Interesting facts about ginger including its history and the many health benefits of eating ginger as a garnish in cooking.
What is Ginger?
Ginger is the common name for Zingiber officinale, which was originaly cultivated in China and now equally spread around the world.
Ginger is a herb but is often known as a spice, with a strong distinct flavor that can increase the production of saliva. The part that is used as spice on the plant itself is the rhizomes or ginger root. This ginger root is traditionally used with sweet foods in Western cuisine being included in popular recipes such as ginger ale, ginger snaps, gingerbread, ginger biscuits and ginger cake. It is also used in many countries as a medicinal ingredient which many believe in. Some say it can help cure diabetes, head aches, colds, fatigue, nausea and the flu when used in tea or food.
Is Ginger Good for You?
For over 2 thousand years Chinese medicine has recommended the use of ginger to help cure and prevent several health problems. It is known to promote energy circulation in the body while positively increasing the body’s metabolic rate.
Here is a list of medicinal properties ginger has been known to have throughout history.
antiemetic/antinausea anticlotting agent antispasmodic antifungal, antiinflammatory antiseptic antibacterial antiviral antitussive analgesic circulatory stimulant carminative expectorant hypotensive increases blood flow promotes sweating relaxes peripheral blood vessels
Ginger is good for your health and has been said by some to be a plant directly from the Garden of Eden. It is also said that consuming Ginger before taking a plane flight can prevent motion sickness. It can make good tea, or you can use it as a spicy addition to almost any recipe.
History of Ginger
Ginger was widely used by the ancient Romans and it was a very expensive spice, one pound of ginger was equivalent to the price of a whole sheep. Ginger almost became lost in history after the fall of the Roman empire but became popular again when Europe re-discovered it. Ginger has influenced the history of man since ancient China, wars were waged and entire dynasties rose and fell with the objective of seizing it. The trade of such spices were the root of the world’s economy for centuries.
The ginger root is not actually a root, but a rhizome.
The major producers of Ginger today are China and tropical/subtropical places in Asia, Brazil, Jamaica, Nigeria.
The health benefits of honey and ginger in treating respiratory problems are unmatched by any other concoction.
The ginger plant is approximately 30 – 60 cm tall and is extremely rare to find in the wild.
Even today Ginger is one of the most important spices world wide.
Ginger for Health
Ginger has a wide variety of effects on the human body and is known to be effective for the treatment of cataracts, amenorrhea, heart disease, migraines, stroke, , angina, athlete’s foot, colds, bursitis, chronic fatigue, tendinitis, flu, coughs, depression, dizziness, fever, erectile difficulties, infertility, kidney stones, Raynaud’s disease, sciatica, and viral infections.
Home Remedies using Ginger
Ginger has many uses in the home remedies department and can be used to help arthritis, diarrhea, flu, headache, heart and menstrual problems, diabetes, stomach upset and motion sickness.
Muscle Strains – Apply warm ginger paste with turmeric to the affected area twice a day.
Sore Throat – Boil some water and add a dash of cinnamon, a little piece of ginger, 1 tsp honey and drink.
For a persistent cough – Take a half teaspoonful of ginger powder, a pinch of clove with a pinch of cinnamon powder and honey in a cup of boiled water and drink it as tea.
Ashma – A teaspoon of fresh ginger juice mixed with a cup of fenugreek decoction and honey to taste acts as a excellent expectorant in the treatment of asthma.
Headaches – Dilute a paste of ginger powder, about 1/2 a teaspoon, with water and apply to you forehead.
Colds – Boil a teaspoonful of ginger powder in one quart of water and inhale the steam – helps alleviate colds.
Ginger Compress – This method stimulates blood and body fluid circulation, helps loosen and dissolve toxic matter eg. cysts, tumors. Place about a handful of coarsely grated ginger in a cloth and squeeze out the ginger juice into a pot containing 4 liters of hot water (do not boil the water). Dip a towel into the ginger water and wring it out. Apply very hot to the affected area.
Diabetes – Some doctors recommend some drinking ginger in water first thing in the morning to help regulate your glucose level.
Ginger Tea – Make with fresh ginger root. Grate a small piece of ginger, about the size of a nickel, into a mug. Add the juice of a half a lemon. Fill the mug with boiling water. Stir in a teaspoon of organic honey.
For relief of nausea – Ginger is generally taken in doses of 200 mg every 4 hours.
For relief of flatulence – Ginger is generally taken in doses of 250 to 500 mg 2 to 3 times a day.
Growing Ginger at Home
Ginger is cultivated all year round and can be cultivated approximately 3 – 5 months after it was planted.
Ginger is very easy to grow and can be grown indoors or outside in pots filled with potting mix, allow enough room in the pots, about 10 to 12 inches deep, for the actual ginger roots to form.
The best time to plant ginger is in the spring. Simply buy some fresh ginger roots at a local grocery store or Asian market. Choose a smooth, shiny looking root that has some buds beginning to form.
Soak the roots you bought in some warm water overnight. The following day plant them in the pot(s) just beneath the soil level. Water well.
Once the ginger has started to grow, feed every two to three weeks with a general pot-plant feed.
A mature ginger plant will grow between two to four feet tall. Stems and leaves may reach up to a foot long and resemble those of a lily.
Harvest ginger roots after the rhizome has grown for around three to four months.
Harvest ginger roots can either be stored in a dry cupboard or refrigerated for later use.