The Jamaica ginger is considered the best, although some ginger is now being cultivated in Florida. This is not to be confused with the wild ginger (Asarum Canadense), also known as the Canada snakeroot.
A native of India, it is one of the most ancient of spices. It was brought to the New World by the Spaniards early in the 16th century. The unpeeled are sold as black or green ginger, and the peeled is sold as the white or Jamaica ginger. American supply usually comes from Jamaica.
The ROOT is the portion in which the medicinal virtues reside. This is dug up when 1 yr. old.
The odor is aromatic and penetrating, the taste is spicy, pungent, hot, and biting. These properties gradually diminish as the root is exposed. Their virtues are extracted by water and alcohol.
In cooking and for teas, the powdered form of ginger is most used. Gingerbread, gingersnaps, ginger ale, wine, and tea are probably the most popular, and surely pumpkin pie would never be the same without it. Crystalized ginger (young and tender roots boiled in syrup) is considered a fine confection. This is occasionally imported from the East and West Indies.
It is often taken for dyspepsia, flatulent colic, and in the feeble state of the alimentary canal attendant upon atonic gout. Added to bitter infusions and tonic powders, ginger warms the stomach.
It is an excellent remedy in typhoid and other fevers and all the eruptive diseases, especially with fever, and in bronchitis, pneumonia, and angina.
It us useful in flatulence, internal congestions, spasms, recent colds, chills, dysentery, and diarrhea, and helps a sluggish circulation. Dose of 10 to 20 gr. in warm water, sweetened.
To relieve congested menstrual flow, drink hot 1 t. of the powder in 1 C. boiling water, sweeten, cover, allow to stand a few minutes.
Chewing a little ginger root will stimulate the salivary gland producing a copious flow of saliva. This is useful in paralysis of the tongue and fauces, relaxation of the uvula, sore throat, flatulence, and colic, and helpful in hemorrhage of the lungs.
Used with cathartics, it will prevent nausea and griping.
Ginger is much more diffusive than capsicum and can be used as a substitute.
If a mild laxative is desired, the following will be useful; place about 20 senna leaves in a cup, 1/4 t. powdered ginger, a slice of lemon, and 1 t. sugar. Pour on 1/2 C. boiling water, cover, and allow to stand until it can be drunk conveniently. Take all in one dose, the liquid only. This, taken warm, is a very pleasant drink, and no griping will result.
An excellent cordial for chills and colds is made by adding ginger to whiskey according to taste. Let stand 2 weeks, strain.
1 part ginger and 4 parts pleurisy root forms an excellent diaphoretic.
With lobelia, ginger increases its anti-spasmodic power.
The tincture may be used for all the same purposes; dose 5 to 20 min.
The infusion may be prepared by adding 1/2 oz. of powdered or bruised root to 1 pt. boiling water and taken in doses of 1 or 2 fl. oz.