New Ginger species with medicinal properties discovered in Andamans
Scientists from Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have discovered a new species of Zingiber (commonly referred as ginger) from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The new species has been named as Zingiber pseudosquarrosum and belongs to genus Zingiber. It is used for its medicinal values by the local Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) of the Andamans.
- The pseudo stem of Zingiber pseudosquarrosum is red in colour. Its flowers are lotus shaped and have a vermilion tinge and dehisced fruit.
- This species has tuberous root and its inflorescence buds are urceolate in shape. The morphological features of this species make it distinct from other species belonging to the genus Zingiber.
- Like other species of Gingers, it is edible and can be propagated vegetatively from the rhizome.
- The new species possesses ethno-medicinal uses. The fresh extract (juice) of fleshy tuberous roots of this species is used to treat abdominal pain and anti-helminthic troubles by native tribal communities.
There are 141 species of genus Zingiber distributed throughout tropical Asia, including China, Japan and tropical Australia. Of these, 20 are reported from India, which include seven ( including Zingiber pseudosquarrosum) from Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Species belonging to genera Zingiber are monocotyledonous flowering plants and their hizomes are widely used as a spice or a traditional medicine. Commonly used species of Zingiber are known for its aromatic smell is cultivated widely across India.