Ginger is a tropical culinary plant which has been used since antiquity in Chinese and Indian medicine. The plant grows in tropical South East Asia, and can reach over one metre in height, has long, narrow leaves and yellow-red flowers. Europeans also quickly became fond of this wonder root - although, to be specific, it is actually a rhizome which grows horizontally below ground.
Ginger has impressive healing properties to help with digestive problems and nausea, it promotes circulation, fights colds and is also believed to be an aphrodisiac. Ginger is also said to contain cancer-inhibiting substances.
In Germany ginger is available all year round, and China is the largest exporter. The plant is also cultivated in Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, Australia and South America. Shopping tip: the bulbs should be nice and firm, and the skin slightly glossy. Don't buy wizened bulbs - they are past their best already.