Ginger is the common name for the monocotyledonous perennial plant Zingiber officinale. The term is also used to describe the edible part of the plant which is commonly used as a spice in cooking throughout the world.
Often erroneously referred to as "ginger root", the edible section is actually the horizontal subterranean stem or rhizome of the plant. It has a pale yellow interior and a skin varying in colour from brown to off-white.
As ginger is generally consumed in relatively small doses its nutritional value is of less concern than what it can offer it terms of medicinal. Ginger is most commonly known for its effectiveness as a digestive aid. By increasing the production of digestive fluids and saliva, ginger helps relieve indigestion, gas pains, diarrhea and stomach cramping. Fresh ginger is also used to break down high protein foods such as meats and beans and helps to lessen the effects of uric acid in the body from these foods.