- It is more than a spice: it has several positive effects.
Ginger is a rhizome of Zingiber Officinale. This perennial plant is indigenous at the south-western coast of India and the Malabar Coast. In China and India, it is used as a herb and spice for thousands of years. It is one of the most valuable and most popular spices worldwide. However, it is not so common in Europe, even though it was considered an important foodstuff at the time of the Roman Empire.
Ginger root is in fact not really a root. It is a rhizome, i.e. an underground stem. It can be “harvested” all year, depending on location. It can be harvested 5 months after planting already. From the plants which have been harvested early, ginger syrup or crystallized ginger is made. Later harvests are usually sold fresh. The longer it stays under the ground, the more spicy its taste gets and the better it gets for homeopathic use.
Many like raw ginger. Some soak it in water for a couple of hours and add it to their meals shortly before consumption. This makes food taste much fresher, spicier and hotter. Cooking makes the freshness go, while it enhances the spicy-hot flavor. Ginger is often used in ground form, in curry or other spicy pasta dishes.
Ginger pieces are often used for spicing meals that need to be steamed for a long time. Flavors are oozing from the pieces slowly, so they are perfect for this purpose.
Ginger tea is made by boiling fresh ginger pieces for a few minutes. It is a healthy and spicy drink, which is suitable for diminishing the unpleasant consequences of both tropical or cold climate.
If drunk before a long travel, it can diminish the symptoms of sea sickness. It can help cure indigestion, cold or headache; may reduce sweating, freshen up the breath and it is also an aphrodisiac. As a footbath, cold ginger tea can help reduce the sense of burning and itchiness caused by athlete’s foot.
Ginger is often used to cure common cold. It is also a potent painkiller, has antiviral properties, may reduce blood pressure and prevent arteriosclerosis. Furthermore, it purifies the intestines, reduces cramps, stimulates blood circulation and revs up metabolism.
Many use it to cure colitis, nausea, gases, digestive problems, irritable bowel syndrome, morning sickness, diarrhea, fever or headache. It ha a positive effect on the stomach, because it increases the pH of stomach acid and thus reduces acidification. This slows down digestion and enhances the activity of digestive enzymes.
Ginger is also used for enhancing the mood. Its cineole content may bring stress relief. So, don’t be surprised if your doctor recommends you to drink some ginger ale after a hard day.
If taken in normal amounts, it has no side effects. There is no information about any interference with medicines either.
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