Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a plant that was first discovered in the tropical forests of South Asia and has been utilized for centuries both in food, as a spice, and as a support in integrative medicine.
Its name comes from the word singivera in the Pali language, spoken in the past in India, a word that means in the shape of a deer’s horn. Pythagoras promoted ginger for its benefits being used from antiquity.
Ginger is also used in Chinese medicine to relieve pains related to the digestive system, coughs, or relieve pain caused by rheumatism.
It is a spice appreciated especially in oriental cuisine for its active ingredients – including terrenes, oleoresins, and volatile oils, which are giving it beneficial properties to help in various diseases, such as indigestion, nausea or colds.
Ginger can be used in different forms: powder, extract, tincture, capsules or ginger oil, for which the recommended dose varies depending on the beneficial effect sought. Doses can vary from 2 g/day divided into different doses or 4 cups of tea/day, but these doses must be approved by a doctor or a specialist consultant.
Boiling the ginger root for tea makes the hot taste more intense, but the aroma spreads as some of the volatile oils evaporate during the boiling process. In Thailand, for example, ginger is grated and then mixed with other spices to make curry paste.
In India, ginger is boiled in milk and then coffee is added.
Benefits of ginger
If the ginger root is used regularly, it is advisable to monitor its nutritional values especially for the high content of potassium and magnesium.
In fact, they have led to several clinical studies conducted by universities and clinics specialized in nutrition, which militate on the importance and power of this spice. Here are some of the most important benefits to the body of daily consumption of ginger.
Stimulates digestive function
Ginger is stimulating enzymes with an effective role in the absorption of nutrients preventing the occurrence of indigestion, bloating or digestive discomfort. Because it has anti-inflammatory properties it helps the stomach muscles relax, enabling the digestive system to process food better.
Stimulating the digestive system makes ginger an appreciated ingredient if you want to have a flat belly and have a good diet, because it is accelerating the metabolism. This means that fat is burning faster and toxins are easier eliminated from the body.
Prevention of oral infections
The ginger root has a proven role in preventing infections, inhibiting the growth of bacteria that cause, for example, gum diseases such as periodontitis and gingivitis.
Antioxidant and energizer
Supporting the cognitive function in the aging process and contributing to memory improvement and reaction time, ginger is used among other antioxidants in anti-aging treatments. At the same time, it has an energizing effect on the body, which rivals the effect of coffee – a cup of ginger tea harvested from reliable sources is a very tasty and healthy option.
Inflammation and oxidative stress accelerate the process of cellular aging, and this effect leads to a number of degenerative diseases. Therefore, any antioxidant compound is beneficial and brings a number of improvements that support a healthy life.
Remedy for colds and flu
This spice has a diaphoretic effect, through the activating properties of the sweating process. In addition to reducing the effects of flu and colds, ginger also helps the immune system, supporting the body to fight against pathogens (viruses or bacteria), in respiratory problems and in reducing the risk of infection.
Helps lowering cholesterol
High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides endanger your health, leading to a number of cardiovascular problems. A clinical study published in the Saudi Medical Journal shows that it significantly reduces the cholesterol levels only by consuming 3 grams of ginger a day, divided into 3 doses over a 45-day period.
At the same time, ginger is a vasodilator and can help lower blood pressure, which makes blood flow to the body easier and prevents blood clots from forming.
Ginger has the quality of preventing seasickness or carsickness and can be used safely and against the dizziness that sometimes accompanies nausea. Studies have shown these beneficial effects of ginger.
Helps to reduce inflammation
The ginger root can be recommended as an anti-inflammatory, being indicated when muscle fever, joint pain, dislocations or sprains are experienced. Sterile compresses soaked in the water that ginger root was boiled can help in pain reduction and reduce swallowing.
Moreover, researches in the field of recovery medicine confirm the beneficial effects that ginger has as an adjunct in the complementary treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
It can help reduce the intensity of pain and improve mobility. Ginger compresses do not only help with the joint pain but can also help in relieving menstrual pain because it relaxes the abdominal muscles.
Contributes to hair care
Ginger extract is an ingredient present in many cosmetics with antioxidant or moisturizing effect. At the same time, it is used in natural treatments against hair loss, contributing to the regeneration of follicles. Ginger water can be sprayed on the hair to help it become silkier and stimulate hair roots to regrow.
Good news! Ginger can be used to fight cellulite. It can be added in the exfoliating lotion, simple as that.
When it is applied, the added ginger will have a warming effect on the skin. Ginger reduces inflammation and improves circulation.
Follow these instructions to prepare an anti-cellulite cream:
- in a cup of sea salt add a tablespoon of grated ginger and prepare a bowl with ginger juice
- mix the ingredients and add a fragrance-free body cream
- apply the cream obtained on the areas with cellulite and you will gradually notice an improvement in the appearance of the skin
Remember, better results will shop up if the lotion is applied regularly.
Strengthens nails and stimulates their growth
A ginger nail mask is perfect to strengthen them and stimulate their growth. To prepare it, mix two tablespoons of shea butter with two tablespoons of avocado oil, one drop of patchouli essential oil, four drops of ginger oil and three drops of lemon essential oil.
Ways to get the benefits of ginger
Ginger can help in many diseases and can be consumed under various forms. Below are some ideas on how to consume ginger.
Two teaspoons of grated ginger can be mixed with a teaspoon of mint, lime, and basil. The decoct is then added to 700 milliliters of boiling water and left to infuse for 15 minutes.
The tea obtained this way is sweetened with a little honey. It is said to be very useful in colds.
People that suffer from stomach or lungs inflammation should not consume ginger tea.
Side effects, although rare may be present when ginger is consumed in large quantities on a daily bases, thus ginger treatment should be followed with precaution. Sensitive people may also experience heartburn due to this tea.
Pregnant women and people diagnosed with gallstones should consult their doctor before consuming ginger tea.
Ginger syrup is prepared from six roots of grated ginger mixed with honey. One tablespoon of ginger must be added to two tablespoons of honey and the mixture is left for maceration for 2 weeks before it can be consumed. First the syrup must be filtered.
It is prepared from five to six roots of grated ginger and honey. The ratio is two tablespoons of honey to one of ginger.
The mixture is left to soak for 14 days before being consumed. After maceration, the syrup is filtered. Two tablespoons can be added to a glass of water.
But from ginger, cider can also be made. You need 5 liters of plain water, two teaspoons of grated ginger root, 900 grams of brown sugar, 3 shock inflorescences, two tablespoons of rose petals, 4 slices of lemon and 10 grains of rice.
The above ingredients are soaked in a jar, covered with gauze, and mixed daily for five days. After this period, if the temperature of the room where the composition was kept exceeds 25 degrees Celsius, the cider is strained, bottled and kept cold until consumption.
Ginger as a spice
Ginger can be added in soups to salads, juices or cakes, sliced or grated. Gingerbread and apple or pumpkin cakes have a particular invigorating aroma due to ginger and can be served with coffee or tea.
A healthy dessert can be made out of ginger roots. The root is cut into cubes or slices and left to air-dry. After it dries out it can be sprinkled with honey and left for one more day to air-dry.
Ginger marinated or in vinegar
Some people consume ginger marinated in honey pickled in brine or vinegar. They say it has an extravagant aroma. You have nothing to lose if you try it, it could be perfect for your taste.
It would be a shame not to benefit from this marvelous natural ingredient that can be easily found and prepared.