Ginger is a flowering plant whose rhizome, ginger root or simply ginger, is widely used as a spice or a folk medicine.
It is herbaceous perennial which grows annual stems about a meter tall bearing narrow green leaves and yellow flowers. Ginger is in the family Zingiberaceae, to which also belong turmeric (Curcuma longa), cardamom, and galangal. Ginger originated in the tropical rainforest in Southern Asia.
For over 4000 years, ginger has been used throughout the world as a culinary spice, specifically in India, China, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. By the ninth century, ginger reached Rome and its use spread quickly to other areas in Europe. It was popular in England as a spice used alongside salt and pepper. Henry VIII as well as his daughter Elizabeth I loved ginger. It is said that at state dinners, Elizabeth would give guests a gingerbread man that resembled either the King or her. Gingerbread continues to be a favorite in English villages with each possessing its own special recipe and unique cookie molds. Germany also accepted ginger and gingerbread, but rather than using cookies, they made colorful and creative houses with the treat during the Christmas season.
Ginger is high in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It’s warming, stimulating, and anticoagulant qualities are good for the circulatory system. By enhancing oxygen’s flow in the blood stream, ginger can help lower LDL or bad cholesterol, and it has been found to decrease blood platelet accumulation, which contributes to clogging arteries that cause heart attacks and strokes.
Ginger provides a variety of vitamins and minerals:
- Carbohydrate – 17.77 g
- Dietary Fiber – 2 g
- Protein – 1.82 g
- Dietary Fiber – 2 g
- Sugars – 1.7 g
- Sodium – 13 mg
- Vitamin B6 – 0.16 mg
- Calcium – 16 mg
- Iron – 0.6 mg
- Vitamin C – 5 mg
- Potassium – 415 mg
- Magnesium – 43 mg
- Phosphorus – 34 mg
- Zinc – 0.34 mg
Ginger has become well-known for its various health benefits, which include
- Ability to boost bone health and relieves joint pain,
- Strengthen the immune system,
- Increase your appetite and helps in digestion,
- Provides relief from menstrual disorder,
- Reduces possibilities of Stroke and Heart Disease:
- Prevent various types of cancer,
- Helps in regulating sugar level,
- Helps cure diarrhea,
- Improve respiratory conditions,
- Eliminate arthritis symptoms,
- Reduce excess gas,
- enhance sexual activity, and
- relieve pains related to nausea and flu.
Theoretically studies have found that ginger may also include:
- Lessen swelling
- Lower cholesterol
- Protect against Alzheimer’s disease
- Prevent blood clotting
How to use ginger for health benefits:
Ginger pairs well with many different types of seafood, oranges, melon, pork, pumpkin and apples. When buying fresh ginger, look for a root with smooth, taut skin and a spicy aroma.
- Store fresh ginger in a tightly wrapped plastic bag in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Fresh ginger should be peeled and grated before use. In most recipes, one-eighth teaspoon of ground ginger can be substituted for one tablespoon of fresh grated ginger. Ground ginger can be found in the herbs and spices section of most grocery stores.
- Ginger have an anti-blood-clotting ability when eaten along with garlic and onions, which have powerful mainstay against stroke and heart attacks.
- Chewing raw ginger is a common good remedy for nausea during cancer treatment.
- Pregnant women experiencing morning sickness can safely use ginger to relieve nausea and vomiting, often in the form of ginger lozenges or candies. But pregnant women should be careful with ginger. Some experts worry that it could raise the risk of miscarriage, especially in high doses.
Few tips to use ginger:
- Add fresh ginger into your juice
- Add fresh or dried ginger to your next stir-fry or homemade salad dressing
- Steep peeled fresh ginger in boiling water to make your own ginger tea
- Use fresh or dried ginger to spice up any fish recipe.
Ginger Tea: Steep fresh grated ginger root in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes and enjoy. Drink no more than 2 cups daily.
Ginger Bath: Take 2 tablespoons of fresh Ginger and place in a small mesh bag. Throw into a warm bathtub. Let steep for 20 minutes; bath for 20 minutes.
Health risks of consuming ginger:
- Avoid consuming ginger if you are breastfeeding or in late pregnancy.
- People with ulcers and intestinal diseases should not consume ginger.
- People with hypersensitive skin should not use ginger essential oil.
- Avoid consuming if you suffer from an allergy.
Consuming more than 5 grams a day increases the chances of side effects. Ginger on the skin may cause a rash. Consumption may cause:
- Upset stomach
- Mouth irritation