Ginger CO2 extracts offer a variety of beneficial ways of using the spice and remedy that looks back on a history of thousands of years
The tangy aromatic root of the ginger plant has been used for over 4,000 years as spice and for healing purposes. Ginger most probably originated from Indonesia about 2,000 years before Christ and was spread over East Asia by maritime trade. It is said to have been brought to Europe by Alexander the Great (356 – 323 before Christ) and spread out from there among others by the Romans into the Middle Ages bringing it to the monks. In the 16th century, ginger found its way to America and sank somewhat into oblivion in Europe after that, as the numerous novel spices, which were in turn imported from America, enjoyed greater popularity. In the 60s ginger’s popularity rose, above all thanks to the many Asian restaurants which have always used ginger to spice their tasty dishes.
Ginger is meanwhile frequently used not only as a spice, but has gained further ground due to its healing effect and its stimulating properties on the immune system. Numerous scientific studies underline the efficacy of ginger.
Production areas and harvesting the ginger root
Ginger (Zingiber officinalis) is a herbaceous plant with thick stems and long leaves which reaches a height of 50 – 100 cm and blossoms once per year. The part, which is used as spice and as remedy, is the rhizome, also referred to as ginger rootstock, that grows horizontally in the soil. Ginger is cultivated in the subtropic and tropic regions and in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nigeria, South America and Vietnam.
It is harvested once per year when the leaves turn yellow and have dried up and shrivelled completely. Ripe roots are firm and have a shiny surface. After harvesting they are cleaned and dried over a period ranging between 3 and 5 days
United for sustainable cultivation to ensure quality and social stability
In cultivating ginger, the industrial agriculture can also lead to ecological and social conflicts and to a reduction of biological diversity.
In order to guarantee a long-lasting secured delivery chain and excellent quality of ginger, we focus on long-term relationships with our suppliers and with the farmers in Africa, Indonesia, Vietnam and on the Indian subcontinent. That enables us to guarantee traceability of the raw material for each CO2 extract batch produced by us up to its cultivation.
It is furthermore important for us to maintain close relationships with our suppliers. In addition, we are actively committed to ensuring a socially compatible and sustainable production along the whole delivery chain. With our help, for example the infrastructure was improved for the farmers in Sumatra (Indonesia), enabling their children to attend a school in the near vicinity.
We also support our farmer partners in obtaining certifications in the field of Organic Farming or for example in applying for the Rainforest Alliance Certification.
Experts advise the employees in improving farming, post-harvesting methods and exact quality controls to enhance the quality of the raw ginger material.
The introduction of simple mechanical methods in post-harvesting work has already led to a visible optimisation of quality. A cutting machine slices the ginger root into thin slices; these are then left to dry under a novel solar drying machine installed in a tent hall.
This optimised drying method prevents among others rotting and discolouring and thus drastically prolongs the possible shelf life. After transport to Germany, the production of the CO2 extracts from perfect raw material is thus guaranteed.
One raw material – three different CO2 extracts – various possibilities of use
Every year we purchase several hundreds of tons of ginger to manufacture one of our top-selling products, the ginger CO2 extracts by controlling temperature and pressure in three different variants:
- Ginger CO2-se extract
The selective extract contains a selection of lipophilic components of the ginger root, mainly components of the essential oil (82 – 95%) and only a marginal quantity of pungent substances (< 5%). With regard to its fragrance this extract primarily offers a tangy citric fresh note. It smells like a freshly cut ginger root. This extract is used as fragrance and flavor in perfumes and food products in which a pungent taste is not desired.
- Ginger CO2-to extract
The total extract contains the complete lipophilic substances that can be extracted with CO2, such as 30 – 50% volatile components of the essential oil, as well as the non-volatile components, mainly the pungent substances (24 – 35%). The aroma is rounded off and thus more subtle and spicy than that of the selective extract. It is suitable for food products, supplements and cosmetics.
- Ginger Hot Flavor CO2-to extract
The Ginger Hot Flavor is a total extract minus the selective components. It contains between 42 and 50 % of the pungent ginger substances, mainly gingerols. The essential oil content is below 5 %. This extract is used in food products and also by many customers in supplements. Use of the extract in cosmetic products is limited by a patent and/or by a patent application. In the USA, the patent has already been granted, whereas the patent application in Europe is still pending (as of December 2020). The patent might possibly be restricted to a special application in the scalp/ hair area. A decision is expected in 2021.
Besides the above-mentioned restriction under patent law, which is solely related to the Ginger Hot Flavor CO2-to extract, there is one further valid patent, which limits the combination of gingerols and UV filters for the purpose of skin protection against UV. This is based on the documented inhibition of UVB-induced skin damage by 6-Gingerol as bioactive component in ginger extracts.
Besides use of the ginger extracts as aroma or flavor components, they are also highly suitable for end products designed for a topic or inner use due to the bioactive ingredients they contain. Many scientific studies document the efficacy of ginger and its ingredients, e.g. cineol, alpha-curcumene and gingerols/shogaols. Among others, the expectorant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, circulation-boosting and memory-stimulating effects have been documented.
Our ginger extracts are vegan, halal and kosher certified. We also offer the selective and total extract from controlled organic farming.