Abstract Aim of the study Family Zingiberaceae consists of large number of medicinal plants and is well known for its use in ethnomedicine. The objective of this study is to systematically analyse and document the traditional knowledge regarding the use of Zingiberaceous plants for the treatment of various human ailments from NE India, adding information to the valuation of biodiversity and, to forward suggestions for its sustainable use, conservation and for future pharmacological studies. Materials and methods A survey on the utilization of medicinal plants belonging to Zingibereceae of North-eastern states was carried out by interviewing herbalists followed by collecting plant specimens and identifying the specimen. Ethnobotanical information on traditional plants was catalogued through structured questionnaires in consultations with traditional healers. Results A total of 34 species were documented belonging to 9 genera of Zingiberaceae for about 25 types of ailments, 67.6% of which were used in curing multiple disorders. Arunachal Pradesh hosts maximum number of Zingiberaceous plant (88%). Rhizomes were found to be the primary plant material as a source for medication and poultices as the predominant mode of preparation. Gastrointestinal conditions (58%) and chest and lungs (41%) related ailments were the main categories for which these plants are used. Conclusions The study establishes Zingiberaceae as a medicinal family since 41% of all the available Zingiberaceous plant species in NE were found to possess medicinal value. Some new use of herbs also appeared in this study for the first time.