Zingiber officinale is commonly known as Ginger. It is an underground stem herb that is most commonly used a spice and also for medicinal purposes.
Plant Family – Zingiberaceae
Botanical Name – Zingiber officinale
Sanskrit – ardraka syn. = vishva, nagar, vishvabheshaj, katubhadra, vishvoushadha, sauparna, shringvera, katugranthi, mahaushadha, katushan
English – Ginger
Hindi – Adrak
Malayalam/ Tamil – Engi
About the Plant
Ginger or ginger root is a perennial herb that is common in Asia. Ginger grows 1 meter tall with underground rhizomes. It has light green, thin and strap like leaves, flowers are green and unimportant. Ginger grows well in monsoon forest regions where the soil is well drained. It requires a frost free climate and 1500 mm of rainfall in a year or proper water supply.
Ginger is harvested 8 months after planting. You can make out that it is time by seeing the leaves that turn yellow and dried. Digging carefully at the side, you can pick up Ginger from the ground.
Ginger can be used in different forms like fresh, dried and powdered, juice or oil. It is commonly used in cases of stomach problems or acidity or indigestion, colic, nausea and vomiting after surgery, loss of appetite, morning sickness, etc.
Upper respiratory tract infections, cough and bronchitis can be cured by Ginger. Fresh ginger is used to treat acute bacterial dysentery, malaria, baldness, poisonous snake bites, migraine headache, toothaches, and rheumatism.
Dried ginger is used for chest pain, low back pain and stomach pain. For burns on the skin, some people use juice extracted from ginger for healing. Oil prepared from ginger are also applied on the skin to relieve pain.
Ginger is also used as a flavoring agent. It has a strong smell and hence the fragrance is used in soaps and cosmetics. One of the ingredients in ginger is used for making laxative, anti gas and antacid medicines.
Uses of Ginger
- It is a commonly used spice in cuisines throughout the world.
- Ginger reduces nausea by increasing digestive fluids, absorbing and neutralizing toxins and stomach acids.
- It reduces the stickiness of blood platelets and hence reducing the chances of atherosclerosis.
- It is very effective against nausea and vomiting related to surgery, morning sickness, vertigo, and travel sickness.
- It is widely used as a flavoring agent for cakes, chutneys, curries, candies and beverages.
- Ginger has antihistamine properties which are very helpful in treating allergies. Ginger is the best home remedy for persistent cough and sore throat due to cold. For sore throat, take 1 teaspoon ginger juice with honey. To get rid of congestion in throat and nose, prepare ginger tea. For people suffering from asthma, take fresh ginger juice mixed with fenugreek and honey.
- In case of indigestion, either chew a piece of ginger or drink ginger juice for immediate relief. Ginger also helps to settle down gas formation and bloated feeling in the stomach.
- Ginger if taken at the beginning of the menstrual cycle can reduce pain.
- Diluted paste of ginger applied on the forehead can give relief from migraine headache.
- The analgesic and anti inflammatory property of ginger helps in reducing joint pain of arthritis. Ginger oil included in daily bath is very effective.
- Ginger has high levels of antioxidants and has the ability to induce cell death and suppress certain protein. It is also said to be very effective against cancer.
- It helps to maintain normal blood circulation.
- Everyday consumption of ginger helps to strengthen immunity.
- It helps in cleaning colon.
- It has antimicrobial properties, helping to heal sores and wounds.
- It protects our liver and stomach.
- The anti inflammatory property of ginger helps in relief from swelling and pain.
- Pregnant women should be careful before taking ginger.
- Topical use of ginger can cause allergies.
- Ginger should not be taken with other medications.
- It is advised to not take ginger more than four grams per day.
- Ginger should not be given to children who are under age 2.
- If an individual has bleeding disorder, ginger should be avoided.