It is a tropical perennial herb native to Southeast Asia and widely cultivated in China, India, Nigeria, Australia, Jamaica, and Haiti.1 Its subterranean stem, known as a rhizome, is the edible and medicinal portion of the plant.
The spice came to Europe via Arab traders. In the 13th century the plant was brought by the Arabs in East Africa and in the 16th century by the Portuguese to West Africa.
Ginger is a perennial herb. It contians contains an aromatic-smelling essential oil and non-volatile pungent substances (gingerols and shogaol).
Traditionally it was used to support the digestive system and to ease discomfort. It is used for dyspeptic symptoms (diffuse abdominal pain), loss of appetite and to help fight the symptoms of travel sickness and as a postoperative antiemetic.