The best variety of ginger is reputed to come from the Caribbean. Jamaicans will claim theirs is superior. A Grenadian will surely dispute that opinion. What is certain is that this herb with ‘zing’ can usually be found in Caribbean homes, where its uses range from food condiment to a cure-all for ailments.
Ginger is thought to be native to India, the country with the second largest exports. The Greeks and Romans brought it to Europe, via Arab traders. It is thought that the Spaniards introduced it to Jamaica in the 16th century.
Scientifically, ginger is the root of the Zingiber officinale plant. After planting, green stalks emerge above ground and grow to about 2 feet high with a white or yellow bloom. Backyard garden enthusiasts can grow their own supply, especially if they buy a ‘hand’ with ‘fingers’ which are not stringy or fibrous.
Some doctors believe that ginger can help to soothe the nauseating effects of anesthetics, though before surgery, other doctors caution against taking ginger because of its blood thinning properties. Persons experiencing inflammation and pain can benefit from using ginger. Motion sickness can also be alleviated by chewing small pieces of ginger. “Want some ginger tea?” is a common response to digestive complaints.
Culinary-wise, season fish with grated ginger or add it to cookies. However, you use it, enjoy the ‘zing’ ginger adds to your dishes. Your body will thank you!
By: Michelle L. McDonald
Michelle L. McDonald has been writing since her teenage years, when she started posting entries in her diary. Since then, she has developed this hobby into becoming a Features writer and Blogger. Her work has been published in the Jamaica Gleaner, SHE Caribbean and on www.caribbeancricket.com profiling International cricketers and writing “off the field” features from the Caribbean and the United Kingdom. On www.yamfoot.net Michelle posts candid stories about living in the Caribbean.