There is a great and sempiternal trinity in the plant kingdom of beings which develop buried under fertile soils who house within them vigorous concoctions of nutrients that have assisted species in maintaining thriving immune systems for many moons. Ginger, the second after turmeric, has been a medicinal and culinary staple in many countries around the world.
The unique quality of ginger tends to be its ability to compliment both savoury and sweet dishes, and as a spice adds a hot and invigorating flavour to meals. However, it is far more than a fragrant root.
Ginger’s aboveground bits are a tropical herbaceous plant, flowering yellow from within great tubelike vestibules and growing as tall as 1 metre. Its family is that also of turmeric, cardamom and galangal. It originated on South Asia, but the largest producer today is India. Nepal and Indonesia also produce an impressive amount. Ginger no longer grows in the wild- “Wild Ginger“, also found growing in Canada, has a similar taste to ginger but is not the real thing.
Rhizomes are gathered when its stalk withers. They are dried, stripped and sometimes ground into powder form. Ginger has been candied, cooked, boiled into tisane (herbal tea), brewed to wine, beer and soda, pickled, candied and ground. The stem and flowers are occasionally used in Asian cuisine.
Ginger is especially known for its incorporation into herbal recipes. In fact, it’s the component of more than 50% of all traditional remedies. Once it was introduced to Europe about 2000 years ago, its prices skyrocketed due to its efficacy.
As a medicine, it is said to reduce nausea, fix morning sickness, lower symptoms of arthritis, is used as a topical aid, boosts immunity (especially against the common cold) and is claimed to be an aphrodesiac. Ginger contains antioxidants, beta-carotene and manganese.
I would strongly suggest that buyers are conscious of where their ginger comes from–
of course, I’m advocating that you purchase Organic when you can.
Suppliers in China (told to me from a very reputable source) spray their ginger 4 times with pesticides during their growth cycle, so you’re literally eating more poison than gaining nutritional benefit. If you don’t have access to affordable Organic ginger, aim to buy from other countries, or attempt to do your research.