When it comes to different types of herbs, ginger is one of the most versatile and popular options.
It can be used for a wide variety of different purposes, from use in cooking, to assisting with nausea and aiding arthritis. It has a fantastic, bold taste that is easily recognizable, and it smells great.
If you are looking to learn more about the history of ginger, this is the article for you. We will be taking a closer look at what ginger is, and its origins. In addition to this, we talk you through all the uses and benefits of ginger too. While there may be some you are familiar with, you may be surprised to learn just how many there are.
What is Ginger?
You may be surprised to learn that ginger derives from a plant. It is a tropical plant, but it is now found in many parts of the world. It originates from countries such as the Middle-East, India, Japan, and China. It is common in Africa and South America too due to the climate. While ginger is similar to turmeric, ultimately, it is different.
The ginger plant is called Zingiber officinale scientifically. It is a part of the Zingiberaceae family. The plant is not too large, growing around three feet in its height. It has purple-green flowers.
The ginger is taken from the root of the plant. This is why ginger is often referred to as ginger root, when you purchase it whole. This root is typically white or yellow, but it can be red too.
Ginger is great because it can be used for many purposes. It is commonly used in cooking, baking, herbal medicines, in tea, oils, and even beauty products. It is very versatile.
In addition to its many uses, it is also great for you as it has many fantastic health benefits, which we will be discussing. It is full of great vitamins and minerals.
History of Ginger
The history of ginger is an interesting one. It is originally thought to have been used in ancient China, in the Southernmost regions. When it grew in popularity, this quickly led it to be popular in other countries, such as India, and West Africa.
Surprisingly, it was introduced to Europe as early as the 1st Century. This was thanks to the trading that the Ancient Romans carried out with India. While its popularity declined after this, Marco Polo reignited its popularity.
When looking at the middle-ages, ginger was sought after due to its many uses, and medicinal purposes. Interestingly, one sheep was equivalent to half a kilogram of ginger. By the 15th Century, many parts of the world, such as the Caribbean were introduced to ginger.
The term ginger originates from the word “srngavaram”, which is Sanskrit for “horn body”. This is as a result of ginger’s unique shape. Since its use in ancient history, ginger has remained ever popular across the world.
Uses of Ginger
As we have already covered, there are many uses for ginger. This is why it is so popular given its many uses.
A common use for ginger is in cooking. There are so many recipes and cuisines that feature ginger. It is very common in Japanese, Chinese, and Indian food. It is great when added to sushi, curry, and stir fry in particular. However, it can also be added to savory breads too. In cooking, typically ground and root ginger is used.
Following on from cooking, baking is also a common use for gingerbread. Ginger is used in cookies, and gingerbread houses. It is a great option when used, especially over the Christmas period. It can be added to pastries and buns to give them an excellent ginger taste.
One of the most popular uses for ginger is for medicinal purposes. As discussed, ginger has been used in medicine for centuries. It is typically the root of ginger that is used in medicine, and it is said to have many medicinal properties, such as helping with nausea, and providing anti oxidants.
While ginger is used often in food, it also features in many drinks too. It is a popular choice to be added to herbal teas given its health benefits. It is also used for its flavor too. Some common drinks that use ginger include ginger beer, sodas and even cocktails. Ginger syrups can even be added to hot drinks as a tasty flavoring.
Ginger can be used in beauty products, especially in hand creams. It is said to have anti-aging properties and can provide help with acne prone skin. When added to beauty products, it is typically ginger oil that is used.
Ginger essential oil is taken from the ginger plant. While it is not the most well known essential oil, it is said to have many benefits. Ginger oil can be used on the skin, used in medicine, and in aromatherapy.
These are the most common uses for ginger, however, it can be used for many other purposes across the world too.
The Different Types of Ginger
Ginger can be purchased in many forms. While they are all essentially the same, depending on the purpose it is needed for, one option may be more suitable than the other purposes.
The most popular type of ginger is fresh ginger. This can be used in cooking and for medicinal purposes. It’s the freshest option, and provides a great amount of flavor.
Ground ginger is typically purchased to use in baking. It is easy to use as it has been turned into a powder. You can typically find this type of ginger in amongst the spices at the grocery store. It is also a great option for cooking and seasoning too.
Dried ginger lasts for a good amount of time, and is typically found in teas.
Pickled ginger is mostly used in cooking. It is often added to sushi and stir fry. It is easy to use, and still provides fantastic flavor.
As its name suggests, candied ginger is typically consumed as a sweet, or when added to baked goods. It is said to be great for nausea too.
Ginger oil is fantastic for use in aromatherapy, and beauty.
What Does Ginger Taste Like?
Ginger has a unique smell and taste. It has a slight spice to it that is both sweet and peppery. If it is overcooked, it can taste quite bitter, but fresh ginger has a slight juiciness to it. It is a warming ingredient, and can be quite hot when consumed raw.
Benefits of Ginger
As we have already touched upon, there are so many benefits of ginger. It is thought to have many health benefits.
Nausea and Vomiting
One of the biggest uses for ginger is to help ease nausea and vomiting. Ginger is said to be very helpful when it comes to sickness. There is even research that has been carried out which states that it can help.
It can be used for many types of nausea and upset stomachs. Two popular reasons for consuming ginger are due to morning sickness, and IBS. It is said to help with these kinds of nausea and can settle the stomach.
In addition to this, it is often recommended to people who are going through chemotherapy, or are taking tablets that cause them to vomit or feel nauseous.
For nausea and vomiting it is often recommended to drink ginger tea, or to consume food that contains ginger. Ginger cookies, and ginger beer are common choices for this.
Great For The Gut
In addition to helping with nausea, ginger is said to help aid digestion too. It is thought that it can help with things such as indigestion and constipation as it can speed up the digestion process.
This is great if you do suffer from digestive issues. It allows your body to find its natural rhythm again. Many people will choose to take ginger capsules for this, as it is the most effective form of ginger for digestion.
It is thought that ginger has anti-inflammatory properties. Given this, those who suffer from headaches, menstrual cramping, and arthritis, will often consume ginger to help with the symptoms.
It can be consumed as a supplement, and as it is said to be anti-inflammatory, it is particularly great at targeting joint pain. It is thought that ginger root is one of the best ways to consume the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger.
Lower Blood Sugar And Cholesterol
Ginger is a fantastic food to consume as it is full of goodness. It helps to promote a healthier lifestyle, and is packed with vitamins and minerals. As a result of this, it is thought that ginger can help to lower blood sugar and cholesterol.
This is great because it will help to prevent conditions such as diabetes, and heart disease. Ginger power is often recommended in terms of lowering blood sugar.
It is also thought that ginger can help to prevent cancer, protect against Alzheimer’s disease, and help to prevent blood clots too. It is an antioxidant which allows it to be great for the body. As you can see, there are so many benefits and uses for ginger.
Nutrition of Ginger
Ginger is packed with goodness, and as a result it provides a lot of positive results for your body. Some of the vitamins and minerals it includes are:
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
As you can see, there are so many fantastic vitamins and minerals included in ginger. It is easy to see why it is so favorable.
The recommended amount of ginger that should be consumed daily, according to doctors, is around 3-4 grams per day, which is a reasonable amount. This is referring to fresh ginger. If you are consuming ginger extract, only 1 gram per day is recommended. In addition to this, children that are under the age of 2 are not recommended to consume ginger.
While ginger is fantastic, it is worth noting that you should always consume it in moderation. As with any type of food, if you are consuming too much of it, it can have adverse effects.
Given this, you should be aware of the potential side effects that it causes too. Some of the most common side effects include abdominal discomfort, heartburn, diarrhea, and mouth or throat irritation.
If you have a reaction to it when it is used topically, this can cause redness, a rash, and potentially dermatitis. In extreme cases consuming too much ginger can increase bleeding tendency.
This is why moderation is important. These side effects typically occur if you are consuming ginger in very high concentrations, such as oil capsules. This is why it is always important to follow the instructions carefully before using and consuming.
We hope that you have found this article useful and insightful. Ginger is such a fascinating herb. It is one that has so many uses. It is fantastic when added to meals or baked goods, and it is also great when added to herbal tea too.
Given its medicinal qualities, it is easy to see why it is so popular. It is full of helpful vitamins and minerals that will help to keep you as healthy as possible. As it has anti-inflammatory properties, it is great for arthritis and its nausea and vomiting prevention cannot be ignored.
It is great that it has so many uses and health benefits. It is available to purchase in so many ways, and there is an op00tion that is suitable for everyone.
While fresh ginger is always the best option to choose where possible, the other types of ginger are great. While you can consume up to 4 grams of ginger a day, we would not recommend any more than this. Consuming too much ginger can have negative effects on the body, which should be avoided.