Ginger is a rhizome that is an important ingredient in most of the Asian cuisines, especially in Tamil Nadu, India. Zingiber officinale – as this plant is botannically referred to – belongs to the family Zingiberaceae and is called as ginginer in Medieval Latin, zingiberis in Greek, inji veru in Malayalam and inji ver in Tamil. The Tamil name “inji ver” means ginger root. The main part of the ginger plant is used in many others, whereas the rhizome (root) is used in India. Ginger is a mild aroma spice whose rhizomes are soft and juicy. The flesh of ginger can be yellow, white or sometimes red in color, depending on the variety. It is covered with brownish skin that may be thick or thin, depending upon the time when it is cultivated.It is widely used in cookery, and Ayurveda medicine. Most of the Asian cuisine is found featured with this aromatic spicy herb.
Place of Origin:
Ginger is native to Asia, where it is mostly cultivated in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, West Bengal and Orissa. The herb requires tropical climate with both heavy rainy season and hot summer season.
Ginger is generally planted in the months August and September using the previous year’s crops. The plant takes 9 months to attain maturity.
Ginger has been renowned for many centuries due to its medical properties. Information regarding this herb can be found in many scriptures of India, China and Middle East. It is praised for its aromatic, culinary and medical properties.
The ancient Romans imported ginger from China some 2000 years ago. It become popular in Mediterranean region and then it spread to other countries. It was one of the most expensive spices but in great demand. Spanish explorers introduced ginger to Mexico, West Indies and South Africa. The herb was exported to Europe in 16th century.
The top commercial producers of ginger are Jamaica, India, Fiji, Indonesia and Australia.
There are a number of varieties in the Zingiber family:
Zingiber zerumbet – It is also known as Shampoo Ginger that grows upto 1.2m tall. The juice of this variety is used to quench thirst and it can be combined with Mountain Apples as a meal.
Zingiber citriodorum – As the name suggests, this species has citrus fragrance. It requires light shade as it is a summer bloom.
Zingiber acuminatum – Small vegetative stalks that are less than 3 feet tall. Flowers are born in cones that are barely above the leaf litter.
Zingiber neglectum – This variety has great production. It requires light shade to grow well.
Zingiber ottensii – This variety is extremely prolific, filling a gap in production during early winter. The color of the herb turns red from chocolate color during autumn season.
Zingiber macrodenium – This variety is short in supply.
Ginger, a natural anti – inflammatory, has been used for thousands of years to cure pain. Ginger helps relieve nausea, arthritis, headaches, menstrual cramps and muscle soreness. During colder days, ginger can help spice up your circulation, too! A perfect compliment to vegetables, marinades and sweets. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and it has been used for thousands of years to cure pain. During colder days, ginger can help spice up your circulation, too!
Ginger is a perfect complement to vegetables, marinades and sweets. Tender ginger is used in pickles and it is also used as a food preservative. A little bit of ginger in tea adds a whole new refreshing level to it. Along with ginger, other ingredients like honey, lemon or orange slices can also be added. Ginger is also used in the preparation of ginger beer and ginger wine.
Matured ginger is fibrous and is used in Indian cuisine as a spice. It is also a major ingredient in Chinese, Korean, Japanese and many South Asian cuisines for flavoring seafood, non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes.
Ginger has been used as a natural remedy for many centuries. Researchers have laid their hands on this herb as it is a curative for many diseases. Ginger is used to cure dyspepsia, gastroparesis, slow motility symptoms, constipation, and colic. It is being used as a therapeutic agent for relief from gastrointestinal distress that promotes the elimination of intestinal spasmolytic.
It also provides relief to pregnant women from nausea and vomiting, even during the severe stage of hyperemesis gravidum when hospitalization is required. Unlike the drugs that are used for control vomiting and nausea, ginger is completely safe and does not show any effect on the birth of babies.
Ginger tea and ginger beer works out very well to cure cold. Its effect is found similar to that of Vitamin B6 in the treatment of morning sickness.
It is used in the treatment of ovarian cancer. It has been found that ginger powder induces cell death in the ovarian cancer cells. It has also been found out that ginger can slow down the growth of colorectal cancer cells. It also shows a drastic effect on diabetic nephropathy (damage of kidney).
Studies have also shown that ginger has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and it is a good pain killer. It is also found as a reliever from flue, cold and migraine.
Ginger is popular world-wide due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It contains anti-inflammatory compound called as gingerols, which are also responsible for its flavor. It helps in reducing the pain caused due to osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. It reduces their pain and increases mobility.
Ginger can produce sweating on consumption. This is a very good property that will drastically reduce flue and fever to an extent.
Side-effects from ginger is rare. However, it may sometimes cause heartburn, diarrhea and mouth burn. Some of the stomach side-effects like belching, heartburn, or stomach upset can be avoided. It is not a allergic food and it does not contain measurable amount of oxalates or purines.
Pregnant and lactating women, people with gallstones, heart diseases and bleeding disorders should consult their doctors before taking ginger. As ginger may lower blood sugar level (hypoglycemia) and it lowers the blood pressure (causing irregular heartbeat), it is advised to diabetic patients and BP patients to consult their doctors before consuming ginger.
Ginger plants can be grown easily at home. Follow the below steps:
1. Choose a fat ginger from the store.
2. Cut the ginger into pieces; ensure that each piece contains a node.
3. Soak the ginger pieces in lukewarm water for 8 hours.
4. In the mean time, prepare a container with soil compost and potting soil.
5. Then, bury the ginger pieces into the soil, with nodes turning upside. Continuously water it and do not make the soil soggy.
6. At first, the ginger grass will grow. We can use the clippings in recipes and tea.
7. After 9 or 10 months, the fully fledged ginger rhizomes can be found grown. We can use them just by digging the soil until the root gets exposed.
8. Take the amount how much ever you want, and bury the remaining part allowing it to grow.