The prickly flavor of ginger is due to a compound called gingerol, which has an equal structure to capsaicin, the molecule that gives chili peppers their heat. It binds to the same receptor protein, TRPV1, in nerve endings that stimulates heat and pain sensations, albeit in a milder manner.

Ginger is a deliciously scented and generally safe herb/root that has been used for a long time. Although ginger is usually consumed fresh in juices, teas, or grated in curries, dried powdered ginger is also useful. It's also a lot easier to dose, making therapeutic doses a lot easier to reach. Ginger powder is also fantastic in baking and other sweet delicacies.

It adds just the right amount of heat to savory dishes, soothes our aching stomachs, and, most importantly, satisfies our sweet tooth with an extra bite. From rich Southern pies to nose-clearing spiced shortbreads, here are six recipes that demonstrate how far our favorite rhizome can go.

Streusel-Topped Pear and Ginger Pie

The buttery crumble of sweet streusel balances the warming spiciness of fresh ginger in the filling of this pear pie. And then there's the buttery streusel topping that ties everything together.

Crunch Cardamom-Ginger

Ground cardamom and ginger give these shortbreads a spicy kick. These glazed delights are ideal for teatime.

Ginger Molasses Cookies (Gluten-Free)

Shauna Ahern of Gluten-Free Girl & The Chef contributed this recipe to our 2012 Cookie Advent Calendar. "Every year when my mother prepared her pillow-soft molasses cookies for the holidays, I just sighed with joy," Shauna says. But I couldn't eat gluten anymore by the time she was ready to give over the baking, and she couldn't find the recipe. So I fiddled and baked until these were born."


Chef Chris Tan's yellow-hued shortbread cookies are inspired by spicy English gingerbread, as well as Dutch and Indonesian ginger cookies.

Gingerbread Cake from Lafayette

According to legend, George Washington's mother made this gingerbread cake for General Lafayette in the 1780s.Chess Pie with Chocolate and Ginger

A luscious combination of chocolates and ginger ups the ante on a traditional Southern pimento cheesecake.

So, how about growing your ginger? Simply plant the ginger root in the soil and watch it multiply in a matter of weeks, providing you with a steady supply of fresh ginger root. It requires little upkeep and offers numerous advantages. Furthermore, when grown organically without the use of pesticides, the effect of the ginger root compounds is enhanced.

Ginger has numerous health benefits. It contains a plethora of beneficial nutrients. Ginger can help with respiratory and digestive issues. It can also boost immunity, promote weight loss, relieve heartburn, manage glucose levels, alleviate menstrual cramps, reduce pain, and fight inflammation. Ginger can also be used to treat nausea, upset stomach, and kidney stones. To reap the benefits of ginger, include it in moderation in your diet.