Ginger jazzes up pancakes, can aid digestion- Used as  medicine in ancient times and reserved for royalty the Roman Empire, ginger- a worldy spice- is enjoyed today in global cuisines. The Ginger People of Marina, CA displayed their goodies at the January Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, where I enjoyed ingesting both food and 'ginger-lore'.

Historical claims for ginger's medicinal properties have been undergoing scientific research in recent years. Positive results are awesome.

A few findings: Ginger's anti-nausea properties work as well as or better than common drugs in blocking motion sickness and can ease morning sickness experienced by pregnant women. Long used as a digestive aid (especially after eating fatty or gassy foods), studies now tout its anti-inflammatory benefits (fighting pain). People who fight the "battle of the bulge" will look forward to the results of ongoing research of ginger possibly boosting thermogenesis (calorie burning) in humnas.

Ginger is rich in antioxidants and contains magnessium, potassium, B vitamins and zinc. Eat ginger, and forget the supplements!

How do you like your ginger? The Ginger People offer many choices - including chewy candies (20 calories a piece) syrups, cooking sauces, beverages and pantry essentials (grated or minced ginger, ginger juice or pickled sushi ginger).

I'm a fan of their ginger chews and pop a few into my purse whenever I travel or plan to eat out a lot. My most recent find was the company's ginger syrup, which I served to my husband with his breakfast pancakes.

He pronounced it a winner - and enjoys it on ice cream. Be creative and use ginger syrup to glaze roasted carrots, chicken, pumpkin, yams and more. For the cocktail hour, add the syrup for a ginger martini or add it to sparkling water for a zingy nonalcoholic beverage. Adding some warm water (and a bit of brandy if desired) to the syrup makes a soothing nightcap.

Article written by Ruth Taber, El Paso Times newspaper February 11, 2009