Sep 22 , 2019
Ginger: The Bacteria Cleanser
Introduced to Jamaica in 1527 by the Spanish colonizers, the Zingiber Officinale Roscoe, more commonly known as ginger is used to make a wide array of items including; drinks, cakes, puddings, sweets and it is also used as a spice in the cooking of curry meats. The topic of what ginger is have been hotly debated and contrary to some popular belief, ginger is actually a rhizome (root) in which the part that is used is grown completely underground. Above the ground is a flowering plant which is discarded when reaped. It is grown in many backyard gardens and has the infamous title of being one of the most dogged plants as it can grow with little to no attention. It is cultivated heavily in the northern part of Jamaica and in particular in the hills of Christiana where it was discovered that the climatic conditions and the soil was suitable for the growing of ginger. This is so as the region has been internationally identified in the 1960’s to have grown the most premium ginger in the world.
The health benefits of the ginger plant is vast as a study published by the Pennington Nutrition Series in 2007 (Volume 6) has shown several potentially fatal illnesses that ginger fights or protects against. These diseases span from coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and bacterial infections. It can be used to treat mild sicknesses such as: morning sickness, arthritic inflammation, healing of frost bites, relieving of gas, clearing of sinuses and it blocks acid from causing heartburn just to name a few. In a study conducted by the College of Parmacy at the Seoul Nation University, South Korea, it was found that ginger had anti-tumor promoting properties as well as it is vital in depressing tumor stimulated inflammation. This plant is also ideal for persons wishing to partake in weight loss programs as it stimulates your body to allow you to feel fuller hence eating less as well as it is a natural fat burner and ensure you’re losing weight from fat and not from losing fluids. The benefits continue as the Indian Journal for Experimental Biology, June 2014 (Volume 52), has put forward the notion that this super plant can act as an alternative treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Ginger is also ideal for couples trying to conceive as it is said to improve sexual desire and promotes fertility. Women will particularly benefit from this plant as it is also a reliever of menstrual cramps.
Despite ginger being commonly regarded as a heat stimulant in Jamaica and the country’s location of being rooted in the sun of the tropical climate, the people of the country still regularly enjoy the ginger tea. The uses of ginger in the Jamaican society is similar to that of its general use in other parts of the world as it is also used as a baking ingredient, a cooking spice, a drink making ingredient as well as the infamous tea making substance. The ginger tea is usually consumed abundantly at particular times of the year when the flu virus is prevalent as it is considered a natural fighter of the influenza virus by locals or during the cold periods when internal warmth is required for maintaining ordinary body functions.
Ginger is not only multifaceted in its use but it is also very dynamic in the way it is prepared and its preparation solely depends on the user. The most popular way of preparing the tea is by crushing the plant and boiling it until most of the nutrients are extracted into the water or to the potency level desired by the user. The plant is also prepared whole through the same boiling method, however this allows less nutrients to be drawn from the plant which is ideal for the drinker who wishes for a milder cup of ginger tea. The plant is also dried and grated to appear similar to dust like particles, in this case hot water is added to the ginger and covered and allow to sit for about 5 minutes before consumed. Ginger is so interesting and unique that some users blend the plant in the desired amount of water and then remove the sediments from the liquid and heat the liquid for a wonderful cup of tea. All ginger teas can be complimented by a splash of lime juice if desired and are all sweetened with cane sugar or honey or taken unsweetened
Given the many uses of ginger there is no one way that stands out as the main way that it is used in Jamaica. What is sure however is that it is less used as a cooking spice but more widely used for tea and drink making. Ginger has been a long standing favorite in the Jamaican kitchen and its several uses will make it ideal for any kitchen. The unique taste of this tea is second to none and it is something that is looked forward to at the breakfast table by family members of all ages.