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Ginger 101

Ginger’s warm, pungent and peppery bite is an international hit. Featured in Indian cuisine as spicy masala chai, in Japan as pickled gari (the spicy, pink shavings served alongside sushi) and in Jamaica as a refreshing non-alcoholic beer, the ginger rhizome has successfully made its way around the world. Ginger has also served as a staple in both Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine, traditional practices that are thousands of years old. We source some of our favorite spicy ginger from India to make our Ginger Aid® tea, and some of our favorite milder ginger from a Fair Trade Certified co-op in Sri Lanka to make our Ginger tea.

While no one really knows the exact origin of Zingiber officinale, the biological variability of related species in Southeast Asia makes that region the best guess. Ginger loves heat and humidity, which is why it flourishes in subtropical or tropical climates like India and Sri Lanka. Growing medicinal ginger also requires dappled sunlight and a location that won’t freeze during the winter. It’s easiest to start from a rhizome that already has a bud, or “eye,” visible. From this eye, green shoots will sprout, eventually reaching about 4 feet in height and blooming with small red and yellow flowers. As long as the soil is kept damp and well fed in these climates, ginger can grow rather easily.

Ginger has played an important role in Indian, Middle Eastern and Asian herbal traditions for ages, and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners have used the rhizome to help with digestion, stomach upset and nausea for more than 2,000 years.* Today, you can access ginger’s herbal power in many forms, whether you use it fresh in your cooking, combine it with honey as a tea, infuse it into vinegars or even use it topically as a poultice. Whether you’ve overindulged after a big meal or are feeling a little green around the gills during a road trip, ginger is an invaluable herbal ally.

Our Ginger Aid tea is our spiciest ginger, complemented by slightly sweet and lemony notes from a blend of blackberry, stevia and lemon myrtle leaves. If you’re more of a ginger purist, we also have a simple Ginger tea that delivers the classic, pleasantly spicy and pungent taste, but slightly milder in flavor than Ginger Aid. We love sipping on these whenever we’re feeling chilly, as ginger is great for circulation and warming the body.*

As one of the world’s most well-known medicinal plants, ginger’s plant power is celebrated for good reasons. Not only is its spicy flavor stimulating the palate and warming to the body, but its herbal benefits make it an essential herb in supporting digestion, helping to keep people well and vibrant for thousands of years. We invite you to incorporate more ginger into your foods and travel plans. It’s a friend you can count on!

Posted in Plants on December 17, 2014