Ginger is one of my favourite herbs and we are lucky to be able to grow it here in subtropical South East Queensland. It sure loves the wet hot summers more than me!
Ginger is also known by the latin name, Zingiber officinale, and it is related to other species in the Zingiberaceae family including the well known turmeric and galangal.
The juicy roots and rhizomes are used in many cultures both as a medicinal plant and culinary favourite. Ginger adds a distinct, warm and spicy flavour to many different dishes and cuisines. I like growing ginger because you can harvest the young juicy roots which are often hard to find in the grocery store. They are great to throw into vegetable and fruit smoothies to add some warmth and flavour!
Medicinally ginger is excellent for nausea and has been well studied with favourable results in particular for morning sickness and motion sickness. It is also good for other digestive disturbances, including bloating and wind. Some promising research has found that ginger may play a role in decreasing cancer growth.
Ginger is also excellent for improving the circulation and decreasing inflammation. You can add a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger to boiling water to make a tea that is helpful for colds and coughs. I like adding it to chicken broth for an Asian flavour and it is particularly good when feeling sick, along with garlic and a hint of chilli. The dried spice can be used in baking and curries and is one of the important ingredient in ginger bread men and sweet baked goods. Make sure you check out my recipe for grain free ginger biscuits and incorporate this wonderful medicinal herb into your cooking!