Science of Spices and Culinary Herbs - Latest Laboratory, Pre-clinical, and Clinical Studies

Volume: 5

Zingiber officinale: The Golden Spice, As Portrayed in Ayurveda

Author(s): Rabinarayan Acharya* and Om Prakash Rout

Pp: 78-114 (37)

DOI: 10.2174/9789814998154121050006

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Zingiber officinale Rosc. (Zingiberaceae) - Ginger, an essential raw spice and natural medicine, plays an important role in the kitchen (a food spice) and has medicinal uses worldwide for health benefits. It is an ancient recipe of Indian systems of medicine such as Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy. Ginger is one of the important drugs of the Ayurvedic System of Medicine, known as the universal medicine (Viswabhesaja), and found in almost all classical formulations of Ayurveda for the treatment of different diseases, and the majority of Ayurvedic prescription drugs contain ginger as one of the ingredients. The present paper highlights the use of Zingiber officinale in the Ayurveda system of medicine in India. In Ayurveda, Zingiber officinale is used both in fresh (Ardraka) and dry (Shunthi) forms. Description of the drug appears in almost all pharmacopeia of Ayurveda known as Nighantu (lexicons), Samhita (treaties), Chikitsagrantha (Compendia), and Rasa grantha (Pharmacopeia), etc. Dry ginger is one of the ingredients of Trikatu (group of three pungent spices), a famous Ayurvedic formulation for the treatment of digestive and other disorders.

In Ayurveda, fresh ginger alone or along with other drugs is used in fever, coryza, and bronchial asthma, cough, disorders due to change of place, inadequate digestion, diarrhea, anorexia, piles, oedema, abdominal disorders, fainting, urticaria, earache, and rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

Dry ginger alone or with other medicines is used for fever, diarrhea, loss of appetite, indigestion, malabsorption syndrome, piles, hyperacidity, abdominal pain, heart diseases, abdominal lump, diseases of abdomen, oedema, hiccough and bronchial asthma, cough, alcoholism, rheumatoid arthritis, filarial, diseases of the mouth, diseases of the ear, eye diseases, diseases of the head, for purifying breast milk, jaundice and scorpion poisoning, etc.

Recent research works have shown that the drug has nutritional value and has been clinically evaluated and found to be effective in the treatment of postoperative nausea and vomiting, excessive menstrual bleeding and dysmenorrhea, cancer, diabetics, and rheumatic disorders, etc. The rhizome is rich in volatile oils (known as ginger essential oils), containing active compounds such as [6]-gingerol (a phenylpropanoid, pungent compound found in fresh ginger), [6]-shogaols (a dehydrated form of gingerols formed when ginger is dried or cooked, responsible for the pungency of dry ginger), zingiberol, Zingiberone, and α-Zingiberene. The plant has a number of chemicals responsible for its medicinal uses, including antiarthritis, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antibacterial, anticancer, antifungal properties, etc.

Keywords: Ardrak, Dry Ginger, Fresh Ginger, Green Ginger, Shunthi, Spice, Trikatu, Zingiber officinale.

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