Ginger Tropical Tea

Ginger or Zingiber officinale is a tropical plant native to India and China. The spice, although often called ginger root, is actually the plant's thick and knobby underground stem. Ginger's pungent and unmistakable aroma and taste has made it exceedingly popular and prized both as a spice and as a medicinal plant all over the world. Ginger was very popular among the ancient Romans although it was imported from China and quite expensive. In fact, a pound of ginger was considered to be equal then to 1 whole sheep. Spanish explorers transplanted the plant to Mexico, the West Indies and Latin America in the hopes that they could provide a cheaper substitute for imported Chinese ginger. It continues to be a sought after spice, and now the top 10 ginger producing countries are India, China, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria, Bangla Desh, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. Global production in 2008 totaled nearly 1.4 billion tons.

Ginger is related to cardamom and turmeric, and a necessary ingredient of curry powder and curry dishes. It is a creeping plant, with long and narrow leaves, purple and cream flowers and that all important stem or rhizome. Ginger can grow in both clayey and sandy soil and in between fruit trees such as guava and mangos. The roots can be harvested after about a year. There are six varieties of ginger in the Philippines: the native ginger which is the hottest and most potent although somewhat fibrous; the red native with its reddish tinge; the improved native that is disease-resistant; the large imported Hawaiian variety; the imported, fragrant, pale Jamaican variety; and the Chinese ginger, which is yellow, extremely large and heavy, juicy but milder in flavor.

Ginger is available in six forms: fresh, dried, pickled, preserved and crystallized or candied and ground. Fresh ginger is either young ginger which is tender and milder tasting or mature which is tougher and more potent. Dried ginger is available whole or sliced. Pickled ginger is bright pink or red and used frequently in making sushi and as an after-meal breath freshener. Preserved ginger is soaked in a mixture of salt and sugar. Crystallized ginger is cooked in syrup and then rolled in sugar and used for sweets.

Ginger tea is a popular beverage in Asia and other parts of the world. In the Philippines it is traditionally taken as hot and as strong as you can stand it, without sugar or lemon, pure and pristine. Neuleaf Ginger Tea is a spicy, soothing and comforting drink made from mature and healthy organic stem ginger that is processed naturally.