Ginger is a commonly known and consumed condiment in the world.In nigeria, it is readily sold and patronised in different forms (powdered, fresh or dried) for its strong flavor and medicinal properties. It is the rhizome of the ginger plant (usually irregular in shape, or branched like a palm) that is consumed. It is known by these names.
- Botanical name: Zingiber officinale (Family: Zingiberaceae)
- Yoruba name:ata ile
- Igbo name: jinja
- Hausa name:chitta
- Common name: ginger
It can be found in Africa, Jamaica, South India (Cochin), Japan and other parts of Asia. Ginger is a warm climate plant, growing best between temperatures of 24°C – 30°C in loamy soil with minimum yearly rainfall of about 1500mm. It can also be grown indoors in cool/temperate areas with intense care but It should be noted that it cannot survive frost, and temperatures below 10°C stunts its growth.
Ginger is propagated by planting the rootstock cuttings. This cutting is called a Sett. The Sett is a part of the rhizome that has a viable bud. Harvesting is done simply after about 6 – 9 months by lifting the rhizomes from the soil, and cleansing them. it could be collected as fresh harvest or dried in the sun.
Ginger is grown and consumed for these popularly known health benefits:
- It can reduce vomiting and nausea thereby acting as an antiemetic.
- It is used in the treatment of stomach disorders like constipation and indigestion.
- It is known to reduce exercise-induced pain.
- It acts as an antioxidant and counteracts inflammation in the joints.
- It improves brain activity and delays aging.
- Its antibacterial activity is indicated in the management of oral infections.
The ginger plant can also be raised for its aesthetics as it produces beautiful flowers and long leaves that can be easily mistaken for the Cana lily plant. It can be grown outdoors under partial shade, by walkways and around swimming pools.
To get the most out of ginger, don’t just keep it on the kitchen tray, blend fresh rhizomes into smoothie recipes and into tomato puree, add powdered ginger to stews and batter, drop fresh rhizomes into oil while frying, or boil in water to make tea. If you find any growing a bud, stick it into a pot filled with good soil, water it and grow your own supply.