The scientific name of ginger is Zingiber officinale. The ginger that consumers use comes from the underground stem of the plant.
Ginger is a pungent spice that has flavored Asian foods for thousands of years. It was one of the first Oriental spices to reach Europe, and it is now cultivated in different parts of the world, including Asia, Africa, the West Indies and Australia. The plant is most successfully cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions, and ginger is extracted from its underground stem, or rhizome, which is often mistakenly referred to as a root.
Ginger is believed to have health benefits and is popular in traditional Chinese and Indian medicines. In Western medicine, ginger is thought to relieve nausea and some digestive ailments, although care should be taken as it could interact with some medications.