Native to Asia, ginger or Zingiber officinale is a tropical perennial plant from which the rhizome boasts many health benefits and has a high therapeutic value.
Ginger is very often used in Asian cooking, but it has ultimately spread across the planet and appears in our own plates very often.
Health benefits of ginger on the body
Ginger has uncountable uses and has been used for a very long time in innumerable manners for its medicinal properties.
Anti-inflammatory, anti-migraine, ideal against motion sickness according to some, aphrodisiac, it has been given many healthy attributes.
- Do you suffer from digestive disorders or gastro-intestinal disorders? Ginger has digestive properties.
- In China, it is used to warm the body after having been out in the cold, it adequately cures colds, coughs and other respiratory issues.
- Ginger also tends to raise arterial blood pressure and increase capillary circulation.
- Among the health benefits of ginger, its antivomiting properties are striking: it is very effective against motion sickness or car sickness and post-operative nausea. Good news for pregnant women: they can eat ginger to deal with pregnancy-related nausea!
Ginger, king of oriental cuisine
In China, Japan and Thailand, ginger is eaten fresh, thinly sliced in stock, marinades and soups.
It is amazing to pair with fish and rice, gives a spicy flavor to tea, and is also simply snacked upon – candied, of course – between meals. The most famous South-Asian treat is the special candied ginger.
Curry powder also smells so good partly thanks to the powdered ginger it contains.
Growing ginger for its health benefits
Ginger requires shade and heat, at least 50°F (10°C). The soil must be rich and well drained.
Tip: Ginger can be highly irritant for some. If this is the case for you, ingest it in powder form, it won’t be as aggressive. It does lose a bit of its flavor, though.
To propagate ginger, simply divide the clump in fall.
If you have a pot that is deep enough, it is perfectly possible to grow ginger in a pot, provided it drains very well. Line the bottom of the pot with gravel or clay pebbles, having checked of course that there’s a hole at the bottom of it.
Watch out for small bugs!
Ginger is vulnerable to scale insect attacks.
Cooking with ginger
Whether it’s fresh, dried, or powdered, ginger delicately flavors vegetables, dressings, shrimp, meats and even ice cream. When baking pastry, it pairs well with cinnamon.
Ginger nutritional content
Ginger has the capacity to ease digestion. It contains a little vitamin C, B and various trace elements depending on the soil type. Ginger is invigorating and makes the body feel warm.
In Great Britain, the United States and Australia, ginger is a spice that is used often. For instance, it appears in the all-famous “ginger bread” pastries, those little cakes served with tea.
It also perfumes drinks like “ginger beer” which has a bit of alcohol or more child-friendly “ginger ale”, a sparkling water with food coloring and ginger flavoring that is used to pair with whisky or gin. Try it out!