Interesting Ginger Facts
There are many interesting bits of information about ginger, a rhizome that is now considered a rather common ingredient for gingerbread goodies and for Asian cuisine. So what is a rhizome you might ask. Well the rhizome is usually found underground at the base of a plant and contains nodes that give birth to roots.
Scientifically named Zingiber officinale, ginger is popularly referred to as a root even though as stated earlier it is not. If you look at it, it even looks like a root although technically, it is a rhizome. In many cultures around the world, it is used not only for cooking, but also has a history of being included as a component in home remedies for a variety of ailments.
Interesting Ginger Facts Historical
The history of ginger holds some of the most fascinating stories. The rhizome is a native of Southeast Asia, but as far back as the days of the Roman Empire, the so-called civilized world had started to use it for medicinal purposes. Below is a list of historical facts.
- It was exported to Europe via India sometime during the first century, AD.
- In the 13th and 14th centuries, during the days of the Turkish Empire, ginger was brought by the Arabs to Zanzibar and Africa, where the herb became widely cultivated.
- During this period, ginger was such a valuable commodity that a pound of it cost as much as one head of sheep!
- The presence of ginger in history is attested to by mention of it in the Koran, the Bible, the Talmud, and in Ayurvedic texts.
- During the Middle Ages, ginger became a popular component of breads and cookies. It was then that gingerbread became very visible in Medieval fairs all over Europe
- The creation of the gingerbread man is attributed to Queen Elizabeth I. It is said that she had gingerbread cookies shaped to resemble the dignitaries that came to her court.
- Ginger ale first started as a non-alcoholic beer to address nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Interesting Ginger Facts Related to Properties
- Apart from its interesting history, ginger also has some truly amazing properties. For example, the sweetish pickled ginger that comes with sushi is not dyed pink. Ginger simply turns pink when it is pickled in sweet vinegar.
- Ginger possesses sialogogue action. This means it stimulates the production of saliva, and it is a useful remedy for dry mouth or a condition called xerostomia.
- This herb contains Gingerol. Experiments show this has anti-inflammatory properties. This could make it a key to safer, natural remedies for arthritis. Studies strongly suggest that gingerol is also cytotoxic towards certain cancer cells. The list includes breast, colon, pancreatic, and lung cancer.
- Ginger retains its medicinal properties, whether fresh or cooked. Raw ginger contains gingerols, cooked or dried ginger contains shogaol. Studies strongly suggest that both have great potential as remedies for a wide variety of ailments.
Where in the World Do You Find the Best Ginger?
Ginger is part of the Zingiberaceae family, the same plant family that turmeric, cardamom, and galangal belong to. Although ginger is good no matter where you get it, certain parts of the world are more distinguished when it comes to ginger than others.
- India dominates the global production of ginger. About 30% of the ginger on the international market is grown in India.
- It is said that the best ginger comes from Jamaica. Their Zingiber officinale is reputed to have a sweeter, stronger flavor. This is why their ginger is usually more expensive than the rhizomes produced elsewhere in the world.
Interesting Ginger Facts Mystical
- Aside from being an erstwhile component of traditional health remedies, there is quite a bit of mysticism about ginger. Traditional Chinese Medicine states that ginger helps restore yin-yang balance in the body, which is essential for health and well-being.
- Other traditional cultures believe that ginger wards off the evil eye. The thriving ginger market shows that even if everyone doesn’t abide by these beliefs, a good number of people cannot resist the rhizome’s appeal.