is probably one of the world’s favorite medicines
and cooking ingredients. A perennial herb native to China
and India, ginger root has been used for centuries in
Asian cooking and for its therapeutic properties. Its
many different varieties are cultivated throughout Asia,
Australia, South America, Jamaica and the U.S. Its delicate
green leaves, resembling baby spinach, can be eaten in
salads, but the roots of the plant, called rhizomes, are
where the benefits of ginger root lie.
Aids in Digestion – Ginger is perhaps the best herb
for digestion. It helps break down proteins to rid the
stomach and intestines of gas. It also aids in the digestion
of fatty foods.
Alleviates High Blood Pressure – Ginger’s
warming quality improves and stimulates circulation and
relaxes the muscles surrounding blood vessels, facilitating
the flow of blood throughout the body.
Treats Nausea and Morning Sickness – Ginger has
been widely shown to prevent as well as treat motion sickness,
relax the stomach and relieve the feeling of nausea.
LDL Cholesterol – Studies demonstrate that ginger
can lower cholesterol levels by reducing cholesterol absorption
in the blood and liver. Its extract can help reduce the
levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body, reducing
the risk of developing heart disease.
possible, choose fresh ginger over the dried form of the
spice since it is not only superior in flavor but contains
higher levels of gingerol as well as ginger’s active
protease (its anti-inflammatory compound). Fresh ginger
root is sold in the produce section of markets. When purchasing
fresh ginger root, look for a root with a firm, smooth
skin, free of mold and as few twists and joints as possible.
If it is wrinkled, it is drying out and will be woody
is generally available in two forms, either young or mature.
Mature ginger, the more widely available type, has a tough
skin that requires peeling while young ginger, usually
only available in Asian markets, does not need to be peeled.
To remove the skin from fresh mature ginger, peel with
a paring knife. The ginger can then be sliced, minced
or julienne. The taste that ginger imparts to a dish depends
upon when it is added during the cooking process. Added
at the beginning, it will lend a subtler effect.
combining the complementary flavors of sweet ginger with
the pungency of garlic not only adds a wonderful taste,
their anti-viral qualities are an excellent cure for colds
as a tea, it induces sweating, which helps fevers run
their course. It also tones and helps boost the immune
system. For a cup of fresh ginger tea, steep about five
or six thin slices of ginger root to hot water. Add lemon
and sweetener if desired. Fresh ginger can be stored in
the refrigerator in an airy container for up to three
weeks if it is left unpeeled. Stored unpeeled in the freezer,
it will keep for up to six months.