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Zingiber officinale (ginger)

Ginger is a well known spice produced from the rhizome (underground stem) of the tropical herbaceous plant, Zingiber officinale.
Rhizome (underground stem) of Zingiber officinale (ginger)

Rhizome (underground stem) of Zingiber officinale

Species information

Scientific name: 

Zingiber officinale Roscoe

Common name: 


Conservation status: 

Least Concern according to IUCN Red List criteria.


Humid, partly-shaded habitats in the tropics and subtropics.

Key Uses: 

Food and drink, medicines, cosmetics.

Known hazards: 

Ginger may cause allergic reactions when applied to the skin. Pregnant women should use ginger with caution, as its safety is not confirmed.


Genus: Zingiber

About this species

Zingiber officinale is best known as the source of the pungent, aromatic spice called ginger. This spice is produced from the rhizome (underground stem) of the plant.

Obtained by the Greeks and Romans from Arab traders, it was one of the first oriental spices to arrive in Europe. Other spices in the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) include cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) and turmeric (Curcuma longa).

Ginger has many medicinal uses. The fresh or dried rhizome is used in oral or topical preparations to treat a variety of ailments, while the essential oil is applied topically as an analgesic. Evidence suggests ginger is most effective against nausea and vomiting associated with surgery, vertigo, travel sickness and morning sickness. However, safe use of ginger during pregnancy is questionable and pregnant women should exercise caution before taking it. The topical use of ginger may cause allergic reactions.


Amomum zingiber L., Zingiber missionis Wall. (for full list see the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families)


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