Wednesday, 15 April 2009
GINGER is native to India and China. It takes its name from the Sanskrit word stringa-vera, which means “with a body like a horn”, as in antlers.
GINGER has been important in Chinese medicine for many centuries, and is mentioned in the writings of Confucius. It is also named in the Koran, the sacred book of the Moslems, indicating it was known in Arab countries as far back as 650 A.D. It was one of the earliest spice known in Western Europe, used since the ninth century. It became so popular in Europe that it was included in every table setting, like salt and pepper. A common article of medieval and Renaissance trade, it was one of the spices used against the plague. In English pubs and taverns in the nineteenth century, barkeepers put out small containers of ground GINGER, for people to sprinkle into their beer — the origin of ginger ale. In order to ’gee up’ a lazy horse, it is the time honoured practice of Sussex farmers to apply a pinch of GINGER to the animal’s backside!!!
Although often called “ginger root” it is actually a rhizome. It is available in various forms. Fresh GINGER is essential to Indian, South-East Asian and oriental cookery. It is used in pickles, chutneys and curry pastes and the ground dried root is a constituent of many curry powders. In the West, dried and crystalised ginger is mainly used in cakes, biscuits, puddings, jams, preserves and in some drinks like ginger beer, ginger wine and tea.
In Asian cooking, GINGER is almost always used fresh, either minced, crushed or sliced. Fresh GINGER can be kept for several weeks in the salad drawer of the refrigerator. Dried GINGER should be ‘bruised’ by beating it to open the fibers, then infused in the cooking or making ginger beer and removed when the flavour is sufficient. Store dried and powdered GINGER in airtight containers.
GINGER has long been ascribed aphrodisiac powers, taken either internally or externally. It is mentioned in the Karma Sutra, and in the Melanesian Islands of the South Pacific it is employed ‘to gain the affection of a woman’. Conversely, in the Philippines it is chewed to expel evil spirits. GINGER is a known diaphoretic, meaning it causes one to sweat. It was recorded that Henry VIII instructed the mayor of London to use ginger’s diaphoretic qualities as a plague medicine.
GINGER is most commonly known for its effectiveness as a digestive aid. By increasing the production of digestive fluids and saliva, GINGER helps relieve indigestion, gas pains, diarrhea and stomach cramping. The primary known constituents of GINGER Root include gingerols, zingibain, bisabolenel, oleoresins, starch, essential oil (zingiberene, zingiberole, camphene, cineol, borneol), mucilage, and protein. GINGER root is also used to treat nausea related to both motion sickness and morning sickness. Ginger has been found to be even more effective than Dramamine® in curbing motion sickness, without causing drowsiness. GINGER 's anti-inflammatory properties help relieve pain and reduce inflammation associated with arthritis, rheumatism and muscle spasms. GINGER 's therapeutic properties effectively stimulate circulation of the blood, removing toxins from the body, cleansing the bowels and kidneys, and nourishing the skin. Other uses for GINGER Root include the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems by loosening and expelling phlegm from the lungs. GINGER Root may also be used to help break fevers by warming the body and increasing perspiration.
East Indian Pepper, Jamaica Ginger, Jamaica Pepper
Burmese: cheung, chiang, jeung
Indian: adruk (green), ard(r)ak(h) (green), sont(h) (dried)
Japanese: mioga, myoga, shoga
Thai: k(h)ing (green)
Source: The Epicentre
PS: I have successfully grown GINGER in Canberra. I cultivated it from fresh GINGER bought from the green grocers and also through mail order from ALL RARE HERBS.
Look for GINGER with small rhizomes. You will need a small pot with some seed raising mix, bury the root about 2 to 3 cm from the top and hope for the best. Do not over water, as it would rot the fresh GINGER. Leave in a warm sheltered position. When the plant is about 12 to 18 cm high, (providing the temperature is right), you will need to transfer it to a garden bed…. and watch it grow!
However you will need to protect the plant from mid April to Mid October, preferabably in a hot house as Canberra weather will be too cold for it.