Herb of the Year--Present and Past
2023 Herb of the Year Ginger
Ginger is well deserving of its designation of Herb of the Year. Ginger, Zingiber officianale, is a member of the Zingiberaceae family. It grows all over the world in tropical and warm climates. You can grow Ginger wherever you live, however, and I’ll tell you more about that below.
The plant grows tall and lush when given ample water and sunshine. In climates where it’s very hot and during dry spells, be sure to keep your ginger well watered and a little shade won’t hurt it.
How to Grow Ginger
Commercially, Ginger grows and is harvested in one season. Plant the rhizome in spring and grow it out all season. In the fall dig the rhizome, and, if you live in a warm winter climate, replant part of the rhizome for a new plant. You can also, at this time, plant the rhizome in a pot and keep it indoors if you live where it’s cold in the winter. Give it lots of light and regular water and you’ll have a little plant to plant out in the Spring or to keep in a pot. It makes a pretty patio or deck pot and you can still harvest it for use.
It’s easy to grow ginger from the rhizomes you can buy at most grocery stores. Pick ones that are plump and healthy looking. Look for “eyes” on the rhizome- this is where the tops grow out from. Plant the rhizome horizontally- flat – under about 1 inch of soil. This is the same whether you’re growing in the ground or in a pot.
By far the easiest way to use Ginger is in tea. Slice some fresh Ginger, no need to peel it, place it in a cup and pour boiling water over it. Wait 10 minutes, strain out the pieces of Ginger if desired, but not necessary, and sip it. You can sweeten your cup with honey or other sweeteners. Honey adds another layer of healthiness and is great when you have a cold or sore throat. A few slices of lemon adds vitamin C, which helps with a cold. Steeping lemony herbs such as lemon balm or lemon verbena also adds extra benefit. Use a tea ball for the herbs so you can remove them after about 10 minutes.
There is lots of information on the Internet about ginger, its uses and “miracle” properties. Modern herbalists use Ginger for a variety of conditions. Ginger is NOT, however, a miracle cure. (Nor is any herb or food, for that matter.) Ginger tea will help relieve a sore throat. It will warm you up if you have chills. The energetics of ginger are warming and drying. Dried ginger is much hotter than fresh. So, if you’re making tea with dried ginger, be aware it will be hotter than if you made it with the fresh rhizome.
Past Herbs of the Year
2005 Oregano & Marjoram
2006 Scented Geraniums
2007 Lemon Balm
2009 Bay Laurel
2014 Artemisia ssp. (Wormwood, Tarragon, et al.)
2015 Savory Saturea ssp.
2016 Peppers Capsicum ssp
2017 Coriander/Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)
2020 Blackberries, Raspberries
2022 Violet, Pansies