Facts & Folkore:
Ginger originates from the Old English word "gingifer". The ginger family includes not only the official ginger but also the spices of cardamom, tumeric, and zedoary.
Ginger root has been used for almost two thousand years to treat different ailments. The ancient Greeks and Romans were aware of the benefits of the ginger root, and used it both in cooking and for medicinal purposes. Ginger was commonly taken as a remedy for fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, heartburn, indigestion and nausea.
After the end of the Roman Empire, the Arabs took control of the spice trade from the east. Ginger became one of the earliest spices known in Western Europe and was a common article of medieval trade. It was recorded that Henry VIII instructed the mayor of London to use ginger as a remedy for the Bubonic Plague, which swept Europe during the Middle Ages.
Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) (daughter of Henry VIII) was very fond of ginger. Her love of ginger led to the first ginger bread men being made at Christmas time. In the 19th century barkeepers would put out small containers of ground ginger for people to sprinkle in their beer (ginger ale).
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