Ginger - A Spice that Adds More Than Just Taste
~ November 2009 No.229 ~
It is commonly believed that spices were added to foods before refrigeration and other forms of preservation became common, as a way of masking the taste of foods that had started to spoil
Ginger [Zingiber officinale Roscoe (Zingiberaceae)] is well known in many tropical countries, both for its taste enhancing properties and also as a traditional medicine. It is the ginger tuber that is used by cooks around the world to add that distinctive taste to food.
Ginger is a low-growing tropical plant which is easily grown indoors. A small piece of a mature ginger root can be used to start a new plant. Once it is placed in a pot with good potting soil, the pot should be kept warm and constantly moist during the growing season, since ginger naturally often grows in wet, almost marshy, conditions.
Traditionally ginger has been used to help relieve digestive upset/disturbances including lack of appetite, nausea, digestive spasms, indigestion, dyspepsia and flatulent colic (carminative) as well as an expectorant and anti-tussive to help relieve bronchitis as well as coughs and colds.
Ginger contains several nonvolatile pungent principles namely gingerols, shogaols, paradols and zingerone, which contribute to its taste and which account for many of its reported beneficial health effects. Studies conducted in cultured cells as well as in experimental animals revealed that these pungent phenolics found in ginger possess anticarcinogenic properties.
So, some spices not only make your food taste good, they also are good for your health.
Chemical Structure of Gingerol
Ginger-Derived Phenolic Substances with Cancer Preventive and Therapeutic Potential