top of page

Ginger Varieties in Indonesia: Characteristics and Differences

Ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) is a member of the Zingiberaceae family, where the term "Zingiber" is derived from the Greek "Zingiberi" and the Sanskrit "Singabera," which indicates antlers because ginger rhizomes have similarities to deer antlers. The term "Officinale" comes from the Latin "Officina," indicating its use in medicine or pharmacy [1].

Ginger is widely used as spice, beverage, and traditional medicine. Ginger is often used in food and beverages because it has a unique spicy and warm sensation. In addition, ginger has other health benefits, such as antioxidant, antibacterial, and lowering blood sugar [2].

In Indonesia, there are three varieties of ginger: emprit ginger (Zingiber officinale var. amarrum), gajah ginger (Zingiber officinale var. officinarum), and red ginger (Zingiber officinale var. rubrum). Here are the differences:

1.      Emprit Ginger

The rhizome of emprit ginger is small and multilayered and has a yellowish-white color [3]. The shape of emprit ginger is slightly flattened and has soft fibers. The aroma of emprit ginger is quite sharp and the flavor is spicy compared to gajah ginger. Generally, emprit ginger is harvested in a mature state. Dry emprit ginger contains 1.7–8% oil [4]. This ginger is often used for seasoning and traditional medicine.

Figure 1. Emprit Ginger [5]

2.      Gajah Ginger

Gajah ginger is the largest in size, hence the name "gajah" which means elephant. The rhizomes of gajah ginger is knobby and yellowish-white in color [3]. Gajah ginger is slightly fibrous and soft. Elephant ginger contains 2–3% oil so it is often used for seasoning because the taste is less spicy and the aroma is less sharp compared to other gingers[4].

Figure 2. Gajah Ginger [6]

3.         Red Ginger

As the name suggests, this ginger variety is pink to light orange in color [3]. Red ginger has coarse fibers and is harvested in a mature state. Red ginger has a very sharp aroma, and a very spicy flavor [8]. The spicy flavor is often used as traditional medicine [7]. Dry red ginger contains 2.58-9% of oil [4].

Figure 3. Red Ginger [9]

PT Mitra Ayu is currently developing exciting Ginger products. Stay tune for more interesting articles on Ginger.

For questions about Ginger or other Indonesian natural products, please contact us at or send us a message here.


[1] Vasala, P. A. (2012). Ginger. In Peter, K.V. (Ed.) Handbook of Herbs and Spices Vol 1.USA: Woodhead Publishing.

[2] Subroto, E., & Indiarto, R. (2021). Ginger Rhizomes (Zingiber officinale) Functionality in Food and Health Perspective: A Review.

[3] Sari, D., & Nasuha, A. (2021). Kandungan Zat Gizi, Fitokimia, dan Aktivitas Farmakologis pada Jahe (Zingiber officinale Rosc.). Tropical Bioscience: Journal of Biological Science, 1(2), 11-18.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page