Botanically it is called as Zingiber officinale, of the family Zingiberaceae. It is a perennial plant widely cultivated in Asia for its aromatic, pungent rhizome (underground stem) used as a spice, flavouring food and medicine. Its use in India and China has been known from ancient times and by the first century A.D. traders had taken ginger to the Mediterranean region. By the 11th century, it was well-known in England. The Spaniards brought it to the West Indies and Mexico soon after their conquest and by 1547 ginger was being exported from Santiago to Spain.
The spice has a pleasant, slightly biting taste and is usually dried and ground to flavour breads, sauces, curry dishes, confections, pickles and ginger ale. The fresh rhizome is used in cooking. The peeled rhizomes may be preserved by boiling in syrup. Medically it is used in fever, cough and cold, influenza, flatulence and colic.
Ginger contains 2% of essential oil, the principle of the spice is zingerone. The oil is distilled from the rhizomes for use in the food and perfume industry. In ancient times, raw ginger was used as a breath sweetener, an aid to digestion, a cure for toothache and bleeding gumsand as a strengthening agent for loose teeth and weak eyes.
Benefit and uses of Ginger.
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