Black Ginger

A perennial herb with an erect, reed-like white flowering stem rising from a creeping, jointed rhizome.

A genus of about 100 species of perennials, native to tropical Asia. All have reed-like stems and aromatic rhizomes. Gingers of various kinds are grown commercially in all warm regions, notably in Jamaica, which produces some of the finest. Fresh rhizomes, brough for flavoring, may be grown in containers as exotic foliage plants, yielding a further supply of rhizomes when the canes die down in winter. Zingiber officinale has been cultivated for medicinal and culinary purposes since earliest times. It was listed as a taxable commoditiy by the Romans in CE200, and first mentioned in Chinese medical literature during the later Han dynasty (CE25-220). In Ayurvedic medicine Z. officinale is known as vishwabhesaj, "universal medicine", and both in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine occurs in about half of all prescriptions. Ginger is rich in volatile oil, gingerols, and shogaols. Shogaols, which are a breakdown product of gingerols, produced only on drying, are twice as pungent as gingerols; thus dried ginger is hotter than fresh and is used for different purposes in Chinese medicine. Zingiber officinale is of worldwide importance as a flavoring. Other species, such as the SE Asian Z. cassumar (cassumar ginger), are used in the countries of origin. The shoots and aromatic flowers of Z. mioga (Japanese ginger, mioga ginger) are important in Japanese cuisine, either fresh or pickled as a flavoring. The leaves of Z. zerumbet (wild ginger, bitter ginger) are used for flavoring and wrapping foods; the rhizomes contain zerumbone, a cytotoxic compound used to treat cancer in China. Zingiber comes from the Greek zingiberis, "ginger".

Native to India and China, ginger is an excellent digestive aid. The root of the ginger plant promotes the secretion of gastric juices, enhancing the absorption of food and easing colic, indigestion, and flatulence. Several studies have shown that ginger also reduces nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

Deciduous perennial with thick, branching rhizomes, stout, upright stems, and pointed, lanceolate leaves, to 15cm (6in) long, arranged in two ranks on either side of the stem. Yellow-green flowers, with a deep purple, yellow-marked lip, are produced in dense, ovoid spikes, 5cm (2in) long, consisting of overlapping pale green to ochre bracts, and followed by 3-valved, fleshy capsules.

Common Name:
Black Ginger
Other Names:
African Ginger, Gan-Jian, Ginger, Gingerroot, Imber, Race Ginger, Zingiber
Botanical Name:
Zingiber officinale
United States, Asia, China, Guatemala, India, Jamaica, Japan, Nigeria, Tropical Asia
Well-drained, rich, neutral to alkaline soil, in sun or partial shade, with high humidity. Ginger is treated as an annual or biennial crop; plants need a 10-month growing season for optimum rhizome production. Oldest growths may be removed when new shoots appear. Ginger is prone to bacterial wilt in parts of India, China, and in Queensland, Australia.
By division in late spring as growth begins.
Rhizomes are lifted during the growing season for uses where lack of fibrousness is important, or when dormant for drying. Young, fresh rhizomes bought for cooking will keep for 2-3 months in a cool, dry place; they are soaked in brine and vinegar before processing in sugar syrup as crystallized ginger. Sliced fresh rhizomes are made into infusions and cordials for medicinal use. Mature rhizomes are peeled ("white ginger"), limed ("bleached") or left unpeeled ("coated") before storing whole, or ground for use in infusions, decoctions, tinctures, and powders. Oil is distilled from unpeeled, dried, ground rhizomes.
1.5m (5ft)
Steam Distillation
Parts Used:
Roots, Rhizomes (jiang), oil
Color and Odor:
The essential oil is yellow in color with a warm, fresh, spicy aroma.
Used by the Chinese and Indians for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. Known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Introduced to Europe by the Arabs between the 10th and 15th centuries; later introduced into South America by the Spaniards.
Ancient written records confirm that by the first century CE, the aromatic ginger plant was a staple medicine and spice in both the East and the West. And anecdotal information suggests that the ancient Greeks used ginger over 4,000 years ago in one of the first "gingerbreads". (The plant's common and genus name is from the Greek zingiberis for "ginger".) The Romans, who most likely picked up the plant in northern Africa during their forays into Egypt, so prized ginger that they placed a tax on it. Ginger also made a strong appearance during the latter years of China's Han dynasty, in the first century through the mid-second century CE, when Chinese scholars began to formalize herbal medicine and categorize the usefulness of herbs by the ailments they treated. One of these scholars, the great physician and herbalist Zhang Chong Jin, known as the Chinese Hippocrates, featured ginger in many of the herbal formulas in his famous book, the Shang Han Lun (also called A Treatise on Ailments Attributed to the Cold). Zhang's book was an outgrowth of his work as a physician treating patients with typhoid, a disease classified as a "cold" ailment in traditional Chinese medicine. And "cold" disorders are treated with "warming" herbs—ginger being one of the best. Today, ginger is a major ingredient in over half of all Chinese herbal formulas.
In more modern times, Spanish adventurers discovered ginger int he 1500s, while they were exploring the Americas. They brought the herb first to the West Indies—where it was cultivated extensively—and then on to Europe. By the beginning of the twentieth century, Europe was importing millions of tons of gingerroot annually. Today, the island of Jamaica produces some of the finest ginger in the world.
Warming, aperitif, carminative, stimulant, stomachic, tonic.
A sweet, pungent, aromatic, warming herb that is expectorant, increases perspiration, improved digestion and liver function, controls nausea, vomiting, and coughing, stimulates the circulation, relaxes spasms, and relieves pain.
This oil should not be used when there is excessive heat or inflammation, and is best used in lower concentrations as it may cause irritation in sensitive people.
Not given to patients with inflammatory skin complaints, ulcers of the digestive tract, or high fever.
Drug Interactions:
Taking ginger with these drugs may increase the risk of bleeding or bruising:
Abciximab, (ReoPro)
Alteplase, (Activase, Cathflo Activase)
Antithrombin III, (Thrombate III)
Argatroban, (Argatroban)
Aspirin, (Bufferin, Ecotrin)
Aspirin and Dipyridamole, (Aggrenox)
Bivalirudin, (Angiomax)
Celecoxib, (Celebrex)
Choline Magnesium Trysalicylate, (Trilisate)
Clopidogrel, (Plavix)
Dalteparin, (Fragmin)
Danaparoid, (Orgaran)
Diclofenac, (Cataflam, Voltaren)
Diflusinal, (Apo-Diflusinal, Dolobid)
Dipyridamole, (Apo-Dipiradol, Persantine)
Drotrecogin Alfa, (Xigris)
Enoxaparin, (Lovenox)
Eptifibatide, (Integrillin)
Etodolac, (Lodine, Utradol)
Fenoprofen, (Nalfon)
Flurbiprofen, (Ansaid, Ocufen)
Fondaparinux, (Arixtra)
Heparin, (Hepalean, Hep-Lock)
Hydrocodone and Aspirin, (Damason-P)
Hydrocodone and Ibuprofen, (Vicoprofen)
Ibritumomab, (Zevalin)
Ibuprofen, (Advil, Motrin)
Indobufen, (Ibustrin)
Indomethacin, (Indocin, Novo-Methacin)
Ketoprofen, (Orudis, Rhodis)
Ketorolac, (Acular, Toradol)
Lepirudin, (Refludan)
Meloxicam, (MOBIC, Mobicox)
Nabumetone, (Apo-Nabumetone, Relefan)
Nadroparin, (Fraxiparine)
Naproxyn, (Aleve, Naprosyn)
Oxaprozin, (Apo-Oxaprozin, Daypro)
Piroxicam, (Feldene, Nu-Pirox)
Reteplase, (Retevase)
Rofecoxib, (Vioxx)
Salsalate, (Amgesic, Salflex)
Streptokinase, (Streptase)
Sulindac, (Clinoril, Nu-Sundac)
Tenecteplase, (TNKase)
Tiaprofenic Acid, (Dom-Tiaprofenic, Surgam)
Ticlopidine, (Alti-Ticlopidine, Ticlid)
Tinzaparin, (Innohep)
Tirofiban, (Aggrastat)
Tolmetin, (Tolectin)
Urokinase, (Abbokinase)
Valdecoxib, (Bextra)
Warfarin, (Coumadin, Jantoven)
Taken ginger with these drugs may reduce the effectiveness of the drug:
Aluminum Hydroxide, (AlternaGel, Alu-Cap)
Aluminum Hydroxide and Magnesium Carbonate, (Gaviscon Extra Strength, Gaviscon Liquid)
Aluminum Hydroxide and Magnesium Hydroxide, (Maalox, Rulox)
Aluminum Hydroxide and Magnesium Trisilicate, (Gaviscon Tablet)
Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, and Simethicone, (Maalox, Mylanta Liquid)
Calcium Carbonate, (Rolaids Extra Strength, Tums)
Calcium Carbonate and Magnesium Hydroxide, (Mylanta Gelcaps, Rolaids Extra Strength)
Cimetidine, (Nu-Cimet, Tagamet)
Esomeprazole, (Nexium)
Famotidine, (Apo-Famotidine, Pepcid)
Famotidine, Calcium Carbonate, and Magnesium Hydroxide, (Pepcid Complete)
Lansoprazole, (Prevacid)
Magaldrate and Simethicone, (Riopan Plus, Riopan Plus Double Strength)
Magnesium Hydroxide, (Dulcolax Milk of Magnesia, Phillip's Milk of Magnesia)
Magnesium Oxide, (Mag-Ox 400, Uro-Mag)
Magnesium Sulfate, (Epsom Salts)
Nizatidine, (Axid, PMS-Nizatidine)
Omeprazole, (Losec, Prilosec)
Pantoprazole, (Pantoloc, Protonix)
Rabeprazole, (Aciphex, Pariet)
Ranitidine, (Alti-Ranitidine, Zantac)
Sodium Bicarbonate, (Brioschi, Neut)
Sucralfate, (Carafate, Sulcrate)
Taking ginger with these drugs may increase the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar):
Acarbose, (Prandase, Precose)
Acetohexamide, (Acetohexamide)
Chlorpropamide, (Diabinese, Novo-Propamide)
Gliclazide, (Diamicron, Novo-Gliclazide)
Glimepiride, (Amaryl)
Glipizide, (Glucotrol)
Glipizide and Metformin, (Metaglip)
Gliquidone, (Beglynor, Glurenorm)
Glyburide, (DiaBeta, Micronase)
Glyburide and Metformin, (Glucovance)
Insulin, (Humulin, Novolin R)
Metformin, (Glucophage, Riomet)
Miglitol, (Glyset)
Nateglinide, (Starlix)
Pioglitazone, (Actos)
Repaglinide, (GlucoNorm, Prandin)
Rosiglitazone, (Avandia)
Rosiglitazone and Metformin, (Avandamet)
Tolazamide, (Tolinase)
Tolbutamide, (Apo-Tolbutamide, Tol-Tab)
Taking ginger with these drugs may interfere with the action of the drug:
Atenolol, (Apo-Tenol, Tenormin)
Benazepril, (Lotensin)
Captopril, (Capoten, Novo-Captopril)
Carvedilol, (Coreg)
Enalapril, (Vasotec)
Fosinopril, (Monopril)
Labetalol, (Normodyne, Trandate)
Lisinopril, (Prinivil, Zestril)
Taking ginger with these drugs may alter the effects of the drug:
Bepridil, (Vascor)
Diltiazem, (Cardizem, Tiazac)
Felodipine, (Plendil, Renedil)
Isradipine, (DynaCirc)
Nifedipine, (Adalat CC, Procardia)
Taking ginger with these drug may be harmful:
Digitalis, (Digitek, Lanoxin)—may increase the drugs effects.
Magical Influences:
Magical energy, Physical energy, Sex, Love, Money, Courage.
  • Digestive Sytem—Has a warming action on the stomach and slows digestion.
  • Respiratory System—Ginger is powerfully expectorant, clearing the lungs of accumulated catarrh and mucus. Also good for congested sinuses or colds, flu and bronchitis, especially with chills or shivering. Beneficial to bronchial asthma.
  • Nervous Sytem—Helpful for travel sickness and "morning sickness" in pregnancy, reducing nausea and vomiting.
  • Muscular System—Massaged into the limbs, ginger increases the flow of blood to the extremities for cold, rheumatic pains in the hands and feet.
  • Skeletal System—Very helpful in warming swollen joints aggravated by external dampness.
  • Emotions—Warms the emotions, sharpens the senses, aids in memory and is grounding.
Medicinal Uses:
Internally for motion sickness, nausea, morning sickness, indigestion, colic, abdominal chills, colds, coughs, influenza, and peripheral circulatory problems. Externally for spasmodic pain, rheumatism, lumbago, menstrual cramps, and sprains. Often combined with Gentiana lutea (See, Yellow Gentian) and Rheum palmatum (See, Chinese Rhubarb) for digestive complaints. In Chinese medicine, internally for coughs, cold, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain associated with cold (fresh rhizome); uterine bleeding and blood in the urine (fresh, carbonized rhizome); abdominal fullness and edema (rhizome peel); coldness associated with shock, digestive disturbances arising from deficient spleen energy, and chronic bronchitis (dried rhizome).
To treat flatulence, motion sickness, morning sickness, rheumatoid arthritis, loss of appetite, upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, cholera, and burns; to relieve pain. Germany's Commission E has approved the use of ginger to treat loss of appetite, motion sickness, and dyspeptic complaints such as heartburn and bloating.
Ginger has antibiotic, antiflatulence, antinausea, antispasmodic, antioxidant, appetite-stimulating, blood-thinning, cholesterol-lowering, pain-relieving, and sweat-promoting properties. In traditional herbal medicine, ginger is also considered a classic adjuvant. Adjuvant herbs are added to herbal formulas (combinations of several herbs) to enhance the therapeutic effects of the formula's main ingredients. Ginger is a strong stimulant and increases blood circulation, body metabolism, and energy levels. It is taken internally for a variety of ailments, including arthritis, blood-clotting disorders, bronchitis, colds, diarrhea, exhaustion, flatulence, flu, high-cholesterol, high blood pressure, indigestion, menstrual cramps, motion sickness, nausea, pain, sore throats, and vertigo. Ginger is applied externally—most notably in traditional Chinese medicine—in compresses or in oils to treat minor burns and wounds and rheumatic pain.
Culinary Uses:
Fresh young rhizomes (green ginger) are juiced, eaten raw, preserved in syrup, and candied; also used in soups, marinades, curries, chutneys, pickles, meat and fish dishes, and SE Asian stir-fried dishes. Pickled ginger (gari) is used in Japanese cooking, especially to flavor sushi. Dried, ground ginger is used to flavor cakes, cookies, curries, chutneys, and sauces.
Economic Uses:
Oil is used in perfumery. Dried ground ginger and essential oil are used in commercial food flavoring, especially in candy, soft drinks, and condiments. Extracts are added to herb teas, cordials and soft drinks (notably ginger beer and ginger ale).
Excellent commercial ginger teas are sold in supermarkets, pharmacies, health food stores, and herb markets. Ginger is also available as whole, dried, or powdered herb, and in capsules and liquid extracts. To make a decoction, boil 1 teaspoon of dried herb in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes. Strain and drink warm, up to 3 cups a day.
Ginger 5 Ginger 6 Ginger 4
Cardamon 3 Benzoin 3 Lavender 2
Fennel 3 Frankincense 3 Peppermint 2

Ginger 6 Ginger 6 Ginger 5
Coriander 4 Chamomile (R) 3 Mandarin 4
Rosemary 3 Camphor 2 Orange 3
Typical Dose:
A typical dose of ginger may range from 1 to 4 gm per day in capsule or powder form.
No serious side effects are associated with taking ginger, but some people may experience mild heartburn. If you are pregnant, consult your practitioner about using ginger medicinally. Ginger appears to inhibit blood clotting; if you have a blood-clotting disorder or are taking anticoagulants, talk with your doctor before using ginger.
Possible Side Effects:
Ginger's side effects include bloating, flatulence, and heartburn.
Lab Test Alterations:
May increase plasma partial thromboplastin time (PTT), prothrombin time (PT), and international normalized ration (INR) levels in those who are also taking warfarin.
Disease Effects:
  • May interfere with attempts to control blood sugar in diabetes.
  • May worsen bleeding disorders and increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.
  • May worsen cases of high or low blood pressure by interfering with attempts to control blood pressure.
Supplement Interactions:
Increased risk of bleeding when used with herbs and supplements that might affect platelet aggregation, such as Angelica, Danshen, Garlic, Ginkgo Biloba, Red Clover, Turmeric, White Willow, and others.
Aromatherapy Blends and recipes by Franzesca Watson Copyright © 1995 Thorsons, Harper Parker Publishing Inc. Pp 108-109
Magical Aromatherapy by Scott Cunningham Copyright © 1989 Llewellyn Publications, Inc. Pp 91-92
The Encyclopedia of Herbs by Deni Bown Copyright © 1995, 2001 Dorling Kindersley Limited. pps.410-411
The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide by Geo. T. Grossberg,MD and Barry Fox,PhD Copyright©2007 Barry Fox,PhD. Pp.236-239
The Modern Herbal Primer by Nancy Burke Copyright©2000 Yankee Publishing, Inc. pp. 64-65