Ginger, the Common, or Amomum Zingiber, L. is a native of the East Indies, whence it was transplanted by the Spaniards to the West India Islands, from which Europe is chiefly supplied with its spicy foot.
Ginger is a perennial shrub,which grows about a yard high ; it was introduced into England in the year 1/31, and is still reared in the gardens of the curious. Its propagation is effected by parting the roots in the spring, planting them in pots of light rich earth, and placing them in a hot-bed of ta ner's bark, where they are to re* main.
The dried roots of this plant are either white, from the lime employed to prevent their destruction by vermin; or blueish, brown, or black, according to die soil in which they have been cultivated: they are of eminent use, both for culinary and medical purposes, affording one of the most wholesome and agreeable spices. Hence ginger in entire pieces is often boiled in beer, and drunk by persons who are obliged to spend part of their time in cold, open air. It is more immediately serviceable in cold flatulent colics; in laxity and debility of the stomach and intestines, especially in torpid, phlegmatic constitutions ; in order to induce a brisker action of the vessels; for it is not so heating as the spices of the pepper kind, though its effects are more durable.
Ginger-bread, well baked, may occasionally be of service to travellers, if a small portion of it be taken early in the morning, and on an empty stomach, but it ought, seldom, or very sparingly, to be given to children, whose stomachs it materially injures, especially when ornamented with leaf-gold, as it is erroneously called; though the glittering bait consists of Dutch gold, that is, brass or copper reduced to the fineness of gold-leaf, and which is one of the most vehement poisons. From this fruitful source arise gripes, obstipations of the bowels, obstructions of the mesen-teric glands, and other fatal disorders that frequently torment infants, and which there is great reason to fear, have carried many helpless victims of indulgence to an untimely grave. - Parents, therefore, cannot be too watchful in this respect; and it were much to be wished, that the pernicious practice of gilding ginger-bread might be prohibited, by public authority.