The word ginger comes from an ancient Sanskrit word, singabera, meaning "horn-shaped". This fragrant rhizome (Zingiber officinale) was widely used by the ancient Romans and it was a very expensive spice; one pound of ginger was equivalent to the price of a whole sheep. Ginger almost became lost in history after the fall of the Roman empire, but became popular again when Europe re-discovered it. Ginger has influenced the history of man since ancient China. Wars were waged and entire dynasties rose and fell with the objective of seizing it. The trade of such spices were the root of the world's economy for centuries.
Because ginger is not found in the wild, its exact origins are uncertain. It is likely to have originated from India, as ginger plants there show the most biological variability. Potted ginger plants were carried on local vessels travelling the maritime trade routes of the Indian Ocean and South China Sea in the 5th century AD and probably before. The plants would have rapidly spread to many other countries along the way.
In the 16th century ginger was introduced to Africa and the Caribbean. It is now cultivated throughout the humid tropics.
A Wealth of Health Benefits
- anti-clotting agent
- circulatory stimulant
- increases blood flow
- promotes sweating
- relaxes peripheral blood vessels
Triple Ginger Cookies (for the true ginger fiend)