Ginger is one of the most widespread culinary spices. Originating in Asia, it spread to India, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean. Nearly every major cuisine uses ginger in some form, although it features particularly in Asian cooking.
It has been important in Chinese medicine for many centuries, and is mentioned in the writings of Confucius. It is also named in the Koran, indicating it was known in Arab countries as far back as 650 A.D. It was one of the earliest spice known in Western Europe, used since the ninth century.
In general, ginger is predominately used in sweet cooking, but it pairs beautifully with garlic and is being used more for savory sauces and marinades.
Fresh and dried ginger have noticeably different flavors, and are often used together in the same dish for a layered flavor.
Crystallized ginger is eaten by itself both for flavor and as a cure for motion sickness and nausea, or used to add a delightful kick of flavor to fries, chicken salad, and baked goods.
Ginger is most commonly known for its effectiveness as a digestive aid. By increasing the production of digestive fluids and saliva, it helps relieve indigestion, gas pains, diarrhea and stomach cramping, it may also help you feel fuller and even burn more calories. It is also rich in inflammation-fighting compounds, such as gingerols, which some experts believe may hold promise in fighting some cancers and reducing arthritis pain