Ginger is a perennial plant which has an extremely beneficial effect upon human organism. It is one of the first oriental spices known by the Chinese and Indians to have reached the Mediterranean Sea.
Ginger has various applications. Initially its root was used only in medicine – against aging and sexual weakness. It gained much popularity as a spice in the Middle Ages. Its aroma and spicy flavor makes it popular and a little bit strange at the same time in our lands. The root of the plant is used as a spice in every possible form – fresh, dried, marinated, boiled, stewed. The lemon smell and stinging flavor are specific for the fresh ginger which is widely used especially in Asia.
Ginger has more than 12 types of anti-oxidants, oleoresins, essential oil, proteins, calcium, phosphorus, iron, folic acid, manganese, vitamin C and vitamins from group B which makes it useful for many diseases. Almost all of the folk beliefs concerning it are scientifically proven. Ginger root and its extracts possess numerous pharmacological properties: they stimulate the vasomotor and respiratory centers in the brain and lower blood cholesterol levels. Zingerone is a compound of ginger with anti-inflammatory properties. Other components reduce the production of prostaglandins thus relieving pain. Its essential oils are natural killers of the influenza and colds viruses. The acetone extracts, widely known as gingerol are responsible for the increase in bile production thus improving digestion and absorption of food. These substances lower the thrombocyte aggregation which prevents the vessels from thrombosis and inflammation. Ginger is proven to fasten metabolism and toxin excretion which makes it an essential aid in the process of weight reduction. Its use as aphrodisiac is curious, mentioned even in Kama Sutra and is due to the fact it improves the circulation throughout the body thus delivering oxygen to the most delicate zones.
Ginger decoction from a fresh root is useful in colds and flu – it is prepared as 1-2 pieces of the root are boiled for 10 minutes. Tinctures from the same root are used as a warmer stimulus for the circulation and against nausea. The dried root decoction is used as a restorative ‘yang’ or energizing spleen, in abdominal fullness and gases. Capsules are made of powdered dried root and are suitable to take before travelling or in cases of morning nausea.
The essential oil is used in massages for rheumatism, lumbago or bone and joint injuries. Oil drops on a sugar cube are prescribed in France for flatulence, high temperature and appetite stimulation. Fresh ginger juice mixed with natural butter is applied on the scalp against dandruff and for gargle for sore throat it is mixed with lemon juice and honey. The fresh brittle ginger can be cut and consumed in salads or used in the preparation of pickles, curry and chutney.
Do not hesitate to experiment with this natural anti-oxidant and antiseptic, well-known with its beneficial effects on the whole organism worldwide.