Ginger - Natural Benefits and Curative Properties
Botanical Name :: Zingiber officinalse
Indian Name :: Adrak
Ginger is a perennial herb, with underground branching stems called rhizomes which are swollen and tough. They are white or yellow outside and become grey brown or orange with age, up to 2.5 cm in diameter. Leaves and rhizomes have characteristic fragrant odour when cut or bruised. Rhizomes are dug out after the leafy pails are dried. They are sold as fresh ginger in the vegetable market or are peeled, sliced and dried. The sun dried ginger is commonly known as sount in India.
Origin and Distribution
Ginger is believed 10 have originated in India and was introduced in China al a very early date. It appears to have been used as a spice and a medicine from early times by the Indians and the Chinese. There are numerous references to it in Sanskrit literature and in Chinese Medical treatises. It was known in Europe in first century AD and was mentioned by Dioscorides and Pliny As living rhizomes of ginger are very easy to transport, the plant soon spread to all tropical countries. The sanskrit name singebera gave rise to the Greek Zingiberi and to the late latin Zingiber. The major producers today are China, India and Taiwan.
Ginger is cultivated all over India, but ginger grown in Kerala is found to be superior than the ones grown in other places, in aroma and in taste.
Food Value of Ginger
Ginger is available in two forms, fresh and dried Both the forms contain effective food value. As the taste of ginger is not very palatable, subtle means are adopted to use it in certain ways. It is put in vegetables. The dried ginger, which may be scraped or peeled before drying, constitute the spice, and is esteemed for its flavor, pungency, aroma and medicinal value.
Natural Benefits and Curative Properties of Ginger
Ginger is being used as medicine in India from Vedic period and is called Mahaaushidhi, meaning the great medicine. Ancient physicians used ginger as a carminative and anti fermenting medicine. Galen, the Greek physician, used ginger as a medicine to rectify the defective humors of the body. He used ginger in the treatment of paralysis caused by phlegmatic imbalance in the body. Aviceena, another Greek physician used it as an aphrodisiac. Pomose, yet another Greek physician also used ginger in the treatment of gout centuries ago.
Ginger is now widely used in local medicines in India and the far East. Taken internally, it is a stimulating carminative and locally it is used as a rubefacient and counter irritant. Like many other spices, ginger is believed to have aphrodisiac properties.
Uses of Ginger
In western countries, it is widely used for culinary purposes in gingerbread, biscuits, cakes, puddings, soups and pickles. But it is used as curry powder all over the world. Ginger is the most widely-used spice in Chinese cookery. It is used in the production of ginger beer, ginger ale and ginger wine. It was formerly much used for spicing wines, possets and porter, the last one often being stirred with a red-hot poker
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