Wild Ginger or Natal Ginger
The rootstock of the Wild Ginger does not only smell like ginger, but also tastes like it. The Wild Ginger is part of the Ginger family and carries a bunch of leaves, which develop during or after flowering. The fragrant flowers, which are 60 - 80 mm in width, are light pink to light purple in colour and are carried near the surface of the ground.
Although the delicate flowers only last one day, the plant can bring forth 25 flowers from October to November. The rootstock of the Wild Ginger is mainly used for medicine against cold and flu and is slowly disappearing from the veld.
This flower can be seen growing in rocky areas in the bushveld of South Africa, but thought to be extinct in some of its historical range.
The Wild Ginger plant is used extensively in traditional medicines, including wide use in muti rituals and because of this it has been extensively harvested – to the brink of extinction. It is thought to have all but disappeared from the wilds in Kwazulu Natal. There are many people who now cultivate the plant to ensure its survival.
The plant is used as a protection against lightning and snakes by the Zulu people and the rhizomes and roots are chewed fresh to treat asthma, hysteria, colds, coughs & flu. Wild Ginger is chewed by Swati women during menstruation and the Swatis’ also use it to malaria