Are you looking for something to take those aches and pains away? Ginger is part of the Zingiberaceae family. Most commonly you will find Chinese ginger or common ginger in your grocery store, you can definitely find wild ginger grown right here in Minnesota. Time to get out into your local forest and find some!
The most recognizable part of the plant grows below ground; you will want to familiarize yourself with its leaves and flowers. The plants sprout shiny, long narrow leaves. They have hairy bases to the stems like they are covered in fine white whiskers. They bloom in early spring and continue through to late spring. The flowers are tripartite, brown, and purple and grow from the base of the plant. They prefer woodland areas and tend to grow in the shade.
- Nausea; For generations, women have been using this root to ease “morning sickness”. Used for motion sickness and to settle the stomach flu.
- Bloating and gas; It cuts down on fermentation, constipation causing bloating and intestinal gas.
- Cells; It contains antioxidants, these molecules help manage free radicals, which are compounds that can damage cells when their number grows too high.
- Anti-inflammatory; Contains anti-inflammatory compounds, applying a ginger salve or ingesting powdered ginger could greatly reduce pain and stiffness in joints.
- Cardiovascular; being an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory can prevent the clotting of your blood.
Use your hands to remove the roots growing on the outside edges of the root clump carefully. Trying not to disturb the other portions of the root. When you notice the leaves beginning to wilt and die, this is when it is ready to be harvested. Some varieties take 4-5 months, others 8-10 months.
One super fascinating thing I learned about is when you are creating tinctures, teas, creams, or oils the fresh or dried root makes a huge difference. Having a fresh root gives your tincture a softer approach, less heat, and a more soothing approach. Where dried ginger is hotter, stronger in flavor, and can be harsh on your stomach, but great for pain salves.