Ginger known as an essence and a spice, it is known to be one of the oldest remedies in herbal and aromatic traditional treatments, especially in China, India, and the Middle East. In China, it has been used for over 2,000 years for curing inflammation and diarrhea. Native to the Indo-Malaysian rain forests, ginger favors lush, moist, tropical soils for cultivation belongs to the family Zingiberaceae, in the order Zingiberales of monocotyledons, which is composed of 50 genera and around 1500 species of perennial tropical herbs.
Two new species of ginger have been discovered in Arunachal Pradesh by Dr Mamiyil Sabu and V S Hareesh, who came to Arunachal in June 2017 from the University of Calicut. The species has been discovered in the Mishmi Hills in Eastern Arunachal Pradesh by the two professors who were in Arunachal on a research program supported by Department of Biotechnology, GoI.
The species found in Dibang Valley is named as Amomum riwatchii (Zingiberaceae), after the cultural research institute RIWATCH, Roing, for its contribution towards biodiversity conservation. RIWATCH facilitated the researchers to accomplish their studies and provided back up services like sending samples of flowers of the plant, photographs etc.
The species discovered in Anjaw district is named Amomum nimkeyense (Zingiberaceae), as a tribute to Mishmi culture. Nimkey is a spiritual place for the Taraon and Kaman Mishmis of Lohit and Anjaw districts. Nimkey is a place where the priest rests the departed soul for a while before guiding it to the heavenly abode.
Dr. Haridasan, a renowned scientist who had served in Forest Department of Arunachal Pradesh for many decades is to be given credit for this discovery. He guided many dedicated researchers to Arunachal Pradesh. Arunachal Pradesh has been a home to varieties of plant species that needs to be documented scientifically. This discovery should surely revive the interest of the botanists to take further research on identifying and documenting the rich diversity of Arunachal Pradesh.
Ginger, also known as Zingiber officinale, is inaccurately referred to as “ginger root”, although the edible section sold in the markets and used in dishes is actually the stem or the rhizome. In many places, it is mostly used in sweets and alcoholic beverages such as ginger beer and wine.
However, in Asian cultures, it is directly used by chopping it up or using its powder in traditional dishes and in soft drinks such as coffee and tea. Ginger’s irresistible fragrance is due to an essential oil in its composition that has been coveted and extracted by perfume makers since ancient times.
Its cultivation may have begun in southern Asia, but it has now spread to East Africa and the Caribbean as well. Ginger’s perennial plant grows bright red flowers that come in different shapes such as torch and honeycomb and are often used in seasonal festivals in the South Pacific for the decoration of stalls, houses, and even dresses.
Queen Elizabeth I of England, a fan of ginger herself, was the one to invent the gingerbread man in the 16th century, and it is now loved by millions of children (and adults) around the world. The gingerbread man was presented at a Royal ball, and several were made to resemble respected guests as well.
Today, ginger is on the FDA’s list of generally safe foods and is often used to mask the taste of bitter medicines such as cough syrups.
Krishi Jagran/New Delhi