Ginger - what kind of plant is it?
Ginger is often used in cooking and folk medicine, and some gardeners even grow it as an ornamental plant, planting it in pots or immediately in the garden. But how remarkable it is, how it looks and whether this flower really is so useful for the human body - read about this in this article.
Description and characteristic
The outwardly mentioned ginger plant is similar to many others, but at the same time it has many individual characteristics, both in appearance and in chemical composition. By the way, it is customary to call ginger both the aerial part of the culture, and its root, which can be found in free sale in dry, crushed or fresh form.
Ginger is a herbaceous, perennial flower belonging to the genus Ginger. Despite the fact that many call it a vegetable, in fact it is not such, and if we consider the plant from a culinary point of view, then it can most likely be called seasoning. Outwardly, this useful crop resembles reeds or corn, because it is characterized by the presence of long high shoots, often reaching two meters in height. The main difference from them is the presence of small scales on the round stem of ginger.
Green leaf plates are lanceolate, simple, with a sharp edge. In length, the sheets reach 15 centimeters, which is also part of the decorativeness of an adult plant. The flowers that appear during the flowering period form spike-shaped inflorescences located on short peduncles 20–25 cm long. The calyx is formed by five sepals with a separate corolla. As soon as the plant stops blooming, the fruits appear on the shoots, represented by a tricuspid box with small black seeds inside.
Important! For the normal formation of seeds inside the capsule, ginger should grow in conditions suitable for it, close to tropical indicators. At high temperature indicators, high air humidity is mandatory, which will ensure good development and productivity of the plant. The ideal soil substrate is light loamy soils.
The underground part is represented by a hard glossy rhizome, golden brown in color, which is formed by palm-shaped rounded pieces located in one plane. The type of root system is fibrous, with horizontally located tuberous rhizomes.
Calorie content and chemical composition
The aerial part of ginger is almost never used by humans, but the root of the plant has a lot of useful properties, which is not surprising if it is better to study its chemical composition. So, 100 g of raw product contains only 80 kcal, while the energy value of the dried and chopped root increases to 335 kcal for a similar amount of plant.
As for the BJ, in the first case, 100 g contains 1.82 g of protein, 0.75 g of fat and 15.77 g of carbohydrates, while similar indicators in the rhizome of dry ginger are distributed as 9: 4.2: 57, 5 g. This feature is definitely worth considering when using the plant for dietary purposes.
The vitamin and mineral composition of ginger is represented by the following important components:
- vitamins: A, C, D, E, H, K, PP, group B (in particular B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, B12);
- amino acids: Omega-3, Omega-6, folic acid;
- mineral compounds: calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, iron, phosphorus.
Together, these components provide high efficiency of the plant for pharmacological and cosmetic purposes, allowing you to eliminate many problems associated with the health of hair, nails and even internal organs
Benefit and harm
- The beneficial properties of ginger are very multifaceted, but the following will be most beneficial from a medical point of view:
- stimulation of the body's natural defenses, which is especially important during viral and colds epidemics;
- normalization of metabolic processes in the human body;
- improved bowel motility;
- cleansing the body of toxins and toxins;
- analgesic effect;
- anti-inflammatory effect;
- bactericidal and antibacterial characteristics;
- warming and tonic effect.
Separately, it is worth noting the positive effect of ginger on the body during its recovery after surgery or prolonged illness, so the plant can be used in maintenance therapy.
As for the possible harm from the use, first of all, it people with an ulcer, gastritis, colitis, arrhythmia and heart failure should be wary. In addition, the use of ginger is contraindicated and who suffers from problems with the liver and gall bladder, and also has a tendency to bleed, increase blood sugar, allergic reactions, skin diseases. In all these cases, the use of ginger (especially irregular) can result in aggravation of existing problems, the manifestation of allergic reactions of the body, sleep disturbance or decreased vision.
Today, wild varieties of ginger are extremely rare in the wild, and almost all known varieties have been bred artificially and are increasingly grown at home. Most often, ginger is cultivated in countries with a tropical and subtropical climate.which primarily include India, China, Indonesia, Australia, Africa, Sri Lanka, Jamaica. I must say that in some of them ginger grows in the wild, but often it is planted purposefully for export to other countries (especially from Asia).
On the territory of the Russian Federation, natural ginger can be grown exclusively in indoor or greenhouse conditions, however, sometimes the plant feels rather well in the open soil of the southern territories of the country. It is better to place flower pots on the windowsills of the southwestern and western windows, and in the warm season on open terraces and loggias, slightly shading plants in the daytime (direct sunlight will burn the leaves of the crop).
It is noteworthy that during the years of the mass spread of plague in European countries, ginger has become one of the main herbs used in the fight against this ailment.
When planting in open soil, it is worth choosing areas protected from the wind, with enough sunlight in the summer. A good option is to plant a flower in light partial shade, with a deep occurrence of groundwater.
In the natural environment of growth, blooming ginger can be seen in the second year after planting, but in greenhouses it begins to bloom no earlier than the third year after planting a seedling. The color of the buds that appear is mostly red, but there may be other options, which depends more on the selected variety.
Did you know? The first description of the ginger plant dates from the 13th century, and it appeared immediately after Javani de Monte visited India in 1292 for a missionary purpose. In the XV century, the plant began to be grown by the Spaniards on European territory, and more specifically on the lands of the Antilles.
As already noted, the useful properties of the described plant are very multifaceted, but it is often used for medicinal and culinary purposes, a little less often in the cosmetic field. Of course, in any of these cases, an individual approach to the use of raw materials is needed, on the basis of which various recipes are developed.
In traditional and traditional medicine
In the treatment of traditional and non-traditional methods ginger is often used for colds, flu, indigestion, poisoning, vomiting and abdominal pain, which are usually treated with teas and infusions using the root of the plant. There are many recipes for making drinks, and other herbs, as well as honey, lemon or any everyday products that improve the spicy taste and aroma of an unusual medicine, can be used as additional ingredients.
Ginger decoctions are also successfully used to eliminate thyroid problems and, according to numerous reviews, are relevant for the prevention of cancer, the accumulation of excessive amounts of cholesterol in the body, and even to increase male potency.The main thing for any use of herbs is to consult with your doctor in advance and choose the optimal dosage of the prepared medicinal drug with it.
Important! Before prescribing any medications, it is very important to undergo a comprehensive examination of the body, with all the tests and a mandatory study of the digestive tract.
When using ginger for cosmetic purposes, the most important components will be phosphorus and zinc, which perfectly restore damaged hair, strengthen tooth enamel and nails. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that gives the skin of the face and hands better elasticity, removes fine wrinkles and improves the overall appearance of the skin.
One of the most effective ways to use the plant will be the use of baths based on a decoction of ginger root, although the gruel made from it with the addition of various essential oils is no less effective. By the way, a similar mixture can also be used in the fight against subcutaneous cellulite by rubbing, although infusions are more often used to reduce weight (they help burn calories, breaking down fat deposits).
Brown-gray ginger root is used for culinary purposes both in fresh and dried, candied or even pickled form, although the powder form was and remains the most common form. Powder is much easier to add to broths, salads, vegetable and mushroom dishes, as well as to legumes and cheese. Often it is sold as part of universal spices, such as hazel, which is great for pickling fruits and berries, making fragrant desserts and alcoholic beverages.
Important! On the shelves of modern stores you can find white and black ginger roots, but this does not mean that you have different varieties or varieties of plants, just in the first case, the raw materials were thoroughly washed and cleaned of the upper skin before drying, which can not be said about the dark version, taste which are somewhat inferior.
In the historical homeland of ginger, in India, there are four main varieties of flour from this plant, which are suitable for making sweet and unsweetened dough. In addition, candied ginger root is popular in Asian countries, and sometimes it is even coated with chocolate.
In European cuisine, ginger cake and ice cream from the root of the described plant are well-known, it often becomes the main ingredient in sweet and healthy jam. The Japanese, by contrast, use the spice of ginger and serve the pickled root for rolls and sushi, in addition to the famous wasabi sauce.
No matter how ginger is used in cooking, in order to maximize the disclosure of its taste, when preparing individual dishes, you should adhere to the general rules for the use of spices:
- Root powder is best added to sauces and soups, while whole parts are more combined with meat dishes.
- Adding ginger to the goodness of meat and fish is carried out 15 minutes before the dish is ready, put in sauces at the end of their preparation, and in sweet drinks - 2 minutes before removing from heat.
- According to the generally accepted dosage, no more than 1 teaspoon of ginger powder is required per 1 kg of meat, but no more than 1 g should be consumed for the same amount of dough. One portion of the dessert involves the use of 0.2 g of exotic spices.
- It is best to pickle the young ginger root, and so that it acquires a well-known pink color, beetroot juice is added to the marinade.
- To clean the rhizome of a plant, a knife or a tablespoon is used, which are used in the same way as when cleaning carrots. Thin slicing is usually done using a vegetable slicer.
Did you know? The first name of ginger is “horned root”, and it appeared more than 5000 years ago.In the future, the plant received more and more “names”, sometimes even romantic ones like the “root of life”, “samurai sword” or “golden warrior”.
And finally, do not be afraid to experiment, because all the popular dishes appeared in this way. Try adding a small amount of ginger to your favorite soups and salads in order to soon determine the best solution for yourself.
- Some possible contraindications to the use of ginger spice have already been mentioned, but in fact this list is much wider and primarily includes the following diseases and especially the state of the human body:
- cirrhosis of the liver;
- gastric ulcer and gastritis;
- hemorrhoids complicated by frequent bleeding, or a tendency to nosebleeds;
- high blood pressure and coronary heart disease;
- allergic skin rashes and any other manifestations of allergies;
- burns (regardless of degree);
- preparation of the body for the upcoming surgical intervention;
- period of pregnancy and lactation in women;
- hypersensitivity of the skin.
In addition, even a healthy person is not recommended to consume more than 4 g of dry ginger powder per day, since otherwise the likelihood of adverse reactions, for example, in the form of visual impairment or sleep disorders, cannot be ruled out.
Is it possible and how to grow ginger at home
Despite its exotic origin, ginger grows well in home and greenhouse conditions, however, for this it is worth observing some simple rules for planting and further care of the plant. Planting of the root is carried out in winter using only loose and nutritious substrateso that the available soil meets all the requirements of air and moisture permeability, sieved river sand or fine gravel is added to it, bringing its amount to one third of the entire mixture.
A pot for culture may be the most common, but always wide and with drainage holes at the bottom. Before you pour soil into it, take care of the appropriate drainage layer, the role of which is perfect for broken brick or pieces of ceramics. After this, you can fill up the soil itself, finally shedding it with a weak solution of potassium permanganate.
As for preplant treatment of the rhizome, it will be enough to soak it in clean warm waterthat will contribute to the awakening of sleeping kidneys. The residence time in the liquid is at least 2-3 hours, after which the planting material can be planted in prepared containers, laying horizontally, to a depth of two centimeters. In the case when the root was cut, the place of the cut must be dried, sprinkled with wood ash, treated with charcoal or a weak solution of potassium permanganate.
Video: Planting Ginger
For the rapid growth of a planted plant, a pot with it is better to place it in a bright room, with an air temperature of at least + 15 ° C and at a relative humidity in the range of 70–80%. To maintain such high rates will help regular spraying of the aboveground part with warm water from the spray gun, and it is possible to use this method both before emergence of shoots, and throughout all further leaving. As soon as the first true leaves appear on plants (on average, this happens after 3-4 weeks), the containers should be transferred to a less illuminated window sill, where they will not suffer from direct ultraviolet radiation.
Caring for flowering ginger at home consists of several basic actions:
- Glaze, which should be performed only when the upper soil layer dries, without stagnation of moisture in the root system. In the autumn period, the amount of moisture needed to be reduced, allowing ginger to prepare for winter.
- Spraying can be performed with high dry air in the room so that a halo of humidity forms. This procedure will be especially relevant in the dry period, and the water used must necessarily be moderately warm (cold liquid can provoke the development of diseases).
- Fertilizer plants necessary for the formation of powerful peduncles, therefore, during the growing season for feeding twice a month it is worth using complex mineral compositions with the obligatory presence of superphosphate and potassium salt.
- Best place to wintering planted ginger - the basement, where it is transferred immediately after the stem and leaves dry out a bit, preparing for the winter season. With the arrival of spring heat, it is useful to transplant the culture to a new place of growth, changing the soil and picking up a larger pot. Flowering of young ginger in such conditions will begin by about 3 years of cultivation and will continue for several weeks. If this does not happen, it is worth reviewing all your actions to care for him.
The decorative qualities of ginger are no worse than its useful properties, which is easy to see by simply looking at the photo of a flowering plant. This is another good reason for planting a flower at home or in open soil on its territory, especially since caring for it does not differ in increased complexity.