Ginger has been used by human civilization for centuries as a medicinal herb, necessary cooking spice, and cash crop. Today it's readily available and widely cultivated. It's even used to flavor one of our most popular CBD beverages: Sparkling CBD Ginger Ale.
Still, with ginger being so popular, it's easy for misinformation to get passed around. And there are a lot of ginger facts that get overlooked. If you're interested in learning more about this important spice, take a look at these 9 facts you may have never known about ginger.
The part of the ginger plant used in cooking and as a flavoring agent in things like our ginger ale CBD sparkling water frequently referred to as ginger root, is actually a rhizome. A rhizome is a horizontal stem that forms in nodes, which is why ginger has an elongated, bumpy appearance. These nodes can then send out shoots above the ground or roots below the ground. Rhizomes are also known as rootstalks.
Ginger has been cultivated for over 1500 years. During this time, it went from propagating (or reproducing itself) through the production of seeds to now only spreading through its rhizomes, with or without human intervention. The plants have been selected, during these hundreds of years, to produce these rhizomes rapidly.
Today's ginger plant will produce rhizomes or “ginger roots” containing about 2% of their weight in ginger essential oil when fresh. This oil is then distilled further and used as a flavoring agent in products like our ginger ale CBD drink or medicinally to help relieve several medical ailments.
Fresh ginger and cooked ginger have surprisingly different flavors. When heated or allowed to dry, ginger develops new compounds such as zingerone. Ginger essential oil has high concentrations of a compound known as “zingiberene” which, in turn, contains zingerone aka vanillylacetone. Not only does this component give ginger its spicy smell, but it is used in the perfume industry to give other perfumes a distinct, spicy scent.
While ginger is often used in combination with cardamom and turmeric in cooking, it's also related to them in another way. The ginger plant, cardamom plant, and turmeric plant are all members of the Zingiberaceae family.
Have you ever wished that you could get your hands on some fresh, young ginger or that your supply of ginger would never run out? Why not grow your own? Grocery store ginger is ready to be planted with little preparation if it's mature ginger root and with no preparation if you are lucky enough to purchase tender, green, young ginger root.
First, you need ginger, a large and shallow pot or tray, and enough dirt to fill the pot or tray. For mature ginger root, you need to soak the pieces of ginger in water for 8 to 12 hours. This should be warm to room temperature water, never cold water. Green or “young” ginger can be planted as-is.
Once planted in the dirt, the ginger should begin to sprout in as little as 1 week. Once the sprouts are a few inches tall, the original piece of ginger can be separated into several pieces, making sure that each section contains one sprout. Replant these pieces. Young ginger rhizomes should be harvested from the edges of these new ginger plants every 4 to 6 months.
The mature ginger roots found in most grocery stores, with thick tan skin and a golden, fibrous interior, are typically harvested once a year. A portion of this harvest will be replanted and the rest will be cut up, cured, and sent to groceries stores or for processing.
Young, green ginger is harvested in only half of that time and while the texture and flavor are often better, there are fewer of the flavor compounds like gingerol and zingerone in young ginger. Ginger can only be grown in areas without frost, too, as this is a tropical plant that can't stand the cold.
While not the top exporter of ginger, India does produce the most ginger per year. However, much of the ginger they produce will be sold and consumed within the country. In many parts of India, ginger root is referred to as “adrak”.
Ginger contains a compound called “gingerol”. This substance has been recognized as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory substance. Gingerol is found in the highest concentrations in unprocessed, fresh ginger. Though the potency of gingerol in distilled oil is often better, as it is highly concentrated.
Ginger snacks, including CBD drinks and CBD sodas, can contain gingerol if they are naturally flavored or flavored with ginger oils. Artificial ginger flavor, though sometimes containing the spicy component "zingerone", never contains gingerols.
Morning sickness, post-operative nausea, and general upset stomach are all ailments that ginger has been used to treat. For example, when as little as 2 grams of ginger were given to patients before a routine operation, they requested fewer anti-nausea medications and reported feeling less nauseous after the procedure. While most of us don't have medical procedures regularly, an upset stomach is a common feeling. That alone might be a good enough reason to have another ginger ale CBD soda.