Ginger Root: Around the World and In Your Home

by Melissa Chichester

Meet the spice that was considered a luxury over 5,000 years ago: ginger root.

While this spice once cost as much as livestock and was esteemed for its use in traditional health practices, today ginger is readily available in many forms. You can find ginger not only in its raw root form at the grocery store, but also in teas, pastes, candies, and essential oil. Ginger is also used as a supplement to support digestive health and alleviate occasional motion sickness.* With all it can do, it’s easy to see why ginger is one of the most used and highly regarded spices in the world.

Ginger around the world

Native to Southern Asia, ginger is part of the turmeric and cardamom spice family and was one of the first spices exported to Europe during the spice trade. Today, it is a favorite spice in foods all around the world, particularly in Jamaica! In fact, Jamaican ginger is prized for its bold flavor and the island produces most of the world’s ginger followed by India. In India, ginger is a key ingredient for creating flavorful gravies and masala chai tea. In Western cultures, ginger is commonly used to flavor sweets like gingerbread and ginger ale. Queen Elizabeth I is often credited for having invented gingerbread man cookies to serve her guests. In Vietnam, ginger is an ingredient in canh khoai mỡ, a traditional soup made with shrimp and yams. Wedang jahe is a palm sugar and ginger herbal beverage that is popular throughout Indonesia.

Ginger in aromatherapy

In aromatherapy, ginger is a spicy, warming oil that is frequently used for uplifting and energizing the spirit. Because of this, it is frequently used in massage oil blends to stimulate the senses and muscles. Ginger essential oil blends well with other spicy oils like black pepper, in addition to citrus scents like bergamot oil and orange oil. If you want to try ginger in your own aromatherapy routine, test out this massage oil!

Zesty Orange Ginger Massage Oil Blend

Ingredients:

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a dark glass bottle or jar. Smooth over skin and rub into muscles as needed.

Ginger in the kitchen

You might already cook with dried or fresh ginger, or maybe even ginger paste, but have you ever used this vibrant spice as a pick-me-up? Flavorful wellness “shots” offer a boost of nutrients and arouse the senses whether you need a morning or afternoon energy jolt. If you’re worried about it being too spicy, don’t: our recipe pairs ginger with sweet carrot and apple juice to balance the edginess. Another perk: no juicer necessary!

Ginger and Carrot Elixir Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • Dash cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions:

In a blender, mix all ingredients until smooth on a high-powered setting. Strain out the pulp into a glass or bowl with cheesecloth or a sieve. Serve immediately. Makes 1 serving.

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