Ginger has been around so long that it is unclear of the exact origin. It was grown in China and India and was found in the European countries over two thousand years ago. The Romans have records of Ginger in their tax accounts. There are references to Ginger in "Physicians of Myddvai," a collection of recipes and prescriptions written by a physician, Rhiwallon, and his three sons, by mandate of Rhys Gryg, prince of South Wales (who died in 1233).”
By the 13th century it had become popular as a spice in cooking in Europe and other areas of the Western cultures. The root is used to aid in digestion and as a mild stomach stimulant. The herb is also used to help stop vomiting. Ginger tea has been tested and found to limit the secretions of gastric acids. Ginger has also been found to be useful as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory.
“The Japanese use ginger as an antidote for fish poisoning, especially with sushi. Ginger is thought to fight harmful intestinal bacteria (like E. coli, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus) without killing beneficial bacteria. Ginger aids Lactobacillus growth in the intestines while killing the Schistosoma and Anisakis parasites.”
Ginger has also been found to help to reduce cholesterol and Ginger tea works well to stop or reduce coughing.
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The ginger plant is not found in the wild, and therefore it is difficult to determine the place of its origin. However it is very clear that Ginger was used in India for cooking and medical purposes more than 2500 years back. Ginger is an important ingredient in many medical preparations as per the old Indian system of medicine called Ayurveda. These preparation have been documented in different texts of Ayurveda some of which are more than 2000 years old. Mention of Ginger is also found in Mahabharata, written much before birth of Gautama Buddha about 2500 years back.
Ginger was exported to Roman empire nearly 2000 years back where it was uses as ingredient for medicines. Ginger along with black pepper was the most commonly exported spice from India in thirteenth and fourteenth century.
Ginger spread to other parts of world from India. In fifth century AD, or even earlier, potted ginger plants were carried in ships operating on routes in Indian Ocean and South China Sea, and is now grown in many countries along that route. In sixteenth century ginger was also taken to Africa and Caribbean and is widely cultivated there.
Ginger is used widely in India as an ingredient for food, home remedies, and for making ayurvedic medicines.