Ginger is a staple ingredients in the recipes in our household. And I know that I’ve seen more than one type of ginger in recipes.
That got me to wondering how many types of ginger can there possibly be.
You might be surprised that there are at least eight different types of ginger (that I found in my research anyway).
What you need to know about all these types of ginger is that the roots of all of these gingers are edible; however, their appearance and taste differ.
You may be surprised by the variety and some of the qualities these ginger plants have.
Keep reading to learn about the different types of ginger and some of its benefits.
You might find yourself looking for creative ways to incorporate ginger into your recipes after reading this article!
8 Common Types Of Ginger
Though there’s likely several more varieties of ginger root that these eight types, these do seem to be the most common that people cook with.
Yellow ginger is commonly known as culinary ginger. It’s the ginger that most recipes are referring to when they want you to add ginger to a recipe.
It’s yellow ginger that is pickled and eaten with sushi. Yellow ginger has medicinal purposes, including drinking ginger tea for digestive issues.
This ginger has a powerful, lush fragrance and has white, butterfly-like flowers that blossom during the late summer and early fall.
It’s grown in Hawaii, where it is used more for its ornamental purposes, making leis. In China, white ginger has medicinal benefits, which include eating the seeds to calm stomach discomfort.
Blue Hawaiian Ginger
Blue Hawaiian Ginger produces beautiful intense deep, royal blue and purple flowers with its origins in Brazil.
When you cook this ginger root, don’t be surprised by the color, it has a hint of blue from its rhizomes. This ginger root has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties when consumed.
Native to Asia, this decorative plant groundcover. The blossoms of the Peacock Ginger are tiny, pale purple to pink flowers.
This plant is popular in gardens because of its unique look. Its leaves have beautiful stripes and coloring with shades of green, silver, and purple.
When eaten, it has a spicy flavor that takes some getting used to when you compare it to culinary ginger, but it has similar uses.
Also known as Pinecone ginger, you can find this type of ginger in India, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
If you’re wondering where the shampoo in its name comes from, it’s from the creamy fluid in the cones that can be squeezed out and used as shampoo or conditioner.
The roots of this plant are bitter-tasting compared to yellow ginger.
Shell Ginger is also known as Butterfly Ginger and Variegated Ginger. It produces an inflorescence of shell-like flowers that drop as they blossom rather than rising.
The flower colors range from pink to white and they can turn bright red and yellow in the plant’s second year.
This plant contains a lot of bioactive phytochemicals with anti-obesity, anti-aging, and anti-oxidant properties.
It is a natural preservative and can be used as a bug repellant as well. Tea made from this plant has 34 times more polyphenols than red wine!
I know what you’re thinking – turmeric is not ginger…though it does look like it in root form. Surprise! Turmeric is from the ginger family!
Well-known in Asia and used in Asian cuisine for centuries, Turmeric is becoming one of ginger’s most popular cousins.
Ayurvedic medicine has been using Turmeric for a long time. It can be used as a spice or consumed as a tea.
The plant produces clumps of leaves 3 feet wide and high. As the flowers bloom, the root matures.
Instead of the root being edible, in the case of Japanese Ginger, the flower is what provides the ginger taste. This tropical plant has tiny flowers that blossom at the base.
The pink and yellow flowers can be pickled or cooked to give you a zesty, gingery flavor. Japanese Ginger is also known as Myoga or Mioga Ginger.
Benefits of Ginger
We’ve covered different types of ginger, and we have hinted at some of the benefits of the different kinds of ginger in the descriptions above, but there’s more! Below we discuss some of the benefits of consuming ginger.
Ginger contains gingerol, which is one of the active ingredients in ginger that gives it medicinal qualities.
Gingerol has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and it also reduces oxidative stress caused by an excess of free radicals in the body.
Treats different forms of nausea
If you’re looking for a natural cure for nausea, ginger may be the answer you’re looking for.
Ginger can reduce nausea for people going through chemotherapy treatments or women who are suffering from morning sickness.
Contributes to weight loss
Studies have found that consuming ginger can cause weight loss.
Nothing is conclusive at this time, but researchers believe that the weight reduction may be due to less inflammation and that ginger is speeding up the speed that the body burns calories.
Helps with Osteoarthritis
Research has found that consuming ginger reduces the symptoms of osteoarthritis, such as pain and stiffness.
Lowers blood sugars & improves heart disease risk factors
Consuming a certain amount of ginger on a regular basis can lower sugar levels in people who have type 2 diabetes.
It also improves the risk factors that cause heart disease.
Helps with chronic indigestion
If you’ve ever had a ginger soda or ginger tea to settle your stomach, you know that ginger can help with indigestion.
The reason for this is that ginger speeds up the emptying of your stomach, which is why you feel better after drinking ginger.
Reduce menstrual pain
Ginger’s anti-inflammatory qualities may be the reason that studies find that ginger consumption can relieve menstrual cramps.
Lower cholesterol levels
Research has found that consuming ginger can lower levels of cholesterol of all kinds.
This includes LDL, total cholesterol, and blood triglycerides.
Helps prevent cancer
Since inflammation and free radicals are known to cause cancer, it’s not surprising that ginger is known to help prevent cancer.
Improves brain function and protect against Alzheimer’s disease
The presence of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress can cause poor brain function and Alzheimer’s disease.
Since ginger is known to have qualities that combat both of these issues, it’s no surprise that ginger can help to improve brain function and help protect it from Alzheimer’s disease.
Can fight infections
Ginger extract is known to inhibit the growth of bacteria.
These bacteria-fighting properties are what help ginger prevent infections from growing in the body.
Before doing this article, I had no idea that such a diverse offering of ginger plants existed. When you look at each plant, it’s not easy to tell that they are all in the same ginger family, but they are!
There are many different types of ginger out there, all of them with their own unique flavor and appearance.
Not all ginger plants have edible roots; some of them have flowers you can eat that will give you the ginger flavor you’re looking for.
Ginger is not a plant you grow simply for its culinary use; many people know ginger plants for their decorative qualities, with beautiful flowers and ornate leaves.
There’s one ginger plant, the shampoo ginger, where its name is actually one of its purposes, providing a natural hair cleanser and conditioner.
The health benefits of ginger are numerous. It can help with ailments from stomach discomfort to fighting infections, weight loss, and cancer prevention.
If you’ve been considering adding ginger to your diet, we’ve provided you with lots of options to choose from and a plethora of reasons why you should regularly incorporate it into your diet if you haven’t done so already.
What’s the first dish you’re going to prepare with ginger? I suggest adding it to a stir fry.