The Ginger family is indeed a large one it includes at least 1,400 individual species of tropical herbaceous perennials all of which feature thick, knotted, aromatic underground stems called rhizomes.
Rising above ground level are long stems about a foot high with narrow green leaves and white or yellowish-green flowers. After the leaves become dry, the rhizome is harvested, washed, separated from its roots, and left in the sun to dry.
The plant's rhizome has a pungent aroma and a slightly biting taste. It is usually ground up and used as a spice to flavor breads, sauces, confections, pickles, ginger ale but is also used as a medicine. An oil can be distilled from the rhizome and used in foods and perfumes as well.
Ginger is probably native to South Asia, but today most ginger comes from Jamaica, India, Africa and China. Its name comes from the Sanskrit word for "horn root" which refers to its knobby appearance.
This extremely versatile root has long been a mainstay in Asian and Indian cooking, but is now popular in Europe and other regions of the world. Ginger has been cultivated since ancient times, but today it no longer grows wild. Europeans and most Americans only use the dried, ground form of the spice.
- Ginger root supports a healthy digestive system.
- Ginger has been used for occasional nausea, vomiting, or dizziness associated with motion sickness.
- Ginger soothes sour stomach.
- Ginger is one of the world's most popular spices.
- Ginger is used in traditional Chinese health practices.
- Ginger supports comfortable joint movement and is distinct among natural joint products.
- The active components in the ginger root are volatile oils and phenol compounds such as gingerol, zingiberene, shogoal, and zingiberol. Gingerol and shogaol give ginger its pungent aroma and are responsible for the health enhancing activities of ginger.
- Ginger contains protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin B3, starch, fatty acids, and protease.
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