Mankind's relationship with this root goes back at least 5000 years. Ginger is a carminative, a fancy word for something that stops you farting but it has many other uses too and, of course, tastes great.
Ginger is grown across the tropical world: India, China and Nigeria produce the most ginger in the world with India producing over 1,000,000 metric tons. Native ginger is grown in Australia which produces an edible blue fruit with a mild ginger flavour.
Ginger is easily grown from a piece that you can buy at the shop. Simply soak the tuber overnight and then put in soil, soon you should see small green shoots coming up. If you live in the UK though be sure to keep it indoors.
By the middle of the 16th century, Europe was receiving over 2000 tons of dried ginger a year from the East Indies. Quatre épices was created in the Baroque era (17th Cent) in Saint-Malo, containing pepper, nutmeg, cloves and ginger it is frequently used in Winter soups and stocks, also in ragout and to season lamb.
Ginger is an intestinal spasmolytic, meaning it soothes and relaxes the intestines, and studies at Cornell University found active ingredients in ginger, called ‘gingerols’, help to prevent abnormal blood coagulation, helping to improve circulation. This will likely explain why ginger has traditionally been used as an aphrodisiac. Ginger is also a powerful antioxidant and its anti-inflammatory properties have been proven to relieve joint and muscle pain and migraines.
However.. to feague, or ginger, a horse means to place ginger up the backside of horses to induce them to put their tail up in the air and to prance more energetically around the show ring. According to Francis Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, it was just as common to replace the ginger with a live eel.