A fragrant root that lends itself to use in sweet and savory dishes alike, ginger also proves useful in treating aliments that range from cramps to nausea. It is a natural blood thinner that can lower cholesterol, and its ability to raise body heat and purge toxins makes it ideal for use in cold and flu treatments.
Parts Used: Roots
Precautions: Because ginger is a blood thinner, you should avoid it if you have a bleeding disorder or gallbladder disease, or if you take prescription blood thinners. Large doses of ginger can stimulate the uterus, so use it cautiously if you are pregnant.
Identifying/ Growing: Ginger is a tropical plant with waxy leaves and smooth, fragrant white flowers. At the grocer, select roots with a firm feel. If you live in a tropical climate, you can grow ginger outdoors. In colder areas, you can grow it in a greenhouse or sunny indoor location. Plant the roots in large, wide containers, placing them at a depth of about 10 inches. Ginger plants grow to impressive heights of 4 feet or more, and the blossoms carry a delightful fragrance to reward your effort.