Ginger – the wonder spice
Though called a root, it is actually the rhizome of the monocotyledonous perennial plant Zingiber officinale. Originating in southern China, the cultivation of ginger spread to India, Southeast Asia, West Africa, and the Caribbean. The English word ginger is etymologically related to the Tamil iñci, having been borrowed into Indo-European languages from a Dravidian language.
Ginger is commonly recognized as a digestive aid, but its proven nutritional and medical values could qualify it as a wonder spice. Ginger can help to alleviate indigestion, gas pains, diarrhea, nausea, motion sickness, morning sickness, and also contains many antioxidants. It has also been commonly used to treat inflammation, although medical studies as to the efficacy of ginger in decreasing inflammation have shown mixed results. There are several studies that demonstrate very positive results on minimizing joint pain from arthritis and other inflammatory disorders. It may also have blood thinning and cholesterol lowering properties, making it effective in treating heart disease; while early studies have shown some efficacy, it is too early to determine whether further research will bear this out. Ginger can also be used to prevent scurvy.
The characteristic odor and flavor of ginger root is caused by a mixture of zingerone, shoagoles and gingerols, volatile oils that compose about 1%–3% by weight of fresh ginger. The gingerols have analgesic, sedative, antipyretic, antibacterial, and GI tract motility effects.
Interesting is also ginger’s qualifying sexual stimuli; traits that urge sexual gratification and promote better sex health. The aphrodisiac powers of ginger are backed by philosophy and scientific medical fact, but it has also gained a reputation through various myths and legends as well. In the stories of yore, ginger thrives on the thread of history and sympathetic magic and has often been credited with increasing lustful yearnings, stimulating sex drive, increasing sexual performance, and aiding in the feelings of love, lust and attraction.
The history of ginger dates as far back as 500 B.C. in writings from the Chinese philosopher Confucius. Through this extensive history, the spice has been attributed with having positive physical affects on the sexual relationship. Aviceena, an Arab physician credited ginger with “increasing lustful yearnings.” Even Greek and Roman medical philosophers Discorides and Pliny in the first century A.D. agreed with the active aphrodisiac powers of the spice, concluding that it had a stimulating affect on the male sex organ. It is even mentioned in the Koran (circa 650 A.D.), the sacred writings of Islam, as being served at feasts in Paradise.
French legend has it that Madame du Barry, who was an official royal mistress to King Louis XV from 1769 until his death in 1774, served ginger to all her lovers, including ‘the beloved’ king. The legend goes that this practice would drive her men to a state of complete and utter submissiveness. When a truly Vanity Fair-esque rise to society, Madame du Barry inserted herself into the French royal class with her beauty and a slew of successful sexual encounters. Even upon her execution from charges of treason, the courtesan was able to arouse her executioners to pause.
In the Melanesian Islands of the South Pacific ginger is employed “to gain the affection of a woman.” The belief in ginger as an aphrodisiac was so strong that its myth traveled the world, eventually coming to encourage Portuguese slave owners to cultivate the spice in West Africa. There, the Portuguese would feed the spice to their slaves in the hope that the slave population would thrive, which in turn would increase their profits.
Ginger is mentioned in part seven of the Kama Sutra under occult practices. This chapter maintains that success in love can be improved by “aphrodisiacs, herbs, and spells.”
Because of ginger’s olfactory aroma, its scent is commonly recognized as a sexual stimulant. This aroma is beneficial in increasing circulation, which is thought to make erogenous zones hypersensitive. Additionally, the diaphoretic qualities in ginger may be another reason that ginger has been considered an aphrodisiac. The warming of the body increases perspiration, which in turn increases your heart rate. An increase in the heart rate and sweating mirrors the body’s reactions during sex. Like many spices and chilies accredited with elevating the heart rate, ginger’s bite is hot as well.
These therapeutic properties Ginger contains stimulate the bodies’ circulatory system, which aids in blood circulation, removing toxins, cleansing the bowels and kidneys, and nourishing the skin. This increase in the circulatory system aids in other areas of the body as well. The increase of blood flow stimulates the very tips of all our stems, from the brain to our toes and our fingertips to our private parts.
In 2002, the effects of ginger were tested on rats at the College of Medicine at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. Over an eight-day period, the rats were given ginger-infused droplets of water in order to test their testosterone levels. The rats experienced an increase in the weight of the testes, testosterone levels, and testosterone cholesterol levels. The experiment results may be explained by an increase in secretion of testosterone, the male sex hormone, which variegating testosterone levels significantly control male sex drive.
Ginger for health and nutrition: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=72