The ginger plant is a creeping perennial with thick, tuberous underground stems and an ability to grow up to one metre in height. Cultivated mainly in tropical countries, Jamaican ginger (which is paler) is regarded as the best variety for culinary use. According to Chinese tradition, dried ginger tends to be hotter than fresh.
Native to southeastern Asia, India and China, ginger has been an integral component of the diet and valued for its aromatic, culinary and medicinal properties for thousands of years. The Romans first imported ginger from China and by the middle of the 16th century, Europe was receiving more than 2000 tonnes per year from the East Indies. The top commercial producers of ginger now include Jamaica, India, Fiji, Indonesia and Australia.
available in many formats
Whole fresh roots. These provide the freshest taste.
Powdered ginger. This is ground made from the dried root
Preserved or ‘stem’ ginger. Fresh young roots are peeled, sliced and cooked in heavy sugar syrup.
Crystallised ginger. This is also cooked in sugar syrup, air dried and rolled in sugar.
Pickled ginger. The root is sliced paper thin and pickled in vinegar. This pickle, known in Japan as gari, often accompanies sushi to refresh the palate between courses.
Ginger contains substances known as gingerols that quash inflammation and turn off pain-causing compounds in the body. The anti-inflammatory benefits can also help soothe red, irritated skin. A promising study in rats also found that eating a combination of curcumin and ginger helped skin improve its appearance and function and helped it heal faster.
it fights cancer and signs of ageing
Ginger is also packed with antioxidants that help protect the body from cancer, particularly ovarian cancer. Antioxidants also protect the skin from free-radical damage that affects collagen production, helping you look younger.
it cures nausea and bloating
A cup of ginger tea could help your stomach empty faster so food doesn’t just sit there after an indulgent meal. It’ll help calm your stomach and stave off bloating and gas. In general, ginger is also a research-backed remedy for nausea, whether you’re on a bumpy road trip, recovering from chemotherapy, or cursing pregnancy’s morning-sickness symptoms.