by Geri Walton ~ December 3rd, 2008
Ginger is a rhizome that originated in Asia. It is used in ginger ale, ginger snaps, and gingerbread and has a long history of medicinal use, particularly as an Ayurvedic medicine. The FDA considers it safe, and you can readily obtain fresh ginger at any grocery store.
Ginger is versatile and has been known to
- Allievate vomiting and diarrhea
- Boost the immune system
- Function as an analgesic, sedative, and antibacterial
- Improve circulation
- Inhibit colorectal cancer cells
- Reduce incidences of migraines
- Relieve osteoarthritis and Fibryomyalgia pain
- Stimulate digestion
- Support thyroid function by reducing inflammation
- Treat motion sickness and morning sickness better than Dramamine
Although ginger has many health benefits, some people are allergic to it, and their symptoms can include heartburn, rashes, gas, and nausea. People who suffer from gallstones, gallbladder disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or ulcers should also avoid it as they can have adverse reactions. In addition, ginger may cause increased absorption of certain drugs, and it has a blood-thinning effect, which can be a problem for someone with clotting problems or someone taking aspirin.
When choosing fresh ginger, select firm pieces and avoid pieces that are dry, wrinkled, or have mushy spots. When you get it home, you can store it in a plastic bag for up to one month in the refrigerator.
If you’re interested, you can grow your own ginger at home. It’s easy to do:
- Place toothpicks into a two-inch piece of ginger rhizome you buy from the store.
- Suspend the ginger over a glass and fill the glass with water until 1/3 of the ginger is submerged.
- Check the water level every day and make sure 1/3 of the ginger stays submerged.
- When the roots are an inch to two-inches long, plant the ginger in a pot about four time the size of the ginger rhizome. The top of the ginger rhizome should barely show above the soil.
- Keep the pot in a sunny, warm location indoors until several sprouts appear.
- Move the ginger to an area where it receives bright indirect light, and water it regularly but do not let the soil become too wet.
Ginger plants grow quickly and reach a height of two to four feet tall. They usually look similar to lillies. Once plants reach the proper height, which is within three to four months, you can harvest your ginger and use it in recipes, to make teas, or for medicinal purposes.