Zingiber - Ginger
U.S.D. 21st 1926.
Compiled by Ivor Hughes.

GINGER Zingib.
Ginger is the rhizome of Zingib officinale Roscoe. (Fam. Zingiberaceae), known in commerce as Jamaica Ginger, Cochin Ginger, and African Ginger. The outer cortical layers are often either partially or completely removed. Ginger yields not less than 2 per cent of nonvolatile ether-soluble extractive and not less than 12 per cent of cold water-extractive. U.S.

Ginger is the scraped and dried rhizome of Zingiber officinale, Roscoe. Br. White Ginger; Gingembre blanc, Fr. Cod.; Rhizoma Zingiberis, P. G.; Ingwer, G.; Zenzero, It.; Jengibre (Rizoma de), Sp.

There are about seventy species of the genus Zingiber, the commercial ginger being obtained from Zingiber officinale. This species is a native of tropical Asia, but now extensively cultivated in tropical countries of both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. It has been introduced into southern Florida where it thrives in rich soil and partial shade. The ginger plant, Zingiber officinale, has a biennial or perennial, creeping rhizome, and an annual stem, which rises two or three feet in height, is solid, cylindrical, erect, and enclosed in an imbricated membranous sheath.

The leaves are sessile, lanceolate, acute, and smooth, up to eight inches long by about three-quarters of an inch in breadth, and stand alternately on the sheaths of the stem. The flower-stalk rises by the side of the stem from six inches to a foot, and, like it, is clothed with oval acuminate sheaths; but it is without foliage leaves, and terminates in an ellipsoidal, obtuse, bracteal, imbricated spike.

The flowers are of a greenish-yellow color with a purple lip spotted with yellow and appear two or three at a time between the bracteal scales. The fruit is an oblong capsule. The plants mature in from nine to ten mouths. The rhizome of the ginger is lifted from the soil by a single thrust of the fork at the time when the stems of the plant turn white, before the rhizome has begun to get tough and fibrous.

It is prepared in different ways for the market, which is an important factor in determining the appearance of the several varieties. When simply deprived of roots, and washed, it constitutes the green ginger which is used for condimental purposes. When, in addition, it is scalded in boiling water and rapidly dried, it is known as black ginger. There are other varieties, however, which after lashing are either peeled and bleached some�times with chlorine or sulphurous acid or coated with lime or having their cork removed from the flattened sides. But all of the medicinal gingers are dried before marketing.

In Jamaica the so-called unbleached Jamaica, or white ginger, is produced by carefully peel�ing the washed fresh rhizomes so that the cork and outer part of the cortex are removed. These are washed again and dried in the sun. The peeled pieces are macerated sometimes in water and sometimes in lime juice, and not rarely the color of the ginger is improved by finally coating it with chalk. (See Kilmer, d. J. P., 1598, p. 65; Harris, P. J., 1909, xxix, n. 379.)

An inferior white ginger is produced in the East Indies. The thoroughness of desiccation is a matter of commercial importance. The moisture in ginger should not exceed 10 per cent., but in the poorer specimens may constitute one-fourth of the whole weight. In China the fresh ginger is rasped into a powder and as such dried. Formerly East Indian ginger was imported into the United States from Cal�cutta, while the Jamaica or West Indian ginger came usually through London.

At present the cultivation of ginger is spread almost over the whole sub-tropical world, and the drug is pro�duced in Jamaica, St. Lucia, Dominica and Africa, India, Cochin-China, Japan, etc. The chief varieties of ginger grown in India are the Cochin and the Calicut, of which the Cochin is reputed to be the better grade. This occurs in two forms, viz., the whitewashed and bleached, cut or scraped and the unbleached. These gingers are sent chiefly from the ports of Cochin and Calicut of Madras to Bombay whence they are exported to England and America.

In Martinique a ginger is said to be obtained by the cultivation of Zingiber Zerumbet Rose. The ginger of Siam is said to be produced by Alpinia Galanga Willd. and is the same drug, therefore, as the Greater or Java Galanga Root. The large, ordinary, preserved ginger of China is, according to C. Ford (Kew Bulletin, 1891) also the product of A.Galanga. It is made by boiling young, tender, carefully selected and decorticated rhizomes in syrup.

Preserved ginger from the West Indies is made from the official plant. According to Hartwich and Swanlund, the rhizome of the Zingiber Mioga Roscoe, which is cultivated in China and Japan, has a taste less pungent than that of the official ginger, and distinctly recalling bergamot. Its volatile oil differs from Jamaica ginger in physical properties. In commerce the varieties of ginger are known by the place of their pro�duction. African and Cochin ginger on an average yield more resin than the other varieties.

The recent rhizome, known in commerce as �green ginger� is from one to four inches long, somewhat flattened on its upper and under surface, knotty, obtusely and irregularly branched or lobed, externally of a light ash color with circular rugae internally yellowish-white and fleshy. It sometimes begins to grow when kept in a damp atmosphere. The black ginger is of the same general shape, but has a dark ash-colored wrinkled epidermis, which, being removed in some places, exhibits patches of an almost black color, apparently the result of exposure. Beneath the epidermis is a brownish, resinous, almost horny cortical portion. The interior parenchyma is whitish, the cells being filled with starch. The powder is of a light yellowish-brown color. The unbleached Jamaica ginger is pale yellowish-buff on the outside. The pieces are rounder and thinner, and afford when pulverized a beautiful yellowish-white powder.

The uncoated ginger of the East Indies resem�bles the Jamaica, but is darker, being gray rather than whitish. As the Jamaica commands a much higher price than even the uncoated East India production, the latter is occasionally altered to simulate the former. This is some�times done by coating the exterior with calcium sulphate or carbonate, sometimes by bleaching with the fumes of burning sulphur or in other ways, by which not only the exterior but also the internal parts are rendered whiter than in the unprepared root.

Powdered ginger which has been exhausted in the preparation of essence, technically known as �spent ginger,� is used to a large extent in the adulteration of powdered ginger. Its detection without assay of some sort is almost impossible, unless so much is pres�ent as to sensibly alter the taste of the powder. The factors needed for the detection of spent ginger are the ash and the cold water extract. The latter should not be less than 12 per cent. Commercial gingers are known as �scraped,� �decorticated,� and �coated.� The scraped gingers are those from which the cortex has been removed in whole or in part by peeling, as seen in the Jamaica, and in some Cochin and Japanese varieties.         In the coated gingers a portion of the outer natural layers are retained as in the African, Calcutta and Calicut varieties. Bleached and unbleached gingers are also distinguished, the former being lighter in color due to careful washing or special treatment. The U.S.P. recognizes only the Jamaica, African and Cochin gingers. Of these the Jamaica is the most aromatic and the African the most pungent.

Description and Physical Properties. Unground Jamaica Ginger Rhizome horizontal, laterally compressed, irregularly branched, from 4 to 16 mm. in length and from 4 to thickness: the cork wholly removed; externally light brown, longitudinally striate, ends of the branches with depressed stem-scars; fracture short, fibrous, starchy and resinous; internally yellowish to light brown; odor agree�ably aromatic; taste aromatic and pungent.

Unground Cochin Ginger. Cork almost or wholly removed on the flattened sides light brown to grayish-yellow, fracture shorter, less fibrous and more starchy than other varieties; internally yellowish-white; oil and resin cells vary from yellowish to brownish-red; odor aro�matic, taste pungent.

Unground African Ginger.-Cork partly removed on the flattened sides, leaving light brownish areas; portions with cork, longitudin�ally or reticulately wrinkled and grayish-brown; internally light yellow to brown; taste aromatic and strongly pungent; otherwise resembling Jamaica Ginger.

Structure. Chiefly thin-walled, starch-bear�ing parenchyma cells, numerous scattered secre�tion cells and small vascular bundles; the latter very numerous, adjacent to the inner face of the narrow endodermis the latter separating the thin cortex from the central cylinder; secre�tion cells, similar in size and shape to the paren�chyma cells and with yellowish or orange-colored nil or oleoresin or reddish-brown resin; vascular bundles collateral, with few trachea, small phloem cells and usually accompanied by fibers lying on the inner face or completely surround�ing the vascular tissues; cork of several or many rows of cells in African Ginger and Cochin Ginger.

Powdered Ginger. Light yellow (Jamaica Ginger), light brown (Cochin Ginger), light brown or brown (African Ginger) ; starch grains numerous, from 0.005 to 0.40 mm. in diameter, occasionally up to 0.060 mm, in the long axis, nearly spherical, ovoid, ellipsoidal or pear-shaped, frequently with a characteristic beak, slightly lamellated, the hilum excentric and near the smaller end; fibers long, with rounded, pointed or notched ends, thin-walled, non-ligni�fied or only slightly lignified, with oblique pores and, where they join the parenchyma, distinctly undulate; long fiber-like cells with suberized walls and yellowish to dark brownish-red resin �like contents occasionally present; trachea spiral, reticulate or scalariform and frequently non-lignified; yellowish or brownish cork cells, thin-walled, occasional in Jamaica Ginger and fairly numerous in Cochin Ginger and Afri�can Ginger.

Assay. Place 4 Gm. of ground Ginger in a 200 cc. flask, fill to the mark with distilled water, and agitate at half-hour intervals during eight hours. Then allow the mixture to stand for sixteen hours and filter. Evaporate 50 cc. of the filtrate, representing 1 Gm. of the drug, on a water bath, dry to constant weight at 100� C., and weigh. It yields not less than 12 per cent of cold water-extractive.

For non-volatile ether-soluble extractive, proceed as directed on page 1552." U.S. In flattish, irregularly branched pieces, usu�ally from seven to ten centimeters long; each branch marked at its summit by a depressed scar. Fracture short with projecting fibres. Agreeable, aromatic odor; taste pungent.

When 5 grammes of powdered Ginger are shaken with 100 milliliters of alcohol (90 per cent.) occa�sionally during twenty-four hours and filtered, 20 milliliters of the filtrate yield on evapora�tion not less than 0.050 gramme of residue dried at 100� C.; and when 5 grammes are similarly treated with 100 milliliters of water, 20 milliliters of the filtrate yield not less than 0.085 gramme of residue dried at 100� C. Ash not more than 6 per cent.; and after deduction of that portion of the ash which is soluble in water not more than 1.5 per cent.

Those pieces of ginger which are very fibrous, light and friable, or worm eaten, should be rejected. The commercial powder of ginger is very frequently adulterated, rice starch, pow�dered ginger which has been exhausted in mak�ing preparations, and even brick dust and chalk, being used, and the loss of pungency made good by the addition of capsicum or mustard.

The odor of ginger is aromatic and penetrating, the taste spicy, pungent, hot, and biting. These properties gradually diminish, and are ultimately lost, by exposure. The morphology and pharmacognosy of ginger have been studied by Meyer (Wissenschaftliche Drogenkunde, vol. ii, p. 04) and Tschirch and Oesterle (Anatomischer Atlas., Lief, vi, p. 109). Kraemer and Sindall have published an article on the Microscopical and Chemical Examination of the Different Varieties of Commercial Ginger. (A. J. P., 1908, p. 303). Spaeth reports on the adulteration and detection of adulterants of ginger and asserts that the more common adulterants are flour, curcuma, linseed and rapeseed cake, cayenne pepper hulls, and extracted ginger. (Zeitschr. f. Unters, d. Nahr. u. Genussm., x, p. 23.)

The use of capsicum in preparations of ginger is not infrequent. When present, it may be detected by the method described under tincture of ginger. Garnet and Grier isolated a pungent constituent from ginger which was named gingerol by Thresh this was later investigated by Nomura who identified it as 4-hydroxy-5-methoxy phenylethyl-methyl ketone, and named it zingerone its composition is C11H14O3 and it melts at 40� to 41� C. It is a crystalline solid forming characteristic combinations with sodium bisulphate and benzoyl and acetyl derivatives. He also reports the presence of shogaol from shoga the Japanese name for ginger. This is an unsaturated ketone and has the formula C17H24O3 (J. Chem. Soc., iii, 1917, 769 and 7. Soc. Chem. Ind. through Drug. Circ., lxiii 1919, 552.)

Constituents. The peculiar flavor of the root appears to depend on the volatile oil; its pungency is due to a yellowish liquid called gingerol. This is a mixture of homologous phenols of the formula C16H26O3. (CH2O) no Zingerone, C11H14O3, is crystalline and has a sweet odor and an extremely pungent taste; it is chemically related to vanillin, and is formed when gingerol is treated with baryta water. The pungency of gingerol, in contrast to that of capsicum, is destroyed by heating with alkaline hydroxides.

The volatile oil is yellow with a of from 0.875 to 0.890 and an optical rotation of about 25� to 45� (the Japanese ginger is said to yield an oil which is dextrorotatory). It consists largely of a mixture of terpenes, camphone, phellandrene and a new sesquiterpene, which the discoverers, von Soden and Rojahn (Ph. Ztg., 1900, p. 414) call zingiberene. There is also some citral, cineol and borneol in the oil. There is present in the root a considerable proportion of starch.

Uses. Ginger is a grateful stimulant and carminative and is often given in dyspepsia and flatulent colic. It is an excellent addition to bitter infusions and tonic powders, imparting to them an agreeable, warming, and cordial operation upon the stomach. It is especially valuable in alcoholic gastritis. In the serous type of diarrhea, when due to a relaxed con�dition of the bowel, it is a remedy of much ser�vice but should not be employed in the presence of inflammatory conditions.

The hot infusion is popularly employed under the name of Ginger Tea for its diaphoretic effect in colds, espe�cially when accompanied with suppression of the menses. Externally it is rubefacient. Under the name of Essence of Ginger cheap alco�holic preparations of ginger were formerly sold and used as intoxicants. A number of cases of blindness produced by such use have been recorded, the amblyopia having been due to the large use of methyl alcohol in the making of these "essences." The infusion may be prepared by adding half an ounce of the powdered or bruised root to a pint of boiling water, and may be given in the dose of one or two fluid�ounces (30-60 cc.)
Dose, ten to twenty grains  (0.65 -1.3 Gm.). 
Off. Prep.  Fluidextractum Zingiberis, U.S.; Infusum Sennnae, Br.
Pilula Scillae Composita, Br.; Pilula Urgineae Composita, Br.; Pulvis Aromaticus, N.F. (Br.); Pulvis Kaladanae Compositus, Br.; Pulvis Opii Compositus, Br.; Pulvis Rhei Compositus, U.S., Br.; Pulvis Scammonii Compositus, Br.; Syrupus Zingi�beris (from Fluidextract), U.S., Br.; Tinctura Zingiberis, U.S., Br.; Elixir Rubi Compositum N.F.; Pulvis Aromaticus Rubifaciens, N.F.; Pulvis Myricae Compositus, N.F.; Tinctura An�tiperiodica, N.F.; Tinctura Antiperiodica sine Aloe, N.F.; Tinctura Aromatica, N.F.

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