Spicy Fridays with Lynn Quire: GingerDATE: March 5, 2021
From luxury to common spice: Ginger
Welcome to another edition of Spicy Fridays with Lynn Quire! Ginger (Zingiber officinale), a common spice in most kitchens today was considered a luxury more than 5,000 years ago.
The Indians and ancient Chinese used the root of ginger as a tonic to treat common ailments. Although ginger originated in Southeast Asia, it was widely cultivated in other countries. By the 1st century, traders had taken ginger into the Mediterranean regions.
Eventually, it became a popular spice in Rome. Unfortunately, the use of ginger fell from use once the Roman Empire fell. At this point, ginger’s worth had increased. It was commonly used to make delicacy sweets in medieval times.
Ginger has been traded throughout history longer than most other spices. It was valued for its medicinal merits: it is a popular warming spice, a digestive aid, and sometimes used to treat flatulence and colic.
Today ginger can easily be found in grocery stores fresh, dried, pickled, preserved, crystallized, candied, and powdered. We enjoy it with sushi (pickled in sweet vinegar), in many Asian dishes, in cookies (ginger snaps), and ginger ale/beer. A fun tidbit. The pickled ginger that is served with or in sushi is pink because of the chemical reaction to the vinegar it is pickled in.
Ginger is used to help with nausea in pregnancy and with an upset stomach. It is also known to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antioxidant properties. As a digestive, it speeds up the rate of gastric emptying and aids the absorption of nutrients from the digestive extract. Research has even shown that ginger can be effective in relieving migraines. Used freshly grated or in salve, ginger can help ease pain caused by arthritis and overuse by stimulating circulation of the blood in the area.
Tea could help with respiratory problems such as colds, coughs, and flu. A cup of tea with your meal or a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger in your food every day is suggested for digestive and nausea issues. For morning sickness, capsules are suggested, or even sometimes just a piece of candied ginger or tea can help.
Ginger is pretty safe when used for common issues, used in moderation. It is recommended to avoid ginger if you are suffering from peptic ulcers. For pregnancy or if taking anticoagulants, no more than 2 grams dried or 4 grams of fresh root be taken in the course of a day.
Tea: 8-10 ounces boiling water, 1 teaspoon of dried or 2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger. Add boiling water to ginger in a cup. Stir and let steep for 5-10 minutes, strain. Add honey or other sweeteners as desired.
Thank you for joining us for Spicy Fridays with Lynn Quire: Ginger. Next week: Making candied ginger with local honey
Disclosure: I am not a doctor and all information found here is for educational purposes only. All bodies are different and these suggestions may not work for all. It is up to you to work with your healthcare professional to find the right options for you.