Ginger received its botanical name of Zingiber officinale from an English botanist (William Roscoe) in 1807. The word Zingiber is taken from a word in Sanskrit meaning horn-shaped. This plant is a member of the Ginger family, a group of tropical plants originally found in Southeast Asia. Today’s major producers of Ginger include India, Fiji, China, Sierra Leone, Jamaica, and Nigeria. However, Ginger is cultivated in many other countries located in tropical and subtropical climates. Depending on its use and the locale in which it is obtained from, Ginger is also known by the names Cooking Ginger, Canton Ginger, Jake Root, African Ginger, Jamaica Ginger, and Common Ginger.
Growing approximately one to three feet in height, the Ginger plant is a perennial variety that features thick scaly rhizomes or underground stems. The roots are thick and protruding in nature, resembling thumbs. Therefore, when divided into sections, these individual portions of the roots are referred to as hands. Ginger is made from the rhizomes or roots of the plant.
One type of Wild Ginger produces a spike-like growth of yellow flowers with purplish edges surrounded by green-yellow foliage. The truth is that a variety of flowers are produced by different members of the Ginger family, including white and red. Ginger flowers are symbolic of strength, love, money, power, and success. White flower varieties of Ginger plants symbolize love, whereas red flowers symbolize fiery passion and strength.
Ginger has been used for medicinal, culinary, and beauty purposes for many centuries. Many Asian cultures made use of this exotic plant to treat digestive issues as well as to relieve pain and dissipate fever. During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Ginger was used as currency due to its valued worth. Ancient Romans treasured this plant for its medicinal uses. In Hawaii, white Ginger flowers have traditionally been included as decorative accents in leis, as well as being used for both medicinal and culinary purposes.
Used in both fresh and dried forms, Ginger has gained popularity in its use, especially within the United States. A member of the same family that includes Cardamom and Turmeric, Ginger is appreciated for its warm, spicy flavor. It is used to add flavor to sauces, breads, cookies, candy, and other varieties of food. Ginger ale and Ginger tea have been used to relieve the discomfort of stomach maladies for many years.
Ginger’s beneficial capabilities can be imparted directly to the skin through topical application. It is used in aromatherapy to instill an energy boost with its spicy aroma and self-confidence with its yang energy of the Will. Ginger oil is used to invoke vitality and lead to immediate action, circumventing the procrastinator’s desire to sit and let life pass by without interference. A bath laced with essential oil of Ginger is intended to instill all of the above. In Hoodoo Folk Magic, Ginger Root is used to protect an individual from evil or to enhance sexuality and intensify feelings of love. In Ayurvedic medicine, Ginger is used to treat a wide array of medical issues including circulatory, menstrual, and joint problems.
Due to its exotic scent, extracts from the Ginger flower have been incorporated into beauty formulas including soaps, lotions, and fragrances. Since Ginger offers antiseptic capabilities, it is used in acne solutions to kill bacteria and control breakouts.
High in antioxidants, Ginger provides natural protection against free radicals, safeguarding the skin from harm. Antioxidant protection is credited with the avoidance of early aging and damage to the skin. It is also used to minimize the appearance of hyperpigmentation, reduce inflammation, and improve the radiance of the skin by removing dullness. The warming capability of Ginger is thought to improve circulation by energizing the skin. Therefore, it is often included in cellulite-reducing formulas. Popular belief held by some professionals in the beauty industry suggests that Ginger eliminates the toxins that lead to cellulite.
Ginger’s exotic scent promotes a boost in energy as it offers a refreshing sensation not only to the tactile senses, but also to the olfactory senses. It invigorates with an uplifting action as it heightens the senses and stimulates circulation. Individuals with sensitive skin types should exercise caution when using products containing Ginger as it can cause mild irritation.