Even though it is still unclear why the archipelago is called, Zanzibar, one theory is that the Latin name of ginger, Zingiber officinale, gave the island its name.

Zanzibar ginger commonly known as Zingiber also has other names like Sunthi and Zingiberis.

Zanzibar ginger consists of whole or cut, dried scrapped, or unscrapped rhizomes of Zingiber officinale Roscoe, family Zingiberaceae. It contains not less than 0.8 percent of total gingerols on a dried basis.

It is said to be native to South East Asia but is cultivated in Zanzibar Indian Ocean Island, Australia, Mauritius, Jamaica, Taiwan, and India. More than 35 percent of the world’s production is from India.

Approximately, 5000 hectares of land are under cultivation in Zanzibar of about 354 tons of dry ginger annually. Ginger needs a warm humid climate and is cultivated in areas with heavy rainfall. It is cultivated even at sea level, but still, it thrives best at an altitude of 1000-1500m. If no sufficient rainfall is available, proper arrangements for irrigation are necessary. Sandy or clay or red loamy soils are suitable for ginger. Ginger is cultivated by sowing rhizomes in the month of June. Carefully preserved seed rhizomes are cut into small pieces and, at least one living bud is allowed in each piece. About 1200-1400 kg of ginger seed rhizomes are necessary per hectare. Ginger is a soil exhausting crop and being a rhizome, needs to be supplemented with good quality of manures and fertilizers. Superphosphate, ammonium sulfate, and potash are common fertilizers used for ginger. Ginger is ready for harvesting in about six months when its leaves become yellow. Harvesting of ginger is done by digging the rhizomes. They are washed properly and then dried to improve the color and to prevent their further growth. The rhizomes are scrapped, dried, and coated with inert material like calcium sulfate. The yield of 1500 kg hectares of green ginger is possible by cultivation.

Preparation of dry ginger is prepared by full-grown ginger rhizomes after digging from the soil and is washed thoroughly to remove erthy matter with ample water. Then they are kept in water for 6-8 hours and are subjected to removing cork by scraping. After removal of the cork, they have washed again and are kept in 2.0% lime water for about six hours.

Then they are shifted to small closed rooms and spread uniformly and are exposed to fumes of Sulphur for 12 hours. The process is repeated three times consecutively to get the best results.

Now the rhizomes are taken to the perforated galvanized cages of 50 × 75 cm size and further three vessels containing each 20%,25%, and 50% solution of sodium hydroxide w/v are prepared. Now the vessels containing sodium hydroxides solution are heated, to boil the solution

The cages containing ginger are dipped in each solution in ascending order of strength of sodium hydroxide solution for not more than five minutes in each solution.

Thus the alkali-treated rhizomes are then passed into another vessel having 4.0%(w/v) citric acid solution, where they are kept for two hours. Then the rhizomes are washed thoroughly and kept on pavements to dry.

Either the sun-dried method or drying in the oven is followed and the dried ginger is sent to market in suitable packing.

Chemical constituents of ginger consists of volatile oil (1-4 per cent),starch(40-60 per cent),fat(10 per cent), fibre (5 per cent), inorganic material(6 per cent),residual moisture(10 per cent) and acrid resinous matter(15-8 per cent).Ginger oil is constituted of monoterpene hydrocarbons, sesquiterpene hydrocarbons, oxygenated mono and sesquiterpenes, and phenyl propanoids.

Sesquiterpene hydrocarbon content of all types of ginger oil from different countries is found to be the same and includes α-zingiberene, β-Bisabolene, α-farnesene, β-sesquiphellandrene and α-curcumene.

Aroma and flavor are the main characteristics of ginger. Aroma is due to the fragrant principles of volatile oil while the flavor, pungency, and pharmacological action is exerted by phenolic ketones of oleo-resin. Various components of volatile oil like isometric terpenic aldehydes like geranial and citral, cause the delicate and lemony aroma. Few sesquiterpene oil hydrocarbons are believed to exert a spicy note.

Phenolic ketones of oleo resin include gingerols like shogaols, zingerone, paradols, gingediols, hexahydrocurcumin, and also o-methyl ethers of these compounds.

Ginger is used as a stomachic, aromatic, carminative, stimulant, and flavoring agent. Ginger oil is used in mouthwashes, ginger beverages, and liquors.

Ginger powder has been reported to be effective in motion sickness. It has been suggested that the adsorbent, aromatic and carminative properties of ginger on the G.I. tract cause adsorption of toxins and acid-enhanced gastric motility. These may have probably blocking effects on G.I. reactions and nausea. Reducing muscle pain and soreness, the anti-inflammatory effects can help with osteoarthritis, drastically lowers blood sugar and improves heart disease risk, helps to treat chronic indigestion and ginger powder helps in reducing menstrual pain.

Z.officinale (Methanolic extract) has molluscicide effects, possessing efficacy to control the parasitic infection viz. schistosomiasis. U.S. Food and Drug Administration has included ginger as a product that is generally regarded as safe (GRAS).

Ginger storage is coated with lime to improve its color and quality and hence this particular variety is known as limed ginger.

Ginger is adulterated with exhausted ginger, but it can be detected by the determination of water-soluble ash, volatile oil content, and alcohol and water soluble extractives.


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