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Thursday, 18 December 2014

GINGER PLANT AND ITS MEDICINAL USES

This is the story of my ginger plant grown in a pot in my garden.
One morning while watering my plants in the garden, I noticed a piece of ginger with shoots about five to six inches long lying on the surface of the soil in a flower pot. I was curious how this piece of ginger came to be there. After I have finished watering my plants, I went to ask my hubby about the ginger. He smiled widely and replied that when he saw the ginger with its long shoots in the kitchen, he thought that I might be interested to grow the ginger in my garden. Knowing my love for gardening, he took the ginger and place it in the pot to attract my attention. That showed that I have not been cooking for quite a while as to not notice the ginger shoots had grown to that length.

I went back to the garden, got a wide shallow pot, filled it with garden soil and planted the ginger in the pot, with the rhizome just below the surface of the soil.
Ginger plant grows well in warm, tropical climate. It needs fertile, moist and well-drained soil. Place the ginger plant in a place that gets a few hours of warm sun. It will be ready for harvest after about a few months or more to allow the rhizomes to be fully formed. It can be harvest in part, or harvest fully by removing the whole plant from the pot.

Ginger belongs to the same family as turmeric and galangal. Ginger is an herb and used as a spice, adding flavour to food. The part of the ginger commonly used is the rhizome. Ginger can be used in its fresh, powdered, dried or in juice form.
I did not intend to harvest my ginger as yet but I noticed that the leaves are turning yellow and does not look healthy to me. Could it be due to the rainy season that has over-watered the plant?
When I tried pulling out the ginger by grabbing onto the stems of the leaves, it could not be done, the stems got separated from the rhizomes. Then I used a spade to loosen the soil from the inside of the pot.
It took quite a while to loosen the soil around the rhizomes and the roots. Finally, I managed to remove all the rhizomes from the pot. The rhizomes runs horizontally with its roots growing downwards and its shoots growing upwards. I have read that ginger plant has flowers but it need to grow to about a year to bloom. I have not yet seen my ginger plant produce flower. I think for my next ginger plant, God willing, I will wait and get the chance to see the flower and how it looks like before I harvest the rhizomes.
To remove the soil from the rhizomes, just use a hose and spray away the soil. When the soil has been removed, the rhizomes look so clean and fresh. I cut off the shoot leaving about an inch attached to the rhizomes. I also removed the roots attached to the rhizomes. I left the rhizomes to air dry on my kitchen table, after that I wrapped them with clean newspaper or any clean paper will do. Then I placed them in a clean plastic bag, and keep them in my fridge to keep them fresh.
This is the pot I used to grow my ginger plant. I loosen all the soil in the pot and it is now ready for the next ginger plant.

Rhizome is the part of ginger plant that is commonly eaten. The leaves and shoots are edible too. The leaves and shoots can be used as garnishing. Chop them finely and sprinkle them sparingly over the dish before serving or add in at the end of cooking to flavour the dishes.

Uses of ginger:
  • Good for women in confinement: 
    • Cook ginger in confinement dishes to warm up the body.
    • Women in confinement to bathe with water boiled with smashed old ginger.
  • Warms the body, flushes toxin from the body, strengthen our immune system and ease our nerves, natural anti-inflammatory, pain reliever and anti-bacterial.
  • Helps digestion, treat diarrhea, nausea and stomach ache/discomfort.
  • Used as anti-gas medication (I find this very effective for myself).
  • Helps to rid sugar craving - by drinking ginger tea in the morning or afternoon (I enjoy drinking ginger tea very much).
  • Strengthen digestion, toning the body - by eating ginger or by drinking ginger water.
  • Ginger has many vitamin contents.
  • Used to make ginger biscuits, ginger bread and sweet drink (tong sui).
  • Not to forget this mouth-watering item - used to make pickle.  Eat this pickle with hard boiled eggs, with century egg (pei tan in Cantonese), served as appetizer and as side dish, etc. (oh my, I am salivating....) 
Simple Ginger Tea Recipe for general health benefits:
Slice thinly a thumb-sized ginger or you can grate the ginger and slow boil in 3 to 4 cups of water for about 10 to 15 minutes.  The amount of water depends on individual's preference on the strength of flavour. Less water, the stronger the flavour. Strain the water and drink as warm tea. Keep extra tea in the pot for reheating.  Preferably drink it warm.

If you like, a little honey can be added to your glass of warm tea to give it a sweet taste. High heat may destroy quality of honey. Only add honey when it is warm to retain the quality of the honey.
  • To detox our body: Boil ginger slices or grated ginger with cinnamon stick, if possible break the stick into smaller pieces, slow boil in water to get out the flavour from the cinnamon stick.
  • For cold: To avoid cold or shorten the cold, drink at the slightest indication of a cold symptom.
  • To warm the body.
  • To soothe sore throat or fight against sore throat.
  • To neutralize our body system: Slow boil ginger, clove, cinnamon together.
    • Anti-inflammation
    • It boost our digestive system
  • All ginger drink or tea is good for the general health of our body.
A word of caution: Ginger drink or tea are not to be consumed in large quantities because it has its side-effects.  Those who are having health problem and are on any form of medication are advised to refrain from ginger drink or tea to be on the safe side.  

Praise the LORD, O my soul;

all my inmost being, praise His holy name.

Praise the LORD, O my soul,

and forget not all His benefits - who forgives all your sins

and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit

and crowns you with love and compassion,

who satisfies your desires with good things

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's

(Psalm 103:1-5, NIV)

16 comments:

  1. Seeing yours, I can't wait to harvest mine and make pickled ginger :p

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    Replies
    1. Mouth-watering ginger pickles, slurps....

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  2. I go Ipoh, u bring your plants out lend me see, can? hehe...

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    Replies
    1. Sharon, you are most welcome. Hope you won't be disappointed because my garden is a very humble one.

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  3. I used to make lemon drink & add a piece or two slices of ginger. Hub planted quite a few in the garden too. Pickled ginger goes well with century eggs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We both enjoy our ginger, especially with century eggs.

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  4. Replies
    1. Hot and spicy...good old ginger is the best.

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  5. Do you use ginger much in your cooking? What a nice thing for your husband to do! I know it is so good for nausea, especially the dried form and maybe the tea. We have some ginger tea, OH gosh, I did not know about any side effects!!

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    Replies
    1. I too enjoy drinking ginger tea, so far no side effects

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  6. How wonderful! I have made a cup of fresh ginger tea with a little honey many times and know its superb medicinal properties. Fantastic post, dear Nancy, thank you so much for sharing, and thanks as well for the warnings.

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  7. Nancy, I used to plant ginger in the flower pot too. So how do we get young and old ginger? Is the one harvested earlier the young one and if we leave it longer it becomes old ginger?

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    Replies
    1. That is what I think so, the longer we wait the older it will be. My next ginger plant, God willing, will be able to bloom flowers for me and I will try to harvest later to see whether the ginger will be older or not.

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  8. great post, i want just know, how to make drinking medicinal plants of ginger for treat?

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    Replies
    1. Frankly I am not an expert in medicinal treatment. Normally for my own consumption, I will scrub the ginger skin clean, cut a few thin slices of ginger and steep in hot water and then drink it warm. Sometimes I add a teaspoon of honey to it.

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