Zingiber officinale

Zingiber officinale

Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe, 1807) is a herbaceous plant of the Zingiberaceae (the same Cardamom family) originating in the Far East. It is a plant cultivated throughout the tropical and subtropical fascia, is provided with fleshy and densely branched rhizome, from which there are both long sterile barrels and cables, formed by lanceolate leaflets, and short breeding fertile, carrying yellow-greenish flowers with purple spots . The fruit is a capsule divided into three logs

Systematic –
From a systematic point of view, Zingiber officinale belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, the Kingdom Plantae, the Tracheobionta Subordination, the Spermatophyta Super Division, the Magnoliophyta Division, the Liliopsida Class, the Zingiberidae Subclass, the Zingiberales Order, the Zingiberaceae Family, the Zingiberoideae Subfamily, the Zingibereae Tribes and then the Zingiber Genus and Species Mr officinale.

Etymology –
The term derives from the extinct Middle East language that used singular expression. When the plant came with the shadows of the Asian countryside of Alexander the Great, first in Greece and then throughout the Mediterranean, the various languages ​​changed the original name according to their own canons, which explains the notable difference between the various denominations of today.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Ginger is a plant native to India. It is very cultivated in the tropical range, in Southeast Asia and especially in India, China and Africa. For its biological characteristics, vegeta well in humid, well-drained and fertile soils.

Description –
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a herbaceous perennial herb planted with tuberous rhizomes from which the stem is part. It is a perennial plant, that is, with gems in the underground, rhizomatic position, from which every year a new plant is born. The roots of ginger, with their irregular and dull form, seem to be jokes of nature. Rice, which is precisely the root of the ginger plant, grows horizontally in the soil and the plant itself looks like a robust grass. Its “pseudo-stalks” that can reach a height of one meter are actually so thick and narrow leaves that seem to stare. Here and there, elongated leaves protrude from pseudo-stems. They end with a yellow-whitish inflorescence made of orchid-like individual flowers.

Cultivation –
The Zingiber officinale is a herbaceous plant native to the Far East, but can adapt to our climate. Ginger crops in Italy have become popular for the properties of fleshy rhizome of this officinal plant. Ginger crops are distributed mainly in India, China, Nepal, Indonesia and Nigeria. Only in 2013 global ginger production reached and exceeded 2.1 million tonnes. Different ginger varieties are common in the countries of origin. For the cultivation of ginger in Italy we have to rely on the cultivars that best fit our climate.
Those who want to cultivate ginger in the garden would be better off to organize themselves with sacks or vases: ginger has precise climatic requirements and are not always compatible with the climate, especially for those who live in the center-north of Italy. In the south the thing changes considerably so we recommend cultivating only in these areas.
The ginger plant does not tolerate temperatures well below 10-15 ° C, even when it stays at lower temperatures, does not develop a fleshy and good quality rhizome.
The planting period must be between winter and early spring.
To get started, even in craftsmanship, you buy the classic ginger rhizome that you use in the kitchen or natural remedies, from here you can get the first sprouts. The only condition is to buy rhizome in a shop that sells only organic products because the ginger roots you find at the supermarket are often treated with substances that prevent germination.
Once you have obtained a biological ginger root, keep it in a ceramic container, at home, at room temperature. Within a few days, a first sprout should begin to grow. When the germination is complete, with a sterile and well sharp knife, cut the rhizome about 3 cm away from the sprout. From a single root you can get as many ginger plants as there are buds!
Ginger can also be grown in pots. Just make up the containers at least 40 cm wide and at least 30 cm deep. In each jar, place two pieces of roots at a distance of about 15-20 cm from each other.
The vessel is filled to 50 percent with a mature compost and the other half with a mixture of clay-sandy soil (medium dough). If you are not sure about the drainage qualities offered by the ground, put a couple of cm of expanded clay on the bottom of the jar: ginger does not bear water stagnation.
Gingerbread buds are buried at about 5 cm deep with the green tip pointing upwards. Irrigate the plant a few hours after settling.
Ginger dishes should be kept in a slightly shaded place where the sun gets filtered in the hottest hours of the day. The ginger plant will begin to develop when the soil temperature stabilizes steadily at 22-25 ° C.
Ginger is irrigated daily throughout the vegetative period (as long as you notice green leaves on the plant). In autumn, when the leaves begin to fall, it will be possible to collect the rhizome. Harvested rhizomes can be eaten fresh or after drying.
On average, the sprouting of the sprouts at the first harvest will go about eight or nine months, depending on the seasonal climate.
Although the ginger is a beautiful blossom, the flower will soon be eliminated, as it will extract nutrients to the rhizome which will be less developed and less intense.

Uses and Traditions –
The Zingiber officinale rhizome contains the active ingredients of the plant: essential oil (mainly zingiberene), gingerols and shogaoli (principles responsible for pungent flavor), resins and mucilages, and presents more pronounced flavor and aroma typical Who see it widely used as spice, especially in dried and powdered form, or fresh in thin slices. The same are to a lesser extent also contained in ginger wood, used for example for skewers, especially fish. In Japanese cuisine, ginger is usually served in the form of pickle (sour cream) with sashimi.
Dried rice, generally marketed in powder form, is used as a spice in the kitchen and in the preparation of liqueurs and soft drinks as a flavor. It has digestion (stomachic) ​​stimulation properties, stimulating peripheral circulation, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and is traditionally believed to contribute to the preservation and exaltation of the flavors of the foods it is usually associated with. The rhizome has an evident antiinfective action, antiemetic (against vomiting), antipyretic and anti-inflammatory.
In various Indochinese kitchens it is often also used in the preparation of soups and dishes with sauces. Fresh rhizome, with boiling, allows the milk to coagulate like other animal or vegetable substances (rennet) and is widely used in the preparation of herbal teas. Enter as mentioned in the preparation of soft drinks such as ginger ale and ginger beer and in a variety of chocolate modicano. The use of ginger (“genius”) in the Florentine confectionery of the medieval age is attested by the sixth novel of the eighth Day of Decameron.
Gingerbread in English is a dough for gingerbread cookies, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, typical of England, the United States and Northern Europe, especially in Christmas.
Zingiber officinale has several medicinal and therapeutic curative properties, Zingiber officinale is a plant that is used alone or as a component of herbal remedies, and has been used for thousands of years in India and China as a food spice, especially in food-based dishes Meat, as sauce or sauce, for beer and other fermented beverages, or for syrups and biscuits, and to prepare a particularly appreciated Curry in India.
The ginger form has been historically called “Ginger Jelly”. Ginger has been classified as a stimulant and carminative, and is frequently used for dyspepsia and colic. In the past ginger was also often used to conceal the taste of other medicines. Ginger is on the list of “Generally considered Salutary” substances of the US FDA, although it has contraindications when used with some medicines. Ginger is not recommended for people who suffer from gallstones because the plant stimulates the release of bile from the gallbladder.
A particular use of ginger is to reduce and partly prevent the addiction phenomenon and morphine abstinence crisis.
Ginger can also decrease the pain caused by arthritis to the joints, although the studies on the subject are inconsistent; It may also have anticoagulant properties, and lower cholesterol, which can make it useful for treating heart disease.
Ginger substances are active against a form of diarrhea which is one of the main factors of child mortality in developing nations. Zingerone is probably the active component against enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, or diarrhea in its heat-sensitive form and induced by enterotoxins.
In many studies, ginger has been shown to be effective in the treatment of nausea caused by sea sickness, pregnancy, and chemotherapy. The antiinfected and anti-vomiting effects of ethanol and acetone rhizome extracts have been experimentally demonstrated on the dog as a remedy to the side effects of cisplatin anti-tumor medication.
The uses that can be made of ginger are innumerable, especially in popular medicine. Ginger tea is a remedy for colds. Three or four sacred basil leaves, together with a piece of ginger in an empty stomach, are an effective cure for congestion, cough and cold. Ginger ale and ginger beer have been recommended as “stomach-absorbing” for generations, in the nations where such drinks are produced, and ginger water was commonly used to prevent heat cramps in the United States. Ginger has also historically been used to treat inflammation, as confirmed by several scientific studies, although a specific case of arthritis showed that ginger was not better than a placebo or hepuprofen. Research on laboratory mice suggests that ginger could be useful for the treatment of diabetes.
Ginger was already known by Galen describing the root, calling it “imported from Barbaria”; In the year 1500, Matthioli described this drug as “commendable in foods and getting ready to eat in seasonings”.
In Western culture, dried ginger root powder is put into capsules and sold in a pharmacy for medicinal use.
In Burma, ginger and local sweeteners made from palm tree juice (Htan nyat) are boiled together, and are used to prevent the influenza.
In China, a drink or drink made from sliced ​​ginger and cooked in sweetened water, is used as a popular medicine for colds.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the ginger is crushed and mixed with the mango tree’s lymph to make the Tangawisi, which is considered a panacea.
In India, pasta ginger is applied on the temples to give relief from headaches and is ingested by common cold sufferers. People also use ginger in addition to tea, for cooking, and so on.
In Indonesia, a type of ginger known as Jahe is used as a plant preparation to reduce fatigue, decrease “air” in the blood, prevent and cure rheumatism, and control bad eating habits.
In the Philippines, a traditional salad called “salabat” is prepared for breakfast, boiling ginger bits and adding sugar; Is considered a good cure for inflammation of the throat.
In the United States, ginger is used to prevent seasickness and pregnancy nausea.
Ginger allergic reactions generally produce eruptions, and despite being generally recognized as healthy, ginger can cause stomach pain, swelling, gas production, especially if taken in the form of dust. Fresh ginger, if not well chewed, can cause intestinal blockage, and individuals who have had ulcers, intestinal inflammation, or intestinal blocks may react badly to large amounts of fresh ginger. Ginger can also act negatively on individuals subjected to biliary calculus. There are also indications that ginger may affect blood pressure, coagulation, and heart rhythm.
The main constituents of Zingiber officinale are: essential oil and resin (gingeroli). In particular we find: 60% starch; 2.5% -3% of essential oil: sesquiterpenic carbides, such as zingiberene (60%), beta bisabolene, ar-curcumene, zingiberol (smokers, etc.); Gingeroli (responsible for the marked taste of the drug); Shogaoli (in the dried drug); Wax, fat, starch, sugars, resin, organic acids and 5% mineral salts
The main activities of Zingiber officinale are: carminative, aromatic and absorbent, antiemetic, and cholesterol-lowering.
The therapeutic use of Zingiber officinale is mainly for: dyspeptic disorders and kinetics prevention.
Zingiber officinale possesses a strong antioxidant activity on fats and other foods, thus facilitating the preservation. The plant is used as a flavorant in many mouthwashes and dental care medicines.
Ginger is sold in powder form as whole, to be grated on dishes; The latter typology, although maintaining the best quality of the product, has the disadvantage of not staying cool for a long time.
The Ministry of Health’s Decree (December 2010) provides for the inclusion of plant substances and extracts in the dietary supplements of this plant, in particular, called rhizoma, oleum.

Methods of Preparation –
Ginger is a root of a thousand beneficial properties: from digestion to slimming effects, from good circulation to aid against nausea. The thing we immediately recognize about this root is its fresh and biting flavor, which in the kitchen is very useful for re-balancing or giving a shade to the dishes. But let’s see how you can cook and use ginger in the kitchen.
First of all, let’s start by saying that most of the time you will want to grind it: as root you will be very good, and it will be much more practical for you to use it. And for conservation? Fresh ginger will last very long in the fridge: from 2 to 3 weeks if you repair it from moisture.
Here we give you some idea, more or less conventional, about how to use fresh ginger in the kitchen.
Ginger in the pasta: it is certainly not an Italian flavor of ginger, but with pasta it is a pity. Take for example a recipe that combines classical garlic lime and chili peppers with a nice dose of ginger. To create a ginger cream just boil the cream with chopped ginger and the game is done. But ginger is also perfect in some recipes that match the root to the taste of sea urchins.
The fresh flavor of ginger, combined with lime, can give a summer twist to all dishes, especially delicate fish carpas, which need some acidity to fully conquer the palate. Ginger can be used in cod carpaccio.
Another recipe is one that uses pumpkin and ginger. An autumn approach to be taken into account right now. Pumpkin and ginger together are one of the most interesting pairs of the kitchen, which is a risotto or velvet.
Another recipe is to use fresh ginger in the kitchen to make a sauce. Simply grate ginger finely, add some lemon and soy sauce and mix by adding soy cream (for a lighter effect) or vegetable milk. If you want, you can also use the eggless mayonnaise directly for a light version of the sauce, to be used on salads, fish, rolls or meat.
Ginger can be used to prepare candies, surely a healthier alternative to chocolates or candies. Beware however of what you buy at the supermarket: it might be full of added sugars. To be sure it’s healthy and good, it’s okay to do it at home.
Among the most famous recipes with ginger are definitely Christmas biscuits. Fresh ginger in general can be used in many cakes and desserts.
Always with the ginger you can prepare the centrifuges, including that with carrots, apples and ginger, but the root is great for all recipes, including smoothies.
Still, ginger in cocktails; In summer (or winter) cocktails is just perfect.
Finally, among the countless uses we recall ginger tea. It’s a tadpole especially after exaggerating a little at the table: a ginger herb helps digestion and is especially enjoyable to taste hot. Prepare it is easy: just boil 3 pieces of fresh ginger in a pan and let it rest and cool a little.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. The Health of the Lord’s Pharmacy, Tips and Experiences with Medicinal Herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (eds.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.

Caution: Pharmaceutical applications and surgical uses are indicated for information purposes only; they do not represent any prescription of a medical type; Therefore, no responsibility for their use for any curative, aesthetic or food use is considered.




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