Artikel Riset Fitofarmaka Jurnal Ilmiah Farmasi
DOI : 10.33751/jf.v8i1.11768 Vol. 8, No.1, Juni 2018 : 25-31
p-ISSN : 2087-9164 e-ISSN : 2622-755X
RED GINGER (Zingiber officinale var. rubrum): ITS CHEMICAL
CONSTITUENTS, PHARMACOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES AND
Rini Daud Supu1,2*, Ajeng Diantini1, Jutti Levita1
1Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacy, Universitas Padjadjaran,
Bandung 45363, West Java, Indonesia
2Faculty of Pharmacy, Universitas Indonesia Timur, Makassar 90222,
East Java, Indonesia
Diterima : 26 Mei 2018 Direvisi : 02 Juni 2018 Disetujui : 11 Juni 2018
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) which belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, was
first cultivated in Asia (Indonesia and Malaysia). This plant is one of the most
commonly used herbal supplements taken by many patients to treat various conditions.
Z.officinale has three varieties based on its size, colors of rhizome and chemical
constituents i.e. .Z. officinale var. officinale (big white ginger or giant ginger, badak or
gajah), Z. officinale var. amarum (small white ginger, emprit), and Z. officinale var.
rubrum (small red ginger, merah or beureum). These three varieties may partly be
deferred from their essential oil contents and are used for different purposes. The
essential oils contained in Z. officinale var. rubrum are higher than the other types of
ginger, which makes stronger in its pungency smell and taste. There are many studies
that confirm beneficial effects of red ginger against the symptoms of diseases, i.e. anti-
inflammation, antioxidant, antiemetic, antibacterial and antidiabetics. Z.officinale var.
rubrum is considered to be a safe herbal medicine with only few and insignificant
adverse/side effects. Although the medicinal properties of red ginger have been known,
further trials in humans are required to determine the efficacy of red ginger (or one or
more of its constituents) and to establish what, if any, adverse effects are observed.
Key words: Zingiber officinale, ginger, herbal supplement
Tanaman jahe (Zingiber officinale) termasuk kedalam famili Zingeberaceae,
pertama kali dikultivasi di Asia (Indonesia dan Malaysia). Tanaman ini umumnya
digunakan sebagai suplemen herbal oleh masyarakat untuk meredakan berbagai keluhan
penyakit. Z officinale terdiri dari 3 varietas berdasarkan ukuran rimpang, warna rimpang
dan kandungan bahan kimianya yaitu Z officinale var. officinale (jahe putih besar, jahe
badak, atau jahe gajah), Z. officinale var. amarum (jahe putih kecil atau jahe emprit),
dan Z. officinale var. rubrum (jahe merah kecil, atau jahe beureum). Ketiga varietas ini
sebagian berbeda dalam kandungan minyak esensialnya dan digunakan untuk keperluan
yang berbeda. Minyak esensial yang terkandung dalam Z. officinale var. rubrum lebih
tinggi dari jahe tipe lainnya sehingga jahe ini memiliki bau dan rasa yang lebih pedas.
Fitofarmaka Jurnal Ilmiah Farmasi
Berbagai studi telah membuktikan bahwa jahe merah memiliki aktifitas positif terhadap
berbagai gejala penyakit seperti antiinflamasi, antioksidan, antiemetik, antibacterial, dan
antidabetik. Z.officinale var. rubrum diperkirakan dapat dimanfaatkan sebagai obat
herbal yang aman tanpa efek samping, atau efek samping minimal. Walaupun manfaat
medis jahe merah telah diketahui secara saintifik, namun diperlukan uji klinis lebih
lanjut untuk mengetahui tingkat kemanjuran serta kandungan senyawa secara lebih
spesifik, serta mempelajari efek-efek samping yang mungkin terjadi.
Kata kunci: Zingiber officinale, jahe, suplemen herbal
Herbal medicines are currently in
great demand in developed countries for
primary health care because of its
usefulness, safety and lower side effects
(Bhargava et al., 2012). According to a
report by the World Health Organization,
80 % of the population in developing
countries depend on herbal medicine for
their primary health care, and 85 % of
herbal medicine are derived from plants
(Ghasemzadeh et al., 2015).
The rhizome of Zingiber officinale
has been used as a component in
Indonesian jamu. This particular plant is
classified into three varieties based on its
size, colors of rhizome, and chemical
constituents, i.e. Z. officinale var.
officinale Roscoe (big white ginger or
giant ginger, badak or gajah), Z.
officinale var. amarum (small white
ginger, emprit), and Z. officinale var.
rubrum (small red ginger, merah or
beureum) (Figure 1). The essential oils of
the big white ginger is the lowest
compared to the other varieties. The big
white ginger is commonly used for food
and beverages, while the others are
mostly used for medicinal purposes
(Setyawan et al., 2014).
Z. officinale var. rubrum
(Zingiberaceae) was first cultivated in
Asia (Indonesia and Malaysia) but is now
cultivated in the West and other tropical
regions (Africa, India). Rhizome of red
ginger has been used as seasoning
ingredient, food flavor, as well as herbal
medicine (Singletary, 2010; Bhattarai et
al., 2001). There are many studies that
confirmed benefical effects of red ginger
as anti-inflammatory, antiemetic, anti-
tumor, analgesic, anti-hemorrhagic,
neuronal cell protective, anti-rheumatic,
antifungal, and antibacterial agent
(Mesomo et al., 2012; Kumar et al.,
a b c
Figure 1. Rhizome of Z. officinale var. rubrum (a), Z. officinale var. amarum (b), Z.
officinale var. officinale Roscoe (c)
Red Ginger…..(Rini Daud Supu, dkk.)
Table 1. Taxonomy of Z. Officinale var. Rubrum
: Zingiber officinale
: Zingiber officinale var. rubrum
Z. officinale var. rubrum is an
annual plant that can grow up to 50-100
cm tall. The leaves are lancet-shaped with
a length of 5-25 cm and width of 1.5-2
cm, the tip of the pointed leaves and
clasping the stem by long sheaths. Stems
grow perpendicular and rounded flat, not
branched. Flowers are compounded and
ovoid with stem length 10-25 cm oval
shaped with a stalk length of 10-25 cm
and crown of flowers purple measuring 2-
2.5 cm. Small flower petals are tubular
and jagged three. The fleshy rhizomes are
thick and reddish-brown and red rhizome
skin. The single root is getting bigger
along with its age, to form the rhizomes
and shoots that will grow into new plants.
The roots grow from the bottom of the
rhizome, while the buds will grow from
the top of the rhizomes (Ross, 1999 and
Supriadi et al., 2011).
The chemical constituents of this
plant varies considerably, depending on
the location of cultivation and whether
the product is fresh, dried, or processed
(Singletary, 2010). Chemical analysis of
Z. officinale var. rubrum showed over
400 different compounds. The major
constituents in ginger rhizomes are
carbohydrates (50–70%), lipids (3–8%),
terpenes (zingiberene, 𝛽-bisabolene, 𝛼-
farnesene, 𝛽-sesquiphellandrene, and 𝛼-
curcumene), and phenolic compounds
(gingerol, paradols, and shogaol) The
characteristic odor and flavor of ginger
are due to a mixture of volatile oils like
shogaols and gingerols. Gingerols and
shogaol were found in higher amounts in
the other two types of ginger with
average levels of gingerol (23-25%) and
shogaol (18-25%) (Prasad S. dan Tyagi,
K. A. (2015).
Gingerol were identified among
other [4, -, -, and -gingerol,
while shogaol were identified -, -,
-, - and -shogaol (Figure 2)
(Ali et al., 2008).
Figure 2. Chemical structures of gingerol and shogao
The pungency of fresh ginger is
due primarily to the gingerol, of which -gingerol is most abundant. While on
the other hand, dry ginger exhibits a
-, -, -, and -gingerol
-, -, -, - and -shogaol
Fitofarmaka Jurnal Ilmiah Farmasi
pungency due to the shogaol –shogaol.
Shogaols are formed from the
corresponding gingerol during thermal
processing (Wohlmuth, 2005).
Degradation rates of gingerol to shogaol
were also found to be pH dependent, with
greatest stability at pH 4, whereas at 100o
C and pH 1, the reversible degradation
was relatively rapid (Bhattarai et al.,
The rhizome of Z. officinale, var.
rubrum was reported for various
medicinal properties including anti-
inflammatory activity, anti-oxidant
activity, anti-nausea/antiemetic activity,
anti-bacterial activity, cytotoxic activity
and antidiabetic activity.
The effect of Z. officinale, var.
rubrum extract (10–100 mg/kg) on acute
inflammation was experimented on acetic
acid induced abdominal inflammation
model in mice4. In addition,
intraperitoneal injection of -gingerol
(50mg/kg) relieved pain by 50%. As
revealed in this experiment, this plant
extract in low oral dose of 0.2–2mg/kg
demonstrated effective analgesic and anti-
inflammatory effects suggesting the
synergisms of various physiological
compounds presents in the extract (Shan
et al., 2010).
Ginger extracts inhibited lipid
peroxidation by 72% in human
erythrocyte membranes, whereas in
human chondrocytes, ginger’s volatile oil
effectively prevented the production of
hydrogen peroxide usually induced by
fulvic acid. Animal study using high fat
diet rat model revealed that
supplementation with ginger provided
significant antioxidant effects, raising
tissue concentrations of superoxide
dismutase and catalase and reducing
glutathione (Kemper, 1999). In addition,
the antioxidant effect of Z. officinale was
reported by DPPH radical scavenging
activity. The total phenolic content in the
alcoholic extract of the dried rhizome of
Z. officinale was 870.1 mg/g of dry
extract. The extract exhibited 90.1% of
DPPH radical scavenging activity with
the IC50 concentration of 0.64 µg/ml
(Kumar et al., 2011).
Some of the disparities in study
outcomes may be due to differences in
dosages used. Typically 1 g/d of ginger
powder was administered, although in
some studies doses as low as 0.3 g/d and
as high as 2.0 g/d were evaluated.
Differences in timing of outcome
measurements also could have
contributed to disparities. In those studies
demonstrating efficacy, there were
generally no adverse effects
(Chaiyakunapruk et al., 2006). Ginger
also may act on the 5-HT3 receptor ion-
channel complex in the gastrointestinal
tract. In humans, ginger intake (1-2 g)
may block production of gastric
prostaglandins and decrease plasma
vasopressin release induced by circular
vection (Riyazi et al., 2007).
In vitro studies of ginger extracts
and ginger chemical constituents have
been reported and indicated a growth
suppression of various common
infectious bacteria including
Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria
monocytogenes (Norajid et al., 2007).
The inhibitory activity of of gingerols and
phenolic metabolites towards the growth
of Helicobacter pylori suggested a new
Red Ginger…..(Rini Daud Supu, dkk.)
potential use of ginger in combating H.
pylori related gastrointestinal diseases
(Siddaraju dan Dharmesh, 2007).
Red ginger extract revealed
anticancer activity through inhibition of
NF-κB activation, furthermore this plant
showed anti-inflammatory activity
through inhibition of TNF-α . Single-dose
toxicity test using 2000mg/kg of red
ginger extract (maximum dosage without
burden on animals) resulted no fatal event
and no abnormal changes in the weight of
mice (compared to control). Similarly, no
abnormal changes detected in organs of
mice upon partial inspection conducted
after the test. The LD50 (oral) of red
ginger extract on male/female mice is
deduced to be >2,000mg/kg (Kitagata et
Hypoglycaemic activity of ginger
was reported in streptozotocin-induced
diabetic rats. Treatment with aqueous
extract (500 mg/kg body weight, i.p.) of
ginger for a period of 7 weeks
significantly decreased the serum
glucose, cholesterol and triacylglycerol
levels in the diabetic-induced rats
compared with the control group (Al-
amin et al., 2006). Treatment with ginger
juice in streptozotocin-induced type I
diabetic rats resulted a significant
increase in insulin levels and a decrease
in fasting glucose levels. Ginger
treatment also caused a decrease in serum
cholesterol, serum triglyceride and blood
pressure in diabetic rats (Akhani et al.,
Safety and Dosage
The Food and Drug
Administration has given ginger GRAS
(generally recognized as safe) status for
use as a food supplement. Food allergy to
spices is infrequent Aside from mild
stomach upset in persons unaccustomed
to spicy foods, ginger has no known acute
toxicity at the usual doses consumed for
dietary or medicinal purposes. Very large
doses of 6 grams or more of ginger may
lead to gastric irritation and loss of
protective gastric mucosa. At normal
doses (up to 2 grams daily), ginger does
not interfere with blood clotting or any
individual coagulation parameter. A dose
of 0.5 – 1.0 g of ginger powder ingested
2-3 times for periods ranging from 3
months to 2.5 years did not cause any
adverse effects. The British Herbal
Compendium documents no adverse
effects of ginger. The acute oral LD 50 in
rats of roasted ginger is 170 g/kg body
weight. Dry ginger is more than 250 g/kg
body weight. In addition other research,
the acute LD50 of ginger in rats is greater
than 5 grams of ginger oil per kilogram of
body weight (Singletary, 2010; Kumar,
2011). Red ginger can be consumed as a
fresh or dried root and is often prepared
in teas, soft drinks (including ales), and
breads. No specific dosing studies have
been performed; however, most clinical
research has used between 250 mg and 1
g of the powdered root in capsular form,
taken one to four times daily.
Recommended daily dose for (1) red
ginger extract: 15-20 mg4, (2) dried
powder: 250-1000 mg four times daily by
mouth. Chinese herbalists may use up to
10 times this amount (Kemfer, 1999 and
Z officinale var. rubrum is
considered to be a safe herbal medicine
with only few and insignificant
adverse/side effects. Although the
medicinal properties of red ginger have
Fitofarmaka Jurnal Ilmiah Farmasi
been known for thousands of years, a
significant number of in vitro, in vivo,
and epidemiological studies further
provide substantial evidence that ginger
and its active compounds are effective
against wide variety of human diseases.
Further trials in humans are required to
determine the efficacy of red ginger (or
one or more of its constituents) and to
establish what, if any, adverse effects are
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