Ginger is one of those spices people associate only with cookies, cakes and candy and yes, it does lend a great taste to these treats. But little do they know the wonderful medicinal qualities found in this tangy, pungent tropical root.
The history behind the medicinal uses of Ginger goes back to ancient Roman times and even beyond that in the Orient. The Romans used to take slices of ginger, wrap them in tiny bits of bread and eat this after a heavy meal to aid in digestion. This may be the origin of gingerbread.
In the Orient, Ginger was used in cooking to add a kick to many foods. It certainly did that, but it was more useful as a cure for various ailments. Women suffering from severe morning sickness were urged to take ginger tea upon rising. This worked like a charm to settle the stomach. It also helped with motion sickness and seasickness.
Ginger works to maintain inner ear equilibrium like that often lacking in those suffering from Vertigo. Believe me when I say it works for this. I have vertigo--or rather I have kept it at bay ever since learning that Ginger is good for this-- and now I take fresh ginger almost religiously either as a tea or in food. Mixed in with my breakfast yogurt is yummy indeed!
Research has finally proved the claim by Chinese herbalists that heart disease and arthritis are also helped with the continuous use of Ginger. Quite by accident a friend of mine who also has vertigo--a very bad case-- discovered that Ginger lowered her blood pressure. Another friend used it whenever she felt a cold coming on and it always made her feel better, which would explain why I hardly ever get a cold anymore, not since using Ginger almost daily. Go figure!
Ginger ale is now considered just a soft drink but back in colonial times it was the medicine of choice for upset tummies. Moms know that a bit of ginger ale is the best thing to settle a queasy stomach. As such, they keep it around the house just in case. Annie Jean’s easy to make Ginger tummy-tamer candy works for this, too and kids love it.
The only trouble with Ginger is unless you live in the tropics, it isn’t very easy to grow. But it is available readily in ground and powered form on any spice shelf in supermarkets, and the fresh root can be found in most good produce shops, bodegas and especially in Chinese food supply stores.
I had discovered a place which sold a cultivar of ginger which could be grown in northerns regions, but I didn't order it soon enough to get them for trying in my garden. It was apparently a bad year for ginger last year and they didn't have enough to fulfill all their orders. Oh bother! I may try this year again. I'd love to have my own fresh, organically grown supply cuz me and Ginger, we're best buds!