Ginger has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and is believed to affect lung, spleen, heart, and stomach meridians.
It is called gan jiang, referring to the dried, older winter rhizome, or shen jiang, which is the fresh, young and tender rhizome. As having two different names for ginger implies, fresh and dried ginger are considered to have very different qualities. Ginger is believed to be more moistening when fresh and also to be energetically warm, whereas the dried root is energetically hot, and more drying. Both have been employed in cases of diarrhea, vomiting and nausea, amongst many other uses. Fresh ginger is preferred in TCM for nausea, as the dried ginger is considered to be too heating. Fresh ginger is valued as a diaphoretic and aid in expelling toxins.
Ginger is still a very important herb in Europe and is extensively imported in Germany. It is approved in the Commission E monographs and found in countless preparations all over Europe. Ginger has been and is still extensively used as a flavoring: as a condiment in the form of a paste, sliced and pickled, or powdered, as flavoring agent for soft drinks and ginger beer, distilled into an essential oil, and also as a candy or lozenge. There are many different types of ginger ranging from light colored Jamaican ginger, to the darker, more pungent African ginger often used in the production of essential oils.
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