|Wild ginger refers to an herbaceous plant genus Asarum of the birthwort family. The plant is called wild ginger because the rhizome tastes and smells similar to that of ginger root. The root can be used as a spice, but is a potent diuretic, or urinary stimulant. Asarum canadense and other species in the genus contain the chemical aristolochic acid, which is carcinogenic in rats.Wild ginger favors moist, shaded sites with humus-rich soil. The deciduous, heart-shaped leaves are opposite, and borne from the rhizome which lies just under the soil surface. The curious jug-shaped flowers, have three distinct, pointed, brownish divisions to the calyx, which give the plant an alternate name, "little jug", are borne singly in Spring between the leaf bases. Wild ginger can easily be grown in a shade garden, and makes an attractive groundcover.