It is often considered that ginger is a root. In fact, ginger is a rhizome, that is, the underground stem of a plant. Ginger is scientifically known as Zingiber Officinale Roscoe and belongs to the Zingiberaceae family. It originates, apparently, from the tropical area of the Far East, although the cultivation of ginger has spread and is very popular in India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Central and South America, Polynesia, and Australia.
For many years, ginger has been a very important cure in the Chinese medicine, which is already mentioned in the writings of Confucius, as well as in the Ayurvedic medicine of India.
The benefits of ginger that make it indispensable
Ginger not only aromatizes and adds a unique spicy flavor to the foods but it also has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiseptic, and analgesic properties, among others. Some other ginger benefits include:
- Stimulates immunity – It contains sesquiterpenes that fight the rhinoviruses that cause most colds;
- Alleviate the pain – It is so effective that people suffering from arthritis or osteoarthritis are advised to use ginger;
- Avoid stiffness – Take a spoonful of fresh-grated ginger before exercising to prevent muscle aches;
- Treats migraines – Ginger avoids the constriction of the blood vessels that is the source of many headaches;
- Enhances the memory – It protects neurons against amyloid proteins that cause their degeneration, therefore, it can also prevent Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases;
The multiple virtues that are attributed to ginger are due mainly to its richness in volatile oils.
It also has phenolic substances, proteolytic enzymes, linoleic acid, several vitamins (especially B6 and C), and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Ginger can be used in many forms
In Asia, it is usually used in the form of a fresh rhizome. The young rhizomes have golden peel and a more complex but less spicy flavor. It is added as a whole, as well as sliced, to soups and stews and it is also grated and squeezed to obtain fresh juice.
Dry ginger’s flavor is more pronounced and spicy, thus, it is primarily used as a spice in many preparations.
Besides, ginger can also be pickled, a preparation common in Japan, where it is called “Gari”. “Gari” usually accompanies the ‘sushi’ and the ‘maki’. It is prepared with fresh ginger rhizomes, vinegar, sugar, and a pinch of coffee and salt.
Thanks to its many health benefits, ginger should not miss from your kitchen and you should add it in food as often as possible.