Ginger root is one of the oldest and most popular natural remedies, and in our opinion also one of the most delicious. Ginger root is very easy to find in most places both in fresh and dried (and even pickled and candied) preparations.
This is one herb to always keep on hand
It is good for use in natural remedies for upset stomachs, respiratory issues, and even skin problems!
Ginger: Food or Medicine?
According to Mountain Rose Herbs, ginger root the most widely used and available herbal remedy on the planet, with billions of people using it every day as both food and medicine. It’s certainly spicy, but there are ways to adjust the taste for different palates.
Ginger is a root (a rhizome related to the turmeric root, to be exact). It grows as a tropical perennial with green shoots (they almost resemble bamboo, a related rhizome) with lance-shaped leaves and stalks of white or yellow flowers.
As the name “ginger root” suggests the part we use is the brown root system running underground between sprouts. This root when peeled contains a fibrous, juicy core that can be grated, chopped, minced, or ground.
So, why are billions of people a fan of this particular root?
Culinary and Medicinal Uses in History
Ginger root grows in many places today and is widely available in most grocery stores both as a fresh root and a dried and powdered spice. That wasn’t always the case, though.
Originally from southern Asia, ginger root was one of the first spices to be brought and traded from the Orient in ancient and medieval times. Arab spice traders would go to great lengths to protect their source and even made up stories of ginger fields stalked by a fierce people called “troglodytes” to do so.
In this way ginger gained quite a reputation as a sought-after commodity and even became woven into fables and literature. Even Shakespeare wrote in Love’s Labor Lost “had I but one penny in the world thou should’st have it to buy ginger-bread.”
While ginger is certainly delicious for culinary use in recipes like gingerbread, ginger tea, curry, and the like, Chinese and Japanese medicine practitioners learned early on just how beneficial ginger is for the health as well.
Health Benefits of Ginger Root
The best of East meets West in ginger, because current medical research agrees that ginger has a myriad of health benefits.
Ginger root (in dried or fresh forms) is said to help:
- soothe digestive disturbances
- alleviate nausea (great in early pregnancy)
- reduce fever
- calm coughing and respiratory troubles
- stimulate the circulatory system
- relieve muscle aches and pain
- get rid of dandruff
- lower cholesterol
- lower blood pressure and cancer risk
Chinese or Japanese practitioners typically use fresh ginger medicinally to relieve dryness and heat, and dried to relieve dampness and chill.
Is Ginger Safe?
There are warnings in both traditional Chinese medicine and some medical texts about using ginger during pregnancy, though it is generally agreed that ginger can be used in moderation. Always check with a doctor or midwife to be sure.
While in the right amount ginger helps digestive, excessive use may in fact cause gastrointestinal upset. As always, moderation and a varied diet is best.
Where to Get Ginger Root
Fresh organic ginger is available in many grocery stores. For ease of storage, dried ginger root is another great option.