Ginger is a root of the plant Zingiber oficinale.
A ginger root extends about a foot above the ground to expose a plant with green leaves and bright yellow and green or white flowers attached to a green ribbed stem. Ginger root is known for its taste and medicinal uses, mainly from the oils and phenols inside of it.
Ginger root is classified as a food known as a rhizome. These are stems or roots that are most well-known for their strong flavors. Rhizomes also include galangal and turmeric. Because ginger is a root, it is considered to be a vegetable and not a fruit.
Not only can ginger enhance the flavor of many dishes, but it also is useful as an herbal remedy. Most commonly, ginger is used as a means to calm the stomach. Whether you are experiencing motion sickness or morning sickness, ginger can help. The oils and phenols in ginger can relieve nausea and stop vomiting, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Ginger is also useful at relieving inflammation. Ginger oil extract has been used as an alternative medicine for inflammatory-related conditions such as arthritis or colitis. Before you use ginger for any health-related problem, always gain clearance from your physician first.
Ginger can be very strong, depending on how you prepare it for your dish. To get a more subtle taste from ginger, slice the root. If you want to enhance the flavor, mince, grate or food-process the root. Ginger root can also bring a bit of spice or heat to it. To avoid a pungent and hot-tasting root, choose a fresh root that is firm and evenly colored. Ginger root should not appear wrinkled or a strange color. Ginger can be used in a glaze for meats, combined with milk for homemade ice cream or even caramelized in cookies. Use your imagination and take advantage of this flavorful and healthy vegetable.
Ginger has been used as a natural remedy for many ailments for centuries. Now, science is catching up and researchers around the world are finding that ginger works wonders in the treatment of everything from cancer to migraines.
Here are ten possible health benefits
of this powerful herb.
Ovarian Cancer Treatment
Ginger may be powerful weapon in the treatment of ovarian cancer. A study conducted at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that ginger powder induces cell death in all ovarian cancer cells to which it was applied.
Colon Cancer Prevention
A study at the University of Minnesota found that ginger may slow the growth of colorectal cancer cells.
A review of several studies has concluded that ginger is just as effective as vitamin B6 in the treatment of morning sickness.
Motion Sickness Remedy
Ginger has been shown to be an effective remedy for the nausea associated with motion sickness.
Reduces Pain and Inflammation
One study showed that ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and is a powerful natural painkiller.
Ginger has long been used as a natural heartburn remedy. It is most often taken in the form of tea for this purpose.
Cold and Flu Prevention and Treatment
Ginger has long been used as a natural treatment for colds and the flu. Many people also find ginger to be helpful in the case of stomach flus or food poisoning, which is not surprising given the positive effects ginger has upon the digestive tract.
Research has shown that ginger may provide migraine relief due to its ability to stop prostaglandins from causing pain and inflammation in blood vessels.
Menstrual Cramp Relief
In Chinese medicine, ginger tea with brown sugar is used in the treatment of menstrual cramps.
Galangal is a root from the ginger family that looks a bit like a knobbly Jerusalem artichoke. It is widely used in South-East Asian cuisine, particularly Thai cookery and is an important ingredient in Thai curry pastes. In its raw form, galangal has a stronger taste than common ginger. They are available as a whole rhizome, cut or powdered. The whole fresh rhizome is very hard, and slicing it requires a sharp knife.
The name galangal is derived form the Chinese word for ginger. Botanically it is known as alpinia galanga. This tuber is known to have numerous medicinal and health benefits. Different galangal specimens vary in their hotness and flavor. The spice is said to have a flowery taste, while others describe it as tasting like ginger with cardamom. However, some feel the taste of galangal is more like peppery cinnamon, while lesser galangal has a stronger, hotter, and more medicinal taste. The lesser galangal Languas officinarum is sometimes confused with greater galangal. It comes from China, where it is used as a medicinal herb, but is grown in Indonesia and is regarded as a spice flavor for use in food.
Galangal and other gingery spices are used in Asia and in the Middle East in cooking, perfumes, snuffs, vinegar, beers, and in wines in Russia, and they are used in Germany and elsewhere in teas and aphrodisiacs.
If you don't have galangal, try using any of these substitutes for galangal in your recipe.
Not as pungent as galangal but similar in flavor, ginger root can work as a viable alternative to its more exotic counterpart. Use about one and a half times as much ginger as the recipe calls for in galangal. This will ensure that your recipe is sufficiently potent.
Another exotic rhizome related to ginger, fingerroot is also known as "Chinese ginger" or ka chi. Fingerroot's long, brown protrusions vaguely resemble human fingers. It is popular in Thailand, and its flavor is very similar to ginger but a bit weaker. Use twice as much fingerroot a the recipe calls for in galangal. As a substitute for galangal, fingerroot will suffice only if you use relatively large quantities.