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Ginger & Turmeric

As you may know within the PermaTree FoodForest we grow high diversity of fruits.

Ginger and turmeric have several characteristics in common. Both are tropical perennial plants classified as belonging to the Zingiberacaea family. Likewise, both have beneficial constituents in their roots that cause them to be prized in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda as healing herbs. However, ginger and turmeric have different properties, colors, flavors and effects.

Image: Ginger (Zingiber officinale) plant at PermaTree

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Ginger is native to tropical Asia. The rhizome is dried and powdered to create the spice, which is used extensively in baked goods and beverages for its refreshing, pungent flavor; the chopped rhizome may also be consumed fresh. Ginger has traditionally been used to treat digestive disorders, particularly nausea and diarrhea; it has also been employed against arthritis and heart conditions.

Ginger Root, 2018 harvest at PermaTree, Ecuador
Ginger Root, 2018 harvest at PermaTree, Ecuador

Nutrients en Ginger

Vitamins and minerals present in fresh ginger in trace amounts: Vitamin B3 and B6, Iron, Potassium, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Folate, Riboflavin and Niacin. Additionaly Ginger contains: calories, carbohydrate, dietary fiber, protein and sugar.

Ginger uses

Ginger is commonly used for various types of “stomach problems,” including motion sickness, morning sickness, colic, upset stomach, gas and diarrhea. Additionally also used for, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), nausea, nausea caused by cancer treatment, nausea caused by HIV/AIDS treatment, nausea and vomiting after surgery, as well as loss of appetite. Other uses include pain relief from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis, menstrual pain, and other conditions. However, there is not strong evidence to support the use of ginger for these conditions.

Some people pour the fresh juice on their skin to treat burns. The oil made from ginger is sometimes applied to the skin to relieve pain. For instance, Ginger extract is also applied to the skin to prevent insect bites. In foods and beverages, ginger is used as a flavoring agent. In manufacturing, ginger is used as for fragrance in soaps and cosmetics. One of the chemicals in ginger is also used as an ingredient in laxative, anti-gas, and antacid medications.

turmeric curcuma
Image: Turmeric (Curcuma longa) plant at PermaTree

Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Turmeric features oblong leaves and funnel-shaped, dull-yellow flowers. The rhizome – yellowish on the outside and brilliant orange on the inside – is dried and powdered to yield the spice. From a taste point of view it is bitter, pungent and somewhat earthy in flavor. For both mustard and curry turmeric is a primary ingredient. Turmeric is used to treat jaundice, hepatitis, digestive disorders and inflammatory conditions.

Turmeric Root, Harvested in 2018 at PermaTree in Ecuador
Turmeric Root, Harvested in 2018 at PermaTree in Ecuador

Nutrients in Turmeric 

Turmeric is a source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, niacin, manganese, iron, potassium, magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids, omega 6 fatty acids and phytosterols.

Turmeric uses

Curcumin has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities. Therefore, Turmeric has a huge potential against various malignant diseases and diabetes. In addition, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and other chronic illnesses (Advanced Experimental Medical Biology).