Ginger or Ginger Root: The Spice with the Fiery Taste
Ginger or ginger root has a fiery pungent flavour which is very similar to galangal spice and belongs to the same family, which is the Zingiberaceae family.
Ginger is a native to China and India and is now commonly available worldwide where it is used as medicine (medical form of ginger is commonly called "Jamaican ginger") and in baked products, drinks, fish and shellfish, meats and even in some starches.
Ginger is available in different forms, some of which includes:
- Powdered ginger
- Ginger oil
- Raw ginger root
- Candied ginger - the root cooked, dried and rolled in sugar
- Pickled ginger
Health benefits of ginger:
Ginger tea is commonly used as a natural home remedy for heartburn, colic and upset stomach. The raw ginger root is normally crushed and boiled and sometimes a little sugar or honey is added. Ginger ale and ginger beer can also be used for this purpose.
Gingerols, which are active compounds in ginger is good for the movements in the gastrointestinal tract and therefore reduces or prevents nausea or vomiting.
Colds and Flu
Ginger has antioxidant and antiviral properties and is used for the prevention of colds and flu. Commonly used to make a tea or boiled with lemon juice and sugar.
A study done by the University of Michigan Cancer Centre found out that ginger kills cancer cells, the study was done on ovarian cancer patients.
Galangal originated in Indonesia and very popularly used in Thai food, is known as the fiery spice because of its peppery camphorous ginger like taste. It closely resembles ginger but its skin is more orangy/red than the brown colour of the ginger skin. There are two types, greater galangal scientifically known as "Alpinia galangal" and lesser galangal scientifically known as "Alpinia officinarum".
This spice is quite versatile in food preparation as it is often used in fish and seafood dishes. It is said to be very effective in eliminating fishy smell. Also very commonly used in soups, curries and stews.
Health Benefits of Galangal
- The tea is used for upset stomach, nausea and vomiting
- Like ginger root, it is used for colds and flu.
- The tea is helpful in curing diarrhea.
- It is very helpful with stomach inflammation and ulcers.
- It helps with oxygen supply thus improving circulation.