that those who overeat or have problems with indigestion can consume ginger for reducing stomach discomfort.
49. Prevents liver toxicity: In humans, it has been found that liver toxicity caused by antituberculosis drugs is prevented in tuberculosis patients. In animal trials, it has been found that for rabbits poisoned with cadmium, ginger protects both the liver and the kidneys from cadmium toxicity. In the case of rats, the liver is protected by ginger against aluminum toxicity.
50. Prevents oxidative stress damage to the liver: Ginger is known to have several potent antioxidants such as 6-shogaol. These antioxidants protect the liver from oxidative stress damage.
Ginger Facts: 51-54
51. Triglyceride profile and blood cholesterol are improved: In humans, it has been found that ginger is capable of improving triglyceride profile, cholesterol, blood sugar markers and blood CRP. Further studies have revealed that ginger stimulates muscarinic receptors and prevents calcium channel blockades, thereby modulating the nervous system, and hence, lowering blood pressure.
52. Arteries hardening prevention: Ginger is rich in 6-Gingerol. This ingredient is known for protecting those cells from oxidative stress that line up our blood vessels. This has led the scientists to believe that ginger is capable of preventing arteries hardening.
53. Cold virus inhibition: In a cell-based study it has been found that fresh ginger (not the dried one) is capable of inhibiting cold virus from entering into the cells of the human body. Clinical trials need to be conducted to confirm this finding.
54. Wipes out bad bacteria: Studies have found that ginger’s ethanol extract (unheated) has very high anti-bacterial properties.
Cell-studies have been performed on various disease-causing bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurum, Pseudomonas aeroginosa, Haemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureas.
It has also been found that ginger’s methanol extract is capable of inhibiting 19 different strains of Helicobacter pylori (some of which are resistant to drugs).