Named by English botanist William Roscoe in the early 1800s, Zingiber officinale is commonly known as ginger. It has green stems that can grow a metre high and is valued for its rhizomes that can be consumed fresh or dried. Since ancient times Ginger has been used as a herbal medicine in Asian and Arab countries. It originated in South-East Asia, spread across Asia and other tropical regions and was exported to ancient Rome from India. Today, ginger is widely grown all over the world as a major commercial spice crop. Ayurveda gives ginger the status of a virtual medicine chest. That’s because this spice has time-tested, digestion-friendly properties, while providing numerous other health benefits as well. Ginger has been used in China for over 2,000 years to help support digestion and treat diarrhea, nausea and upset stomach. Ginger can be consumed in various forms, primarily powder, tablets and capsules to avail its health benefits.
What is Ginger?
Ginger is a sweet, pungent and aromatic herb that has expectorant properties. It is a part of the Zingiberaceae family, as are cardamom, turmeric and galangal. The part of the plant recognised as ginger root is not a root actually, it is a rhizome. This flavoursome plant is used in many recipes, and in some Asian cuisines, it is pickled and served as an accompaniment. The healing property of ginger comes from the volatile oils, such as gingerols, that are responsible for its strong taste. Ginger as a herb is used in spice for its therapeutic qualities. The underground stem, the rhizome can be used fresh, powdered, dried, or as an oil or juice. Pungent, spicy ginger root is one of the popular root herbs of culinary, as well as medicinal importance. The root ginger composes unique phytochemical compounds and still finds a special place in many traditional Indian and Chinese medicines for its disease preventing and health promoting properties.
For thousands of years, Ginger has been used to treat innumerable ailments. Below are the various health benefits of Ginger:
- Consuming ginger may help decrease muscle soreness, inflammation and relieves osteoarthritis pain.
- Ginger aids in digestion by increasing saliva and other digestive fluids. This alleviates digestion and other associated problems like flatulence.
- Ginger herb is known to relieve the sensation of nausea and morning sickness. It is helpful in reducing the symptoms of motion sickness as well.
- Munching ginger in raw form can treat tummy moaning and groaning under cramps.
- Adding ginger in raw or powdered form in the tea can help you get rid of throat and nose congestion.
- Rich in aphrodisiac properties, adding a pinch of ginger into your soup bowl can help in treating bedroom blues.
- Fresh form of Ginger is used for various diseases like asthma, cough, colic, heart palpitation, swelling, dyspepsia, loss of appetite and rheumatism, whereas its root when taken in dried form can strengthen stomach and treat diarrhea.
- This wonder herb when taken during the beginning of menstrual period can help reduce menstrual pain in women.
- Application of ginger paste in diluted form can relieve migraine and headaches.
- Ginger is a rich source of antioxidant that helps you fight against cell damage and diseases caused by free radicals.
In the end, it would not be incorrect to say that ginger is useful both preventively and therapeutically. This wonder herb is one of the best natural remedies for problems, such as cough, cold, digestive disorder, heart palpitation, swelling etc. Its antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant and anti-parasitic properties makes it a must-have herb for every home. So, regular consumption of ginger in fresh or other forms, including tablets, capsules or powder can benefit you and your entire family.