Ginger root, a zesty and zingy, sweet yet peppery flavored spicy herb, besides being an ingredient in many recipes and cuisines, is an excellent natural remedy for many cures.
Botanical name: Zingiber Officinale
Hindi name: ‘Adrak’
Origin: Its current name ‘Ginger’ comes from the Middle English word ‘gingivere’, but ginger dates back over 3,000 years to the Sanskrit word -‘Srngaveram’ meaning “horn root” with reference to its appearance.
You can slice, grate, and smash ginger into a paste and use it in marinating and cooking meat and vegetables. It can also be sugared or soaked in honey and then eaten or dropped into a tea decoction and drunk. Ginger is available in many forms: fresh, dried, pickled, preserved, crystallized, candied, powdered or ground.
Ginger’s medicinal uses are many. It is known to be a stimulant, carminative, anti-oxidant, anti-inflamatory, rubefacient, diaphoretic, aromatic, emmenagogue, sialagogue, anti-depressant, and expectorant.
– A cure for Nausea, Vomiting, Motion Sickness and Morning Sickness: Biting on ginger with salt, or ginger with honey, alleviates symptoms of nausea and vomiting. The pungent constituents of ginger reduces vomiting, and forms a safe remedy for morning sickness, since it does not harm the fetus.
-A cure for Stomach Upsets: Ginger is a reputed carmative, an agent that helps break up and expel intestinal gas. It is used for abdominal bloating and as a digestive aid, used in Dyspepsia. But it not only stimulates digestion, it is known to soothe the digestive system and help in diarrhea. Ginger may also protect the stomach from the damaging effect of alcohol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) and may help prevent ulcers.
-Relieves Cold and Cough: The extracted juice from crushing ginger, added with honey should be consumed in frequent intervals to alleviate cold. A dash of lime with ginger juice works similarly. Thinly sliced ginger soaked in honey overnight, should be eaten on an empty stomach for clearing a sore throat. Ginger gargle can give sore throat relief.
Ginger Tea: Adding a few pieces of ginger to boiled water before adding tea leaves when making tea, is an effective remedy for frequent colds and associated fevers.
Alternatively a Decoction made by boiling chopped ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and rock sugar(misri) in half a glass of water, for five minutes and consumed in regular intervals during the day, helps in congestion and cold.
Helps relieve Head Ache: Dry ginger powder mixed with water, applied on forehead is said to help in relieving headaches got from cold and sinus.
– For Menstrual Pains and Cramps: Regular drinking of Ginger decoction in regular intervals throughout the day, during early days of menstruation, avoids painful dysmenorrhea and menstrual cramps.
Ginger Decoction recipe- To make ginger decoction, slice some ginger root and add to water in a teapot. Warm the tea pot till water is boiling, and concentrates a little. Sweeten with honey or drink it straight.
-An aid in Circulation: Ginger like garlic supports a healthy cardiovascular system. It too makes blood platelets less sticky, and thins the blood, for better circulation. But it is not as effective as garlic. Ginger also is said to aid in reduction of cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. It is a stimulant of the peripheral circulations in cases of bad circulations chilblains and cramps.
In reducing Fever: In feverish conditions ginger can act as a useful diaphoretic (promote perspiration)
-Relieves Migraine Headaches: drinking ginger tea or decoction is said to help in relieving migraine headaches.
– In Motion Sickeness. Put few drops of ginger oil on a cotton ball and place behind ear. Drinking ginger tea or ginger capsules help too.
-Relieves symptoms of food poisoning.
-Reputed as a stimulant and Aphrodisiac.
-Used externally in treating fibrositis and muscle sprain treatments. Arthritis pain, swelling and inflammations.
-Spa Supplement -Interestingly, ginger can be an ingredient for a soothing and tingling bath for aching muscles (if you don’t mind the ginger smell of course).
Ginger bath recipe -Cut an inch or so of fresh ginger, put it in a saucepan with around 1 1/2 pints of cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until the water turns yellow. Squeeze out the ginger pieces further and then strain and add to your bath tub. This bath may be good before going to bed.
Side effects: The side effects of ginger are rare when used as recommended. But it must be taken in moderation, to avoid heartburn and gastric irritation.
Recipe for Candied or Crystallized Ginger :
Wash and Peel the skin of about 1 pound of fresh ginger.
- Thinly slice the root.
- In a saucepan add enough water and ginger and cook for approximately 30 till the ginger is tender. Do not burn the ginger.
- Drain the excess water and weigh the ginger pieces.
- Add equal weight of sugar and ginger in a saucepan with 3 tablespoon water and boil stirring frequently till water disappears and ginger gets transparent.
- Reduce heat and cook till the ginger is dry and coated in sugar.
- Store in airtight container for couple of months.