This week I am putting all my mental energies into completing a book I have been researching for the past year and a half. The book, The Healing Spices of Chai, is quite beautiful, thanks to the nineteenth century botanical drawings I have dug up (originally published by Franz Kohler in Germany in 1887.)
This may be a bit surprising - a book on spices from a thinktank that focuses on emotional health. But one of the core messages of the Urbanmonks Thinktank is that we - all too often - separate subjects that are not separate. In fact, very few subjects live in isolation.
What we eat and the settings in which we eat have a large effect on our bodies and our minds. We have to remember that our minds are part of our bodies.
By this time next month, I will have this book on the healing spices of chai available in both hard-copy and e-book formats. In the book, I encourage the reader to brew chai with friends and family, to add this healing ritual to your routine. In this book, I trace the history of the plants, the history of the spice trade, and the medicinal benefits of the plant.
Below is a snippet from the book, where I focus on ginger.
Ginger family - Zingiberaceae
Part of the plant used
The spice known as ginger is the root of a five foot tall perennial plant, used fresh, pickled in brine, crystallized or dried. Ginger is planted from root cuttings before the monsoon season and harvested about five months later. A portion of the harvested crop is saved and planted the following year (a method similar to most root crop propagation).
Origin and history
Believed to have originated in northern India or eastern Asia, ginger is one of the oldest oriental spices to reach Europe, with tales of gingerbread dating back to 2400 BC in what is now Greece. The medicinal benefits of ginger were extolled in both Europe and Asia, by Confucius (551-479 BC) in the East and by early Greek doctors in the first century AD.
Living ginger plants were easily transported in the Middle Ages, which led to wide transplanting. Ginger was well known in Germany and France by the ninth century. By the fourteenth century ginger was recorded as the second most common spice in England following pepper.
Used extensively in folk medicine throughout the world, ginger is a whole body health improver, functioning as a circulation stimulant. It promotes bodily heat which reduces fever, aids digestion and triggers a systematic cleansing of the digestive system. This root is of great value for proactive health, as well as for those convalescing from an illness.
(I'll save this section for the book release.) (Here is where I put all the random facts about ginger.) Ok, here is one:
Ginger has been prized as an aphrodisiac for centuries. Ooh la la.