Ginger has been used for years to soothe gastrointestinal discomfort, including motion sickness, cold sweats, dizziness and vomiting. Effects are also seen in pregnant women. Antioxidant compounds (gingerols) suppress free radicals and reduce inflammation, thereby relieving pain. They may help protect the lipids in cell membranes from becoming damaged, preventing the loss of the important, internally produced antioxidant glutathione. High antioxidant activity supports cardiovascular health. Compounds in ginger help perspiration, a good way to detoxify during colds and other illness. Sweat has antimicrobial properties, helping protect against skin-borne infections.
Vitamin and Mineral Content
Vitamins – B6 (Pyridoxine)
Minerals – Potassium, Magnesium, Copper and Manganese
Consuming ginger regularly reduces inflammation and pain of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Gingerols may also help prevent different cancers from forming. In animal studies, gingerols have inhibited the growth of rectal and ovarian cancer cell lines or induced apoptosis (cell suicide).
How to Grow
Ginger only sprouts when at temperatures of 75-80°F. These plants like sun, but will grow indoors if exposed to some sun. Great for container growing and does fine outdoors in a warm climate. Buy a plump ginger root with many buds from a trusted quality market. Soak overnight in warm water. For container growing, use those at least 1 foot deep full of highly fertile soil. Plant ginger roots just under the surface (2 inches deep) evenly spaced, with buds facing upward. Keep plant indoors in warmest, sunniest spot until it emerges above soil. Afterward, seasonally move container indoors and outdoors to keep plant in 75˚F air. Keep sheltered from higher winds. Keep soil moist, but let it dry a bit between waterings. In warmer climates, plant roots any time. Amend soil with plenty of well-aged compost or planting mix. Ginger needs nutrient-rich soil with great drainage. Choose warm, sunny, sheltered spot. Soak fresh ginger roots the same way and plant out in spring when temperatures exceed 75˚F. Ginger roots take a year or less to reach 2.5-4 feet tall. Harvest newer, younger sprouts in front of originals. Some can be used, frozen and/or replanted.
Relatively insect and disease free. Some varieties bothered by spider mites or aphids. Usually you can shower and handpick to remove. If infestation is heavy, rinse off plant and use insecticidal soap. Planting French marigolds attracts aphid predators. Recommended, especially if growing other green-leafed vegetables nearby.
If the temperatures drop more than usual, cover them with either a row cover or plastic sheet to hold in some heat. The young stems are good for harvest at any point as they will hold a nice soft texture. Make sure the plant is indoors during cool weather (below 40 ˚F.) as it does not do well, and you will probably lose it if left outside then.