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Scientific name: Zingiber Officinalis.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a plant of the zingiberáceas family, whose underground stem is a horizontal rhizome highly appreciated for its pungent aroma and flavor. The plant becomes 90 cm tall, with 20 cm long leaves. Ginger originated in the tropical rain forests of the Indian subcontinent in southern Asia, where ginger plants show considerable genetic variation.
As one of the first spices exported from the East, ginger came to Europe during the spice trade and was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans.2 The plant's rhizome, in its natural state, is made up of 79% of water, 18% carbohydrate and in a smaller amount protein (2%) and fat (1%). A 100-gram serving of ginger contains approximately 334 calories, vitamin C (5 mg), vitamin B9 (11 mcg), magnesium (43 mg), and potassium (415 mg). Other vitamins and minerals present in fresh ginger are vitamin E, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6, calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, phosphorous and sodium.
Rhizomes are used in most of the world's kitchens through Asian cuisine. The tender rhizomes are juicy and fleshy, with a strong flavor. They are usually pickled as an aperitif or simply added as an ingredient in many dishes. The mature roots are fibrous and dry. The juice from old rhizomes is extremely spicy and is often used as a spice in Chinese cuisine to disguise other stronger aromas and flavors, such as seafood and lamb meat.
Galen used it as a medicine to correct tumors, body defects, and paralysis treatments caused by excess phlegm. Avicenna, a renowned Muslim doctor, recommended it as an aphrodisiac, highly beneficial in the treatment of "sexual weakness". Medical research has shown that ginger root is an effective treatment against nausea caused by dizziness in transport, as well as those suffered by pregnant women.
However, a 2010 Cochrane Collaboration review concludes that the evidence on the effectiveness of reducing nausea during pregnancy is inconsistent and relatively weak. It is not known teratogenic effect.