Ginger

Ginger is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale, consumed as a delicacymedicine, or spice. It lends its name to its genus and family (Zingiberaceae). Other notable members of this plant family are turmericcardamom, and galangal.

Ginger cultivation began in South Asia and has since spread to East Africa and the Caribbean.[2] It is sometimes called root ginger to distinguish it from other things that share the name ginger.

Culinary use

Fresh ginger rhizome.

Young ginger rhizomes are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste. They are often pickled in vinegar or sherry as a snack or just cooked as an ingredient in many dishes. They can also be steeped in boiling water to make ginger tea, to which honey is often added; sliced orange or lemon fruit may also be added. Ginger can also be made into candy.

Mature ginger roots are fibrous and nearly dry. The juice from old ginger roots is extremely potent [11] and is often used as a spice in Indian recipes, and is a quintessential ingredient of ChineseJapanese and many South Asian cuisines for flavoring dishes such as seafood or goat meat and vegetarian cuisine.

Ginger acts as a useful food preservative.[12]

Fresh ginger can be substituted for ground ginger at a ratio of 6 to 1, although the flavors of fresh and dried ginger are somewhat different. Powdered dry ginger root is typically used as a flavoring for recipes such as gingerbreadcookiescrackers and cakesginger ale, and ginger beer.

Candied ginger is the root cooked in sugar until soft, and is a type of confectionery.

Fresh ginger may be peeled before eating. For longer-term storage, the ginger can be placed in a plastic bag and refrigerated or frozen.

Regional use

In Western cuisine, ginger is traditionally used mainly in sweet foods such as ginger ale, gingerbreadginger snapsparkinginger biscuits and speculaas. A ginger-flavored liqueur called Canton is produced in JarnacFrance. Green ginger wine is a ginger-flavored wine produced in the United Kingdom, traditionally sold in a green glass bottle. Ginger is also used as a spice added to hot coffee and tea.

India and Pakistan, ginger is called adrak in HindiPunjabi and Urduaad in Maithiliaadi in Bhojpuriaada in BengaliAdu in Gujaratihashi shunti in the Kannadaallam (అల్లం) in Teluguinji (இஞ்சி) in Tamil and Malayalaminguru (ඉඟුරු) in Sinhalesealay in Marathi, and aduwa(अदुवा ) in Nepali. Fresh ginger is one of the main spices used for making pulse and lentil curries and other vegetable preparations. Fresh, as well as dried, ginger is used to spice tea and coffee, especially in winter. Ginger powder is also used in certain food preparations, particularly for pregnant or nursing women, the most popular one being katlu which is a mixture of gum resin, ghee, nuts, and sugar. Ginger is also consumed in candied and pickled form. In Bangladesh, ginger is finely chopped or ground into a paste to use as a base for chicken and meat dishes alongside shallot and garlic.

In Burma, ginger is called gyin. It is widely used in cooking and as a main ingredient in traditional medicines. It is also consumed as a salad dish called gyin-thot, which consists of shredded ginger preserved in oil, and a variety of nuts and seeds. In Indonesia, a beverage called wedang jahe is made from ginger and palm sugar. Indonesians also use ground ginger root, called jahe, as a common ingredient in local recipes. In Malaysia, ginger is call halia use in many kind of dishes especially a soup. In the Philippines it is brewed into a tea called salabat. In Vietnam, the fresh leaves, finely chopped, can also be added to shrimp-and-yam soup (canh khoai mỡ) as a top garnish and spice to add a much subtler flavor of ginger than the chopped root.

Two varieties of ginger as sold in Haikou, Hainan, China

In China, sliced or whole ginger root is often paired with savory dishes such as fish, and chopped ginger root is commonly paired with meat, when it is cooked. However, candied ginger is sometimes a component of Chinese candy boxes, and a herbal tea can also be prepared from ginger.

In Japan, ginger is pickled to make beni shoga and gari or grated and used raw on tofu or noodles. It is also made into a candy called shoga no satozuke. In the traditional Korean kimchi, ginger is finely minced and added to the ingredients of the spicy paste just before the fermenting process.

In the Caribbean, ginger is a popular spice for cooking, and making drinks such as sorrel, a seasonal drink made during the Christmas season. Jamaicansmake ginger beer both as a carbonated beverage and also fresh in their homes. Ginger tea is often made from fresh ginger, as well as the famous regional specialty Jamaican ginger cake.

On the island of CorfuGreece, a traditional drink called τσιτσιμπύρα (tsitsibira), a type of ginger beer, is made. The people of Corfu and the rest of the Ionian islands adopted the drink from the British, during the period of the United States of the Ionian Islands.

In Arabic, ginger is called zanjabil, and in some parts of the Middle East, ginger powder is used as a spice for coffee and for milk, as well. In Somaliland, ginger is called sinjibil, and is served in coffee shops in Egypt. In the Ivory Coast, ginger is ground and mixed with orange, pineapple and lemon to produce a juice called nyamanku. Ginger powder is used in hawaij, a spice mixture used mostly by Yemenite Jews for soups and coffee.

Pseudoscientific uses and preliminary research

The traditional medical form of ginger historically was called Jamaica ginger; it was classified as a stimulant and carminative and used frequently for dyspepsiagastroparesis, slow motility symptoms,constipation, and colic. It was also frequently employed to disguise the taste of medicines. Ginger is on the FDA‘s “generally recognized as safe” list, though it does interact with some medications, including warfarin. Ginger is contraindicated in people suffering from gallstones as it promotes the production of bile.[13] Ginger may also decrease pain from arthritis, though studies have been inconsistent, and may have blood thinning and cholesterol lowering properties that may make it useful for treating heart disease.[14]

An acute overdose of ginger is usually in excess of about 2 grams of ginger per kilogram of body mass,[15] dependent on level of ginger tolerance, and can result in a state of central nervous system over-stimulation called ginger intoxication or colloquially the “ginger gitters”.

Preliminary research indicates that nine compounds found in ginger may bind to human serotonin receptors, possibly helping to affect anxiety.[16]

Advanced glycation end-products are possibly associated in the development of several pathophysiologies, including diabetic cataract for which ginger was effective in preliminary studies, apparently by acting through antiglycating mechanisms.[17][18][19]

Diarrhea

Ginger compounds are active against a form of diarrhea which is the leading cause of infant death in developing countriesZingerone is likely to be the active constituent against enterotoxigenicEscherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin-induced diarrhea.[20]

Nausea

Ginger has been found effective in multiple studies for treating nausea caused by seasicknessmorning sickness and chemotherapy,[21] though ginger was not found superior over a placebo for pre-emptively treating post-operative nausea. Ginger is a safe remedy for nausea relief during pregnancy.[5] Ginger as a remedy for motion sickness is still a debated issue. The television programMythbusters performed an experiment using one of their staff who suffered from severe motion sickness. The staff member was placed in a moving device which, without treatment, produced severe nausea. Multiple treatments were administered. None, with the exception of the ginger and the two most common drugs, were successful. The staff member preferred the ginger due to lack of side effects. Several studies over the last 20 years were inconclusive with some studies in favor of the herb and some not.[22][23] A common thread in these studies is the lack of sufficient participants to yield statistical significance. Another issue is the lack of a known chemical pathway for the supposed relief.

Folk medicine

Tea brewed from ginger is common folk remedy for colds. Ginger ale and ginger beer are also drunk as stomach settlers in countries where the beverages are made. Ginger water was also used to avoid heat cramps in the United States.

In China, “ginger eggs” (scrambled eggs with finely diced ginger root) is a common home remedy for coughing.[citation needed] The Chinese also make a kind of dried ginger candy that is fermented in plum juice and sugared, which is also commonly consumed to suppress coughing. Ginger has also been historically used to treat inflammation, which several scientific studies support, though one arthritis trial showed ginger to be no better than a placebo or ibuprofen for treatment of osteoarthritis.[14]

Regional medicinal use
A packet of ginger powder from thePhilippines used in brewing “salabat“.

 

{Information courtesy Wikipedia}