Ginger derives its name form the Sanskrit word Srngavera - meaning, 'horn-shaped'. Known and used since ancient times in India and China, this tuber with many knobby protuberances called 'fingers' and a piquantly delicious taste is today found in many kitchens all over the world. Acknowledged as a digestive aid and a mild stimulant, ginger is reputed to have powerful aphrodisiacal properties as well.
Ginger root is a medicinal herb used primarily for the treatment of Dyspepsia (discomfort after eating), which includes the symptoms of bloating, heartburn, flatulence, and nausea. It is also considered helpful as a preventative for motion sickness and as a digestive aid. In some traditional systems it is credited with the ability to treat arthritis, fevers, headaches, and toothaches. It may have the ability to lower blood cholesterol and aid in preventing internal blood clots. It is often taken to help combat colds, coughs, and the flu.
Naturalized in America after the discovery of that country by the Spaniards. Francisco de Mendosa transplanted it from the East Indies into Spain, where Spanish-Americans cultivated it vigorously, so that in 1547 they exported 22,053 cwt. into Europe. It is now cultivated in great quantities in Jamaica and comes into this country dried and preserved. The root from the West Indies is considered the best. Also imported from Africa, there are several varieties known in commerce.