Ginger Plants - History and Information

Ginger plants have been extremely popular throughout Asia, especially in India and China, for over 5000 years and were used extensively for cooking and to treat a host of ailments like cold, indigestion, joint pains, etc.

The health benefits of ginger consumption have been known for centuries and it is said to be the most cultivated spice in the world today, both for cooking and healing purposes.

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A note about Ginger Plants - History and Information

Herbs are God and nature's gifts to us. While the use of herbs and herb remedies has brought excellent results for many people, do note that their health benefits may be limited when they are used in isolation. However, when combined with some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition, the impact on one's health will be greatly magnified.

In natural health and healing, we believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases. We also believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man’s understanding. It is thus a good idea to apply these fundamental health steps no matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem.

Ginger is native to Asia and the name Zingiber officinale was given by the famous Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in the 18th century. In ancient India, ginger was known by the Sanskrit name shringara, while the Greeks wrote of it as zingiberis in the 1st century.

In fact, the origin of the ginger plant has been traced to India, from where it traveled to China, Africa, and the Caribbean. In Africa, ginger was used to treat yellow fever and malaria.

India also exported ginger to Rome and the ginger herb was used by Romans for cooking purposes. The Arabs, too, traded heavily in ginger and, like all other spices, ginger became popular across all the seven continents.

The botanical name of ginger plants, as mentioned earlier, is Zingiber officinale, and it is also known by the names African ginger, black ginger, sunthi, East Indian pepper, Jamica pepper, German ingwer, Italian zenzero jengibre, myoga, zangvil, gingembre, dinnsear, engifer, shouga, imbir, luya, gung, etc.

The part of the ginger plant commonly known and consumed is the underground stem, or rhizome, although it is often referred to as "ginger root". This part of the plant stores its food reserves, and is the one used for both cooking and medicinal purposes.

The stem grows up to about 12 inches above the ground and has long, ribbed, green leaves, with yellow or white flowers. Ginger flowers have also been described as being greenish yellow and streaked with purple down the sides.

The strong taste and stimulating effects of ginger on the body are largely down to the presence of an oily substance called gingerol as well as volatile oils. Gingerols and shogaols present in ginger are pungent chemical substances. Ginger also contains some amount of essential oils in the root, which is the reason for its fragrance. In addition, it contains other chemical substances like sesquiterpenoids and monoterpenoid in lesser quantities.

There are many varieties of cultivated and wild ginger. Generally, the more pungent versions are more effective for therapeutic or medicinal uses, while the milder versions would suffice for culinary purposes.

China is said to be largest producer of ginger today, followed by India. The Chinese refer to ginger as yang, or hot, food, which is used to balance the yin, or cooling, food to create harmony.

Information on the health benefits of ginger are covered in the other related articles.

Ginger Pages | Ginger Plants - History and Information | How To Grow Ginger - Growing and Storing Ginger | Obtaining the Benefits of Ginger - Methods of Use | Health Benefits of Ginger | More About Ginger Health Benefits - Includes Topical or External Ginger Uses | How Ginger Benefits Health - Discussion on Ginger Research and Studies | Possible Ginger Side Effects, Contraindications and Caution

Read More: Information on some Herbs | Natural Healing Herbs, Herbals Formulas and Foods - My Favorites | Herbal Remedies for Various Health Conditions and Ailments | Home Page | Site Search

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