Tongue-tingling and pungent, ginger’s (Zingiber officinale) culinary and medicinal uses are detailed extensively in early traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda as well as ancient Roman, Greek, and Arabic traditions. It warms up a sluggish digestive system, and is popular carminative and anti-nauseant. As an antimicrobial, ginger provides a range of application for infections (colds, flus and those of the gastrointestinal tract) and helps balance gut bacteria and kills parasites. As a diaphoretic, ginger helps break a fever by causing you to sweat. Ginger also decreases inflammation, boosts detoxication, reduces blood sugar, improves insulin sensitivity, increases circulation and is an analgesic that eases the painful symptoms of a range of ailments associated with tense muscles: arthritis, muscle cramps and even migraine-type headaches. Ginger is one of the most powerful yet underrated adaptogens.
Closely related to ginger is turmeric, which is not as not; and galangal, which is more floral.
Consider fresh ginger in all sorts of food preparations: teas, juice, spice pastes, ginger-infused honey, pickled ginger, and fermented ginger bug or fire cider.
There are many ginger species; the best quality ginger is said to come from Bentong in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, where the soil and climate are conducive for producing the most spicy and aromatic roots. Endemic to Japan is the Myoga Ginger, which is unique because only the stems and buds of Myoga are eaten, usually thinly sliced or pickled. Myoga is not hot like regular ginger and its fragrance is more floral like galangal. Similar to Myoga, Torch Ginger Flowers (bunga kantan) are used in the local cuisines of Malaysa, such as kerabu, ulam, assam curries and laksa. In Indian cuisine, Mango Ginger (Curcuma amada) looks deceptively like ginger but is it is more closely related to turmeric, sometimes called White Turmeric. Not quite as sharp-tasting as ginger, it has a delightful hint of raw mango. It is also not as fibrous, nor as ‘claw-like’ in appearance as regular ginger. In general, young ginger is more tender, juicy, milder and less fibrous than old ginger. Depending on the preferred potency, use accordingly.« Back to Glossary Index