Ginger is a versatile plant that has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine and cooking. It is a flowering plant that belongs to the Zingiberaceae family and is native to Southeast Asia. Today, it is cultivated in many parts of the world, including India, China, and parts of Africa.
Ginger has a unique flavor that is both spicy and refreshing, making it a popular ingredient in many cuisines. It is used in a variety of dishes, from savory curries to sweet desserts. Beyond its culinary uses, ginger is also known for its potential health benefits, which have been studied extensively.
Some of the health benefits of ginger include reducing inflammation, easing nausea and vomiting, and improving digestion. It may also help lower blood sugar levels, reduce menstrual pain, and lower cholesterol levels. Additionally, ginger has been studied for its potential to help prevent cancer and improve brain function.
Despite its many potential benefits, ginger may not be suitable for everyone. It can interact with certain medications and may cause side effects in some people, such as heartburn or allergic reactions. Therefore, it's important to speak with a healthcare professional before incorporating ginger into your diet or taking it as a supplement.
In this article, we will explore the uses and potential health benefits of ginger in more detail. We will also discuss how to incorporate ginger into your diet, as well as any potential side effects you should be aware of.
Ginger scientific name is Zingiber Officinale, some other common names are adrak, sounth, zanjabil, and ginger root. There are numerous references to ginger in Sanskrit and Chinese medical treatises. The Sanskrit name Singabera gave rise to the Greek Zingiberi and to the Latin Zingiber.
Ginger has been used as a medicine in India since the Vedic period and is called maha-aushadhi, meaning great medicine. The ancient physician used it as a carminative or antiflatulent. Galen, the Greek physician, used ginger to rectify the defective humor or fluids of the body. He also used ginger to treat paralysis caused by a phlegmatic imbalance in the body. Aviceena used it as an aphrodisiac. Centuries ago, pomose used ginger in the treatment of gout.
Ginger is believed to have originated in India and was introduced to china, it was known in Europe in the first century A.D. and was mentioned by Dioscorides and Pliny.
Morphology of Ginger
Ginger is a perennial herb with underground branching stems (rhizomes) which are both swollen and tough. The leaves and rhizomes have a characteristic fragrance when cut or bruised. Rhizomes are dug out after the leafy parts are dried, the sun-dried ginger is known as sounth in Hindi.
Nutritional Value Ginger
Fresh ginger contains moisture 80.9%, protein 2.3%, fat 0.9%, minerals 1.2%, fiber 2.4% and carbohydrates 12.3% per 100 grams. Its minerals and vitamin contents are calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin C. The calorific value is 67.
Chemical Composition of Ginger
The composition of ginger varies with the type or variety, region, agro-climatic conditions, and methods of curing, drying, packaging, and storage. Chemical analysis of 26 varieties of ginger grown in India was conducted at CFTRI, Mysore, which showed the following important ingredients: volatile oil, oleoresin (acetone extract), water extract, cold alcohol extract, a substantial amount of starch, total ash, water-soluble ash, acid insoluble ash and alkalinity of ash of unpled ginger.
On steam distillation dried, cracked, and crushed ginger yields a pale yellow, viscid oil. The oil possesses an aromatic odor but not the pungent flavor of the ginger, it has a lingering odor.
Habitat of Ginger
Native to Southeast Asia it is now cultivated mainly in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Maharashtra.
Health Benefits and Uses of Ginger
Ginger is widely used in local medicines in India and the Far East, taken internally, it is a stimulating carminative and externally it is used as a rubefacient that is, counterirritant for relief of muscular pain. Like many other spices, ginger is believed to have aphrodisiac properties.
Here are some Health Benefits and Uses
Aches and Pains
Ginger is an excellent remedy to cure all types of pain, in headaches ginger ointment made by rubbing dry ginger with a little water on a grinding stone applied to the forehead provides relief. It allays toothaches when applied to the gum. In case of an earache, a few drops of ginger juice give relief.
Cough and Cold
Ginger is an excellent remedy for cough and cold, extracted juice of ginger with honey three or four times a day is suggested in case of cough. In case of a cold, small cut pieces of ginger boiled in a cup of water, strained, and mixed with half-tsp of sugar, taken hot is beneficial. Ginger tea, prepared by adding a few pieces of ginger into boiled water before adding tea leaves, is another effective remedy for frequent colds and associated fevers.
Ginger is extremely useful in treating dyspepsia, flatulence, colic, vomiting, spasms, and other painful affections of the stomach not accompanied by fever. Chewing a piece of fresh ginger regularly after meals prevents these ailments. The protective action is due to the excessive secretion of saliva, diastase enzymes, and volatile oil.
Half tsp of fresh ginger juice, mixed with one tsp of fresh lime and mint juices and a tbsp. of honey is an effective remedy for dyspepsia, nausea, and vomiting due to biliousness, and indigestion caused by intake of rich non-vegetarian, fried fatty food, morning sickness, jaundice, and piles. This mixture should be taken daily in the treatment of these conditions.
Ginger juice is an aphrodisiac, half a tsp of ginger juice and honey with a half-boiled egg and taken at night tomes up sex organs and cures impotency, premature ejaculation, and spermatorrhea or involuntary seminal discharge.
Taking an infusion of a piece of freshly pounded ginger boiled in a cup of water for a few minutes, sweetened with sugar, thrice daily after meals are recommended for painful or irregular menstruation caused by exposure to cold winds or by a cold bath.
A tsp of fresh ginger juice mixed with a cup of fenugreek decoction and honey makes an excellent diaphoretic mixture to proliferate sweating and reduce fever in influenza.
The same infusion as above acts as an expectorant in bronchitis, asthma, whooping cough, and tuberculosis of the lungs.
Ginger is available in two forms, fresh and dried. Both forms are effective, it is adapted to the palate by putting in vegetables and are widely used for culinary purposes in gingerbread, biscuits, cakes, puddings, soups, and pickles. It is a common constituent of curry powder. Ginger is widely used in Indian and Chinese cooking.
The essential oil from the rhizomes is used in the manufacture of flavoring essence and in perfumery, an oleoresin is also extracted in which the full pungency of the spice is preserved, it is used for flavoring and medicinal purposes.
Side Effects of the Ginger
All Ayurveda herbs are plant-based and don’t have any side effects, but they may react with some allopathy or homeopathy medicine. It is better to consult the doctor if you are on any medications or have unique health issues.
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Frequently Asked Question
Q - What is Zingiber officinale used for?
Zingiber officinale is used as a medicine in India since the Vedic period and is called maha-aushadhi, meaning great medicine. The ancient physician used it as a carminative or antiflatulent. Galen, the Greek physician, used ginger to rectify the defective humor or fluids of the body.
Q - Is Zingiber and ginger the same?
Yes, Zingiber and ginger both are same. Ginger scientific name is Zingiber officinale, it is used in Ayurveda for tretament of various aliment and in culinary.
Q - What are health benefits of ginger?
Ginger has many health benefits, it is a stimulating carminative and externally it is used as a rubefacient that is, counterirritant for relief of muscular pain. Like many other spices, ginger is believed to have aphrodisiac properties.
Q - What bacteria does ginger fight?
Ginger is an excellent remedy for cough and cold and it is also useful in treating dyspepsia, flatulence, colic, vomiting, spasm.
Q - How do I use ginger in my diet?
Ginger can be consumed in various forms, such as fresh or dried root, powdered form, or as a supplement. It can be used in cooking, baking, smoothies, teas, or taken in capsule form.
Q - Is ginger safe for everyone to consume?
Ginger is considered safe for most people. However, it can interact with certain medications and may cause side effects in some people, such as heartburn or allergic reactions. It is important to speak with a healthcare professional before incorporating ginger into your diet or taking it as a supplement.
Q - How much ginger should I consume per day?
There is no set amount of ginger that is recommended for daily consumption. However, studies have shown that doses of up to 2 grams per day are generally safe and effective for most people.
Q - Can ginger be used to treat nausea during pregnancy?
Ginger has been shown to be effective in reducing nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. However, pregnant women should consult with their healthcare provider before taking any supplements or making changes to their diet.
Q - Can ginger help with joint pain and arthritis?
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce joint pain and inflammation in people with arthritis.
Q - Is ginger effective for motion sickness?
Ginger has been shown to be effective in reducing motion sickness symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. It can be consumed as ginger tea, ginger candy, or in capsule form.
Q - Can ginger help with weight loss?
Some studies suggest that ginger may help with weight loss by increasing metabolism and reducing appetite
Q - Can ginger be used as a natural remedy for a sore throat?
Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that may help relieve sore throat symptoms. It can be consumed as ginger tea or used as a gargle.
Q - Does ginger have any potential side effects?
While ginger is generally safe for most people, it can cause side effects in some individuals. These may include heartburn, diarrhea, allergic reactions, and interactions with certain medications.