In Ayurveda, ginger is called the “universal spice” because of its many health benefits, because it balances all body types and is suitable in all seasons.
Ginger was used medicinally in ancient China, India, and Rome. As the demand for ginger grew, it was soon being cultivated all over the world. Today it is now cherished as a key spice and super food.
Ginger (Zingiber official) is one of the most researched plants on the planet. Thus, countless articles and sources will be listing countless benefits and uses of ginger. This can be overwhelming, so in this article I will sum the essentials and how to use ginger.
Benefits of Ginger:
Perhaps gingers most famous claim to fame is the wonders it does for healthy digestion. It enkindles the digestive fire, whets the appetite, improves assimilation and effectively transports the nutrients of other foods to targeted body tissues. This is why is should be incorporated into your cooking regularly! It reduces gas and bloating(1) and occasional heart burn.(2) Ginger supports colon health and in one study was shown to prevent colon cancer cells in mice.(3)
The most prized uses of ginger along side digestion, is it’s anti-inflammatory action. It is potent at reducing muscular and joint pain by means of boosting the body’s natural inflammation pathways and by blocking the 5-Lox (5-lipoxygenase) degenerative enzyme.(4)
With its pungent taste and action, ginger clears the respiratory tract, scrubs off accumulated mucus and toxins thus boosts immunity. It similarly clears the upper respiratory system and helps combat allergies, rhinitis and sinus problems.
Ginger is a natural antioxidant so powerful that it protected mice against lethal dosages of radiation.(5) In other words, ginger protects oxygen from breaking down vital parts of our cells and causing them to degrade.
Nausea and Motion Sickness
Regularly consumption of ginger will leave you less likely to get motion sickness or air-sickness. Numerous studies have been done with sailors who took powdered ginger were half as likely to get motion sickness. Similarly pregnant women who took ginger were less likely to experience morning sickness.(3)
How To Use Ginger
Everyone should be incorporating this universal spice into their diet daily. Especially those with digestive concerns, joint issues, respiratory issues like asthma and cancer.
- Cook with everything – Add fresh ginger root thinly cut or grated into your meals. I love to fry it with ghee along with other spices like cumin seeds, fennel seeds, onion, garlic then add it to my dish, whatever it may be.
- Meat – As meat is vulnerable to acquiring infections and cancerous bacteria, ginger with its anti-cancer properties is vital to add to the cooking of meat. It also makes meat (a heavy food) lighter to digest. Additionally add turmeric and black pepper when cooking meat.
- Dried ginger powder is preferred to be used in drinks such as Golden Milk. Fresh ginger root contains more gingerol (its active constituent) and is therefore considered more effective than the dry power.
- Ginger Slices – slice some ginger root into small coin sized slices. Spread them out on a plate and sprinkle them with salt and fresh lemon juice. Chew on one or two before meals to boost digestive strength. Store in the fridge until meal time.
- Juice it up – If you are drinking vegetable juices (not recommended overall) or fruit juices, add fresh ginger juice to make the juice easier to digest. Ginger juice + honey + back pepper + cardamom is also great remedy for cough.
- Cough & Cold Home Remedy: Honey + Spice Paste – Mix honey with ginger powder / juice + other spices to make a simple and very tasty paste. Keep in jar and eat 1tsp often during a cough and cold and to increase immunity and fight infections. Recipe Here.
Sanskrit name: Shunti
Rasa (taste): Pungent
Virya (action): Heating
Vipaka (post-digestive effect): Sweet
Gunas (Qualities): Light, sharp, oily
Doshas: Pacifies all 3 doshas. mainly Kapha and Vata.