Sweet and hot with a fruity note: Ginger is not only a popular spice in Asia. But the tuber is not only popular because of its spicy taste: its medicinal properties have also been valued for thousands of years. Natural helper for colds, infections and nausea: why ginger should not be missing in any medicine cabinet.
The spice gives many Asian dishes, such as curry, its typically spicy, hot taste. But the golden yellow to orange colored tuber can do more than just refine food and drinks: ginger has long been known for its healing powers and was even voted medicinal plant of the year in 2018.
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Ginger: what part of the plant is eaten?
The exact origin of the herb with the Latin name Zingiber officinale has not been conclusively clarified. Today it is mainly grown in parts of Asia such as China, India, Thailand and Indonesia as well as in South America and Africa. The ginger plant is closely related to cardamom and turmeric, which also thrive in tropical climates and are mainly found in Asia.
Ginger is also known as ginger root, which comes from the bulbous-root appearance of the edible part of the plant. From a botanical point of view, this is wrong: the yellowish-orange part of the ginger plant that is usually consumed is a so-called rhizome. This is a main shoot that usually grows underground, which is thickened as a storage organ and from which the actual roots extend downwards and green parts of the plants upwards.
Nutrient-rich storage tuber: This is in the miracle root
As a storage organ of the plant, the ginger rhizome is rich in nutrients. Although ginger is quite low in calories at around 80 kilocalories per 100 grams, it is full of vitamins and minerals. These include in ginger:
Hotness: Protection of the ginger plant from predators
Pungent substances in plants serve to protect against predators and germs such as bacteria and fungi. What protects the plant from pests also benefits the human organism: the pungent substances in ginger, in particular gingerol and shogaol, are responsible for its health benefits.
Ginger: used in traditional Chinese medicine
Ginger has been used as a medicinal plant for thousands of years. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the golden yellow root tuber is used to treat a wide variety of diseases and symptoms, including:
The effect of ginger and its ingredients is also of great interest in science. Numerous studies examine the aromatic plant and its effects on human health. Among other things, the pharmacological effectiveness in cancer, diabetes mellitus, asthma and cardiovascular problems is researched.
Natural anti-emetic: treat nausea with ginger
The effect of the essential oils in ginger as helpers against stomach problems such as nausea and vomiting has been well documented in both adults and children. The active ingredients start in the brain and suppress nausea there: Ginger is therefore an anti-emetic. The spice is also said to help with morning sickness during pregnancy – without any side effects.
Ginger can also be used as a support during chemotherapy for cancer therapy if nausea and nausea repeatedly occur in the course of the treatment.
To counteract the nausea, freshly brewed tea with fresh ginger helps particularly well. To do this, simply put the chopped ginger in a tea strainer and pour boiling water over it, let it steep for about ten minutes and then remove the strainer. If necessary, refine with honey or lemon. Ginger can also be taken as a capsule or drops, which is particularly useful when you are on the go, in case of travel sickness.
Exception: Even if ginger works well against most stomach problems, people who frequently suffer from heartburn or have an irritable stomach and cannot tolerate heat well should avoid ginger, as the hot and spicy ingredients could aggravate the problem.
For colds and infections: anti-inflammatory ginger?
The spiciness of the ginger irritates the mucous membranes, which leads to better blood circulation and locally to an increased defense reaction. Therefore, ginger can be particularly helpful for infections of the upper respiratory tract.
In addition, studies show an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect of ginger, for example in relation to menstrual cramps and osteoarthritis. For inflammatory joint pain (arthritis), taking ginger can relieve the symptoms and reduce the need for pain medication (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)) – a study showed that taking ginger extract relieved pain as well as treating pain with the active ingredient Ibuprofen.
Treat back pain with ginger
The pungent substances in ginger, like the ingredients in paprika plants, can help treat muscle tension and pain. The blood circulation is promoted and inflammation is inhibited. Ginger wraps have a similar effect to heat patches from the pharmacy. To do this, simply cut up fresh ginger and pour boiling water over it and leave it covered for about a quarter of an hour. Wet a towel with the ginger stock and place it on the painful area. A lukewarm hot water bottle is placed over it. Ginger can also be grated or wrapped in a cloth as a paste for the wraps.
Ginger against cancer?
The latest research suggests that the spicy tuber may inhibit the growth of cancer cells, especially with regard to prostate cancer and breast cancer. It has not yet been conclusively clarified whether ginger can prevent cancer or support treatment. The effects were shown in studies on mice; further research is required in each case.
Fresh breath: ginger as a miracle weapon against bad breath
As a study showed, ginger effectively relieves bad breath. Unlike many products, the great tuber with its numerous essential oils not only covers the unpleasant smell, the gingerol contained in ginger leads to the breakdown of odor-forming substances, so that fresh breath remains lasting.
In addition, the stubborn aftertaste of some foods, such as coffee, is neutralized by the ginger. Finely cut slices of ginger are also served to neutralize individual pieces of sushi: They neutralize the taste, which means that every bite offers a new taste experience.
So if you suffer from bad breath, you would rather use ginger than chewing gum: a natural variant for fresh breath.
Recipe: make your own ginger shot
The trendy drink can be bought in many supermarkets, but you can also easily make ginger shots yourself at home. The spicy, hot drinks not only taste delicious and refreshing, they also act as an immune booster.
Ingredients for eight ginger shots:
- 100 grams of fresh ginger
- 2 lemons
- 1 apple
- 3 oranges
- 1 tablespoon of turmeric
This is how the ginger shots are prepared:
- Peel the ginger and apple. Chop and core the apples, grate the ginger.
- Juice citrus fruits.
- Put juice of lemons and organs in the blender, add other ingredients. Don’t forget turmeric. Puree the ingredients finely.
The delicious ginger shots can be drunk immediately or kept chilled for about five days. The shots can also be frozen very well. For example in ice cube molds: this way, a shot can be thawed as needed!
Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by www.lifeline.de.
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