New Ginger species with medicinal properties found in Andamans

New Ginger species with medicinal properties found in Andamans

  • Scientists of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have found a new species of Zingiber (commonly referred as Ginger) from Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • The species Zingiber pseudosquarrosum, belonging to genus Zingiber, was already used by the local Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups ( PVTGs) of the Andamans for its medicinal values.
  • During an expedition to north and middle Andaman, one of local guides, who was a Nicobarese, shared his traditional knowledge about this species, which was so far hidden from science.
  • After collecting and systematically analysing the species, scientists found that the new species indeed possesses ethno-medicinal uses.
  • Fresh extract of fleshy tuberous roots is used to treat abdominal pain and antihelminthic troubles by Nicobarese and certain other tribal communities.
  • This pseudo stem of the new species is predominantly red in colour. Flowers have a vermilion tinge and dehisced fruit [fully mature fruits] are lotus shaped. Inflorescence buds are urceolate in shape. The species has got tuberous root.
  • The morphological features of this species makes it distinct from other species belonging to the genus Zingiber.
  • Like other species of Gingers, new species is edible and can be propagated vegetatively from the rhizome. The planted rhizomes were successfully vegetatively propagated at the BSI garden at Port Blair after transplantation.
  • Species belonging to genera Zingiber are monocotyledonous flowering plants whose rhizomes are widely used as a spice or a traditional medicine.
  • Commonly used species of Zingiber (Zingiber officinale) known for its aromatic smell is cultivated widely across India.
  • There are 141 species of genus Zingiber are distributed throughout tropical Asia, including China, Japan and tropical Australia. 20 are reported from India, which include 7 (latest being Zingiber pseudosquarrosum) from Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Most of species of these Gingers are endemic to India.

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