Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Herbs and Spices - Ginger

Part two of Christmas herbs and spices is about ginger. The botanical name for ginger is Zingiber Officinale.

Ginger is a favorite of mine. It's spicy aroma and pungent taste brings back childhood memories, making pies and cookies with my mother, and
I'm sure many of you have had fun making gingerbread houses.

Ginger is a native plant to Asia, but it is now grown throughout the tropics and America. This exotic plant can grow to 3 or 4 feet high and produces beautiful white, yellow, and purple flowers. But the spice as we know it comes from the brown root, also called a rhizome.

Ginger was a highly sought after prize and traded between Europe and Asia for hundreds of years. This was probably because the rhizome is in the shape of the human digestive tract. Early doctors believed this meant it was to be used as a cure for stomach disorders (possibly a divine sign to help us guide our way through medical mysteries?) The Chinese knew this to be true for centuries, and we are just now acknowledging the fact here in the West. I know my mother, and maybe yours too, often gave me ginger ale at the first sign of an upset stomach. It was probably the best part of being sick for me.

So feel free to use ginger in all of your favorite dishes and desserts. Besides the fantastic taste and smell, it's good for you too.

Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs, and also my newest blog:
Happenstance House -- A journal about my Victorian home and all of it's contents.

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