Wild Ginger Uses, Facts, and Health Benefits

Asarum caudatum, commonly known as wild ginger, is a perennial herbaceous plant native to Eastern North America, Australia, Europe, and Africa. In the past, many native North Americans used wild ginger as a medicinal herb to treat various ailments. It is a natural remedy for hysteria, infections, colic, and digestive problems.

Wild ginger root and rhizome are chewed fresh to treat colds, flu, headaches, coughs, and asthma. It has many medicinal and health benefits that I will describe in detail. So, keep reading!

What is Wild Ginger (Asarum caudatum)?

Wild ginger, or Asarum canadense is a low-growing and ground-covering herb in deep shade. It typically grows about 15-30 cm tall and 30-45 cm wide—a tubular or bowl-shaped flower blooms from April to June. It is quite different from the Zingiber officinale or culinary ginger. In the past days, people usually used this wild herbal plant in powder form to flavor their foods because of its spicy aroma.

wild ginger

Quick Facts About Asarum caudatum

Common NameWild Ginger, Torch Ginger, Canadian wild ginger, European wild ginger, Chinese Ginger, Snake Root, Wild Ginger Colic Root, and broad-leaved Asarabacca
Scientific NameAsarum caudatum
FamilyAristolochiaceae (Birthwort family)
OriginEastern North America, Australia, Europe, and Africa
Edible PartWild ginger root and rhizome
Plant TypePerennial herbaceous plant
TasteStrong bitter
WarningSome varieties of this ginger herb contain poisonous leaves that may cause dermatitis in some people while handling
Quick Facts about Asarum canadense

Nutrition Value of Wild Ginger

According to naturalpedia.com, the following nutrients are found in this wild herb:

  • Limonene
  • Geraniol
  • Alpha-terpinol
  • Beta-sitosterol
  • Aristolochic Acid
  • Bornyl Acetate
  • Elemicin
  • Methyl-eugenol

Other Varieties of Wild Ginger Plant

  • Asarum caudatum
  • Canadian wild ginger
  • Chinese ginger
  • Western wild ginger
  • European wild ginger
Canadian Wild Ginger
Other Varieties of Asarum caudatum

Wild Ginger Benefits

It has many potential health benefits based on the nutrients listed above. Some are listed here:

Reduces Cholesterol Level

A good amount of Beta-sitosterol is found in Asarum canadense, which helps reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. In addition to lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing HDL (good cholesterol), Beta-sitosterol can also prevent coronary heart disease.

Research studies have shown that this herbal plant is effective in reducing cholesterol levels.

Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Limonene, a nutrient found in Asarum caudatum, is also available in other herbaceous plants, primarily when used in essential oils such as Basil essential oil, orange aromatic oil, and Brazilian Peppertree oil. Those essential oils abundantly containing limonene are most effective in reducing anxiety and stress. According to some studies, due to the presence of limonene, ginger herb is a good anxiety fighter.

Natural Pain Reliever

It is outstanding in relieving pain. Limonene ingredients in wild ginger can ease the pain in muscle cramps, bones, and other aches. Despite the experiments that were done only on mice, some research studies showed that limonene can reduce pain in the muscles, bones, and thighs. Further studies are required so the use of Asarum canadense as a pain reliever can be trusted.

Anti-inflammatory Herb

This herbal plant contains bornyl-acetate and Geraniol. Both compounds are anti-inflammatory by nature. Due to its pungent smell, Geraniol is widely used in various products such as lotions, detergents, perfumes, and soaps.

African ginger has the same aroma, just like the culinary Zingiber you can find in your kitchen, although this is distinct from lemon or orange, which also have geraniol compounds. However, Geraniol and bornyl-acetate effectively reduce inflammation when they are used in essential oils. This colic ginger is equally important in inflammation treatment because of having bornyl-acetate and Geraniol.

Act as body warmer

In ancient times, people used torch ginger as a drink to add flavor to herbal teas. They just added it to boiling water to be consumed as herbal tea. It provides many health benefits. It acts as a body warmer during the winter.

However, it is about the former days, and it is still not sure that people still use this herbal plant as tea. Although confirmed, African ginger warms up the body and relieves colds or flu.

Natural remedy for cold and chest congestion

Asarum caudatum works as a natural remedy to relieve colds, chest congestion, and asthma similar to the health benefits of red Zingiber. In addition, it helps in sweating, boosting blood circulation, and stimulating the immune system. People who suffer from the flu or cold that may cause soreness and joint pains may also use ginger oil.

Treat Upset Stomach

The African ginger plant is beneficial to soothe an upset stomach. A person who is experiencing nausea or vomiting can use this nausea-controlling herb. It is the most effective herbal plant for women who has motion sickness, painful menstruation, and constipation.

It is recommended that Asarum caudatum should be taken for a short period. Most health experts suggest that most products should take a daily intake of one to three grams.

Treat Inflammation

Asarum canadense helps in wound treatment because of having antibiotics in the roots. The wild ginger colic root is chopped to relieve skin infection and inflammation. Due to beta-sitosterol, it not only reduces inflammation, but it also treats burns and wounds.

To treat inflammatory wounds or infection of sores or cuts, the colic root can apply on the skin’s surface People can chew the root to reduce the pain from dental.

Wild ginger medicinal uses

  • It is an anthelmintic, tonic and acts as a diuretic to relieve constipation.
  • Can be use to treat painful menstruation and sophomoric convulsions
  • It reduces painful spasms in the bowels and stomach
  • Fresh ginger leaves are applied as a poultice for inflammation or wounds
  • Also used in perfumes due to its sharp aroma
  • Asarum splendens use to ward away insects
  • Wild ginger flowers and underground stems are used as a Zingiber substitute

This herbal plant has many medicinal, traditional, commercial, and health benefits. A few varieties of Asarum caudatum contain a toxic substance (aristolochic acid) that can cause cancer, cell mutation, and skin inflammation. As discussed above, some varieties have poisonous leaves that may cause dermatitis in some people. So, care should be taken while harvesting, handling, and using this wild herbal plant.


What Does Wild Ginger Look Like?

It looks like coltsfoot leaves with soft pubescent. It has bell-shaped flowers and is located at the base of the plant.

Is Wild Ginger Edible?

It is an herb, not a kitchen spice. Wild ginger root and rhizome are edible. People can chew fresh root to treat colds and chest congestion. Its flowers and leaves can be use as herbal medicine to treat various disorders.

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