Thursday, June 13, 2013

Wild Ginger

Some friends of mine have just recently turned me on to wild ginger. After seeing this plant identified, I can't believe how long I have overlooked it. It grows in damp, moist areas where there might be snow melt or stream runoff. I see it all the time on Mt. Spokane while picking fiddleheads along the creeks.

Wild ginger is easy to identify. It has a pair of opposite heart-shaped leaves with a distinct tri-lobed purple flower.
Closeup of the wild ginger flower. In this picture it is growing alongside miner's lettuce.
Both the leaves and the root are edible and usable. I have begun to dry the stems leaves and crush them into a fine powder. I now use the powder in my tea, usually nettle tea, for a natural spice and to put my stomach at ease. In fact, wild ginger has been used traditionally by Native Americans to treat digestive problems and to prevent infections and colds. Wild ginger root can be used in any situation that calls for traditional ginger. It's flavor is very similar to traditional ginger, but perhaps milder.

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