Ginger Root’s Good For Just About Everything

Ginger ale is a well known stomach soother when you are home sick with the flu. And it’s not just the fizzy bubbles that help you to feel better. Ginger root is a powerful remedy for various ailments. Over the years, my family and I have used ginger root for:

  • muscle aches and strains from exercise
  • motion sickness
  • morning sickness
  • upset stomachs
  • colds
  • flu
  • indigestion
  • migraines
  • menstrual cramps
  • heachaches
  • cough
  • chest congestion

So as you can see, ginger root is good for just about anything that ails you.

One thing that you may notice is that ginger root itself can be rather expensive at the grocery store. Of course you know already what I am going to say here- why are you buying it at the store? You can grow ginger yourself rather easily, so there’s no reason to rely on a supermarket for your ginger supply. Ginger root can be harvested about 5 months after you plant it, and can be cultivated all year.

I do use my ginger root for culinary purposes, but more frequently and regularly for medicinal purposes. So, I grow my ginger in my medicinal herb garden alongside the items from my Survival Herb Bank. Once you plant your ginger, you’ll find that it is a plant that does not really need a lot of tending. You can basically harvest it, replant it, and then not do much for another year. You’ll have plenty of ginger root for yourself and some to give away, too.

How to grow ginger root at home:

The first time you plant ginger root, you’ll need to begin with a piece of ginger root, which technically is a piece of the ginger rhizome. When you uproot your first ginger plant to harvest it, you’ll see that there is foliage above the earth, a bulbous piece that is the rhizome and the part that we consume, and then small roots coming off the rhizome. So even though we call the part we eat “ginger root”, it is technically “ginger rhizome.” I know that is a bit confusing, as you can see pictured below, there is a difference between the rhizome and the root. The rhizome is the part that we use. For the sake of this blog, I’ll refer to the edible part that we use just as “ginger root” rather than “ginger rhizome” just because it is less confusing that way.

The best time to plant your ginger root is in the early spring, after the threat of frost has passed. So begin with a piece of ginger root, preferably one that has come from a trusted source, such as a friend’s organic garden. Select a nice plump piece of root, preferably one that already has some little eyes, or growth buds, in it. Soak this piece of ginger root in a glass of water overnight.

As when planting any fruit, vegetable, or herb, your soil should be adequately prepared ahead of time. Ginger prefers a spot with filtered sunlight, and moist but not swampy soil. Since the part of the ginger that we consume develops below the earth, it is very important that the soil drains well. Ginger is a tropical plant and prefers a nice warm spot. If you live in a cold climate, you can successfully grow ginger indoors in a 14 inch pot. You can plant up to 3 rhizomes in a pot this size.

After soaking your piece of ginger root overnight, and finding and preparing the ideal growing spot, you are ready to transplant your ginger root. Place it in a hole 4 inches deep with the growth buds facing upwards. If you wish to plant rows of ginger, space your plants about 6-8 inches apart from each other. In order to retain moisture, make sure to lay a thick layer of mulch around your plants.

After a few months, you’ll find that your ginger plant really doesn’t take up that much room at all. Above the ground you will see the stem with a few leaves, but that is about it. If you leave the plant for a long time, it will become a dense bushy clump about 2-3 feet in height, but your plants will probably never reach this point, quite simply because you must uproot them to harvest your rhizomes.

As your ginger plants grow, keep the soil moist, but make sure it does not get swampy. Towards the end of the summer when temperatures start to cool down, you will notice that your ginger plants start to wither. At this time, stop watering them. Allow all of the foliage to die back and the soil to dry out. Once this process is complete, you are ready to uproot your plants and harvest your ginger root!

The process of planting to harvest may take as few as 5 months, or as many as 8 or 9. The best way to tell when it is ready for harvest is by using the method above- wait until the foliage dies back. After about 4 months you may see the tops of the rhizomes sticking up out of the earth. Although you can harvest it at this time, I would not recommend it, as this tends to be less flavorful and not yet fully matured.

Once you have harvested your rhizomes, save a few to replant. The others can be stored in your refrigerator or even frozen. When it is needed for culinary purposes, peel it, chop it, and add it to your dish. When it is needed for medicinal purposes, you can eat or chew on a chunk straight up. As ginger root tends to be extremely strong in flavor, you may prefer to pour boiling water over a chunk of ginger to create a tea. Stir in a bit of honey for some sweetness. For muscle aches, burns, or abrasions, you can create a compress by soaking chunks of ginger in warm or cool water, immersing a cloth in the water, then applying this compress to the skin.

You’ll soon find that ginger root can replace many of the medicinal items in your bathroom cabinet- I promise! It’s healthy, safe, and self sustaining, making it a perfect cure.


1 comment so far

  1. […] in my Survival Herb Garden, which my kids used to call the medicine garden, are aloe vera and ginger root. With these 21 plants, I am confident that I have all of my families’ medicinal needs covered. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: