Family: Zingiberaceae

Bengali/Vernacular Name: Ada, Shuth; Adrak (Chittagong).

Tribal Name: Paimui (Chakma); Sapsa (Murong).

English Name: Ginger.

Description of the Plant:
A rhizomatous herb, with about a metre high leafy stem. Rhizome aromatic, yellow inside with pungent taste. Leaves narrow, distichous, sessile, linear-lanceolate, long acuminate, ligule 2-4 mm long, membranous, shallowly bilobed. Inflorescence radical; peduncle 10-20 cm long; spike 4.5-7 cm long, ovoid. Corolla tube 2.2-2.5 cm long, lobes creamy yellow. Labellum obovate, purplish black, with creamy yellow blotches.

Using Information:
Rhizome is carminative, digestive, stimulant, stomachic, appetiser, expectorant, laxative, aphrodisiac, sialagogue, and rubefacient. Infusion of the rhizome is used in dyspepsia, coughs, bronchitis, asthma, rheumatism, lumbago, fever associated with cold and malaise, constipation, dysentery, vomiting, headache, earache, sprain joints, in sore throats and voice loss. Thin dry slices of the rhizome are vermifuge. The expressed juice of the rhizome is used as a strong diuretic in cases of general dropsy. Ginger is reported to contain an antihistamic factor. Few pieces of rhizome and Cinnamon leaf boiled in water and the decoction is taken as a cough expectorant. For gout, warm paste of rhizome and cotton seed is applied as a poultice for relief. A piece of ginger chewed with rock salt before lunch increases appetite. A small piece of rhizome when chewed with little salt gives relief from pain due to indigestion and flatulance. Warm decoction of dried ginger relieves cough and asthma. Dried rhizome cures chronic dysentery. For infantile cough and catarrh, a mixture of ginger juice, leaf juice of Ocimum sanctum and honey in equal proportion is very beneficial.

EtOH extract of the rhizome shows hypolipidemic, hypoglycaemic and anti-tumour effect in experimental animals. Aquous extracts show significant hypouricemic effect in rabbits. Rhizome has been shown to reduce significanty serum cholesterol levels. It simultaneously improves gastric mobility while exerting antispasmodic effects. It also shows significant anti-cancer effects in animal models. Gingerol has shown potent cardiotonic activity on isolated guinea pig left atria (Ghani, 2003). Ginger oleo-resin when administered orally significantly lowered serum and hepatic cholesterol and increased fecal cholesterol excretion (Rastogi & Mehrotra, 1990). Water extract of the rhizome causes relaxation of the isolated Guineapig ileum and also counteract Acetylcholine (Chakma et al., 2001).


Chemical Constituents:
Rhizome contains acrid oleoresin, essential oil, starch, protein, lipids and sugars. Resin contains a pungent principle, gingerol, shogaols, gingeodiols and gingediacetates. Rhizome yields about 1-3% essential oil, that contains 25 different monoterpene and sesquiterpene compounds (camphene, phellandrene, cineol, citral, borneol, bisabolene, zingiberol and zingiberene), various pungent principles (gingerol and shogaol), and aromatic ketones (known collectively as gingerols). Five new diarylheptanoids have been isolated from the rhizome (Ghani, 2003, Chopra el al., 1992). Essential oil obtained from the rhizome also contains heptane, octane, isovaleraldehyde, nonanol, ethyl pinene, camphene, β-pinene, sabonene, myrecene, limonene, β-phellandrene and 1,4-cineole; new sesquiterpene – sequithujene, cis-sesquisabinene hydrate and zingiberenol; car-3-ene, α-terpenene, α-terpineol, nerol, 1,8-cineole, zingiberene, neral, geranial, geraniol and geranyl acetate. Gingediol, methylgingediol and their diacetates have also been isolated from the plant (Rastogi & Mehrotra, 1993).

Cultivated all over the country.

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Retutn to Medicinal Plants: Part Y-Z