Ginger (ada)

Ginger (ada) an aromatic perennial herb, Zingiber officinale, of the family Zingiberaceae, and a native of Southeast Asia. The rhizome is pale yellow showing greenish yellow colour inside; the stem grows underground up to about 15 cm and is clothed by sheathing bases of large alternate leaves forming a false stem above ground.

Bangladesh produces about 49,405 m tons of ginger annually from about 19,055 hectares of land. It is used more as a condiment than as a spice; the aroma is due to the presence of essential oil (2.5%) and the pungent taste is due to the presence of the non-volatile oleoresin, gingerol. Rhizome is a good carminative and a digestive stimulant. The essential oil is used for flavouring purpose of foodstuffs, beverages and in preparation of ginger malt. In Bangladesh ginger is cultivated as a rain-fed annual crop in uplands and hill slopes.

Dinajpur, Rangpur, Tangail, Chittagong and Rangamati are important ginger-growing districts. Many farmers produce gingers in their homestead lands.

Ginger has a long history in Bangladesh. There are references to it in the ancient and medieval texts. Ginger is known to have been exported to foreign countries on a very large scale in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. [Mostafa Kamal Pasha]

See also herb; spice.