Ginger Root History
Ginger root has been used for almost two thousand years to treat different ailments. Ginger is thought to have originated on the Indian subcontinent. The ancient Greeks and Romans were aware of the benefits of the ginger root, and used it both in cooking and for medicinal purposes. Ginger was commonly taken as a remedy for fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, heartburn, indigestion and nausea. The 3rd century BCE Ayurvedic text "Charka Samhita" and the 3rd century AD text "Sushruta
Samhita" discuss treatments using ginger.
After the end of the Roman Empire, the Arabs took control of the spice trade from the east. Ginger became one of the earliest spices known in Western Europe and was a common article of medieval trade. It was recorded that Henry VIII instructed the mayor of London to use ginger as a remedy for the Bubonic Plague, which swept Europe during the Middle Ages.
Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) (daughter of Henry VIII) was very fond of ginger. Her love of ginger led to the first ginger bread men being made at Christmas time. In the 19th century barkeepers would put out small containers of ground ginger for people to sprinkle in their beer. That was the origin of ginger ale.
Ginger originates from the Old English word "gingifer". Ginger’s Latin name is ‘Zingiber Officinale’. The ginger family includes not only the official ginger but also cardamom, tumeric, and zedoary.
The ginger plant has underground thick, aromatic, fibrous, knotty, buff-coloured rhizomes, which are not roots but actually the underground portion of the green lush spears. Rhizomes are sent out from the original plant and those rhizomes send up more shoots. The plant sends up club-shaped flower spikes that are a yellowish white splashed with purple. The flowers ripen into a red fruit that are filled with small black seeds.
Ginger is a great winter companion, as it gently warms up the body. Middle European cooks use dried ginger powder quite a bit, particularly in small cakes and cookies. Ginger is even part of the classic French spice mixture "quatre espices" or "four -spice" mix. Quare Espices includes ginger, ground cloves, nutmeg, and large quantities of ground white pepper. It is typically used in soup, ragout and pot-cooked dishes, vegetable preparations and charcuterie.
According to the British medical journal Lancet, ginger seems to be more effective than some standard drugs in treating motion sickness and dizziness. It is also used
in controlling and relieving the nausea after chemotherapy treatments. The FDA has placed ginger on their "generally recognized as safe" list.
Scribe of Camelot