Ginger is an erect perennial herb that has thick tuberous rhizomes (underground stems and roots). Ginger’s botanical name, Zingiber officinale, is likely derived from its Sanskrit name, singabera, meaning “horn-shaped.” The rhizome is branched with small “arms,” usually 2 inches/5 centimeters in circumference. A piece of the rhizome is often called a “hand.” It has a pale yellow interior and a skin varying in color from brown to off-white. Jamaican ginger, which is pale buff, is regarded as the best variety.
African and Indian ginger is darker-skinned and generally inferior, with the exception of Kenya ginger, and its ﬂesh can be yellow, white, or red in color, depending upon the variety. The brown skin may be thick or thin, depending upon whether the plant was harvested when it was mature or young, respectively. Ginger rhizome has a ﬁrm yet striated texture and boasts a taste that is fragrant, pungent, and hot. Interestingly, according to Chinese tradition, dried ginger tends to be hotter energetically than its fresh counterpart.
Forms of Ginger
1. Whole fresh roots. These provide the freshest taste. The roots are collected and shipped when they are still immature; the outer skin is a light green color.
2. Dried roots. These are sold either “black” with the root skin left on, or “white” with the skin peeled off. The dried root is available whole or sliced.
3. Powdered ginger. This is the buff-colored ground spice made from dried root.
4. Preserved or ‘stem” ginger. This is made from fresh young roots, peeled and sliced, then cooked in a heavy sugar syrup. The ginger pieces and syrup are canned together. They are soft and pulpy but extremely hot and spicy.
5. Crystallized ginger. This is also cooked in sugar syrup, then air-dried and rolled in sugar.
6. Pickled ginger. The root is sliced paper thin and pickled in a vinegar solution. This pickle, known in Japan as gari, often accompanies sushi to refresh the palate between courses.
Types of Ginger Plants
Ginger is a monocotyledonous rhizome which belongs to the family, Zingiberaceae. Origin of the word ‘ginger’ lies in the French, gingembre and ultimately in the Tamil inji ver. This plant is mainly used for medicinal purpose. Ginger is also used as a spice for adding taste to food. Knowing more about the different types should educate us about this useful plant.
Ginger Plant Types
The characteristic feature of ginger plants is that its flower possess unusual shapes. The different types of ginger plants have great variety in floral arrangement, size of rhizomes, shapes of leaves, etc.
This ginger plant is indigenous to the region of southeast Asia. Botanical name of spiral ginger is Costus speciosus. Stalks of the costus are bamboo-shaped and they form a circular pattern by means of twisting; this is the reason why the plant is referred to as spiral ginger. It can grow well in a variety of climatic conditions like the subtropical, temperate and grasslands. The plant is characterized by flower heads formed of green bracts. The bracts possess a reddish tinge and are arranged in an overlapping pattern. Blooming season of the spiral ginger is summer. This plant is used in the treatment of ailments like fever, asthma, rash, bronchitis, etc.
The hidden ginger plant is called so because, its flowers are hidden within leaves. Curcuma is however, the commonly used name for this plant. The curcuma is a deciduous plant with branched rhizomes and either green or variegated leaves. In some cases, a red blotch is found on the leaves. A special feature of stems of curcuma is that they are formed of leaf petioles; leaves arise from these petioles. These stems are therefore, also referred to as pseudo stems. Flowers of curcuma plant arise from the top of pseudo stems. Curcuma grows well in pots however, the rhizomes need frequent re-potting since it grows at a fast rate.
A herbaceous plant with upright stem, the zingiber is characterized by flowers that are creamy yellow in color. Flowers of zingibers are attached to bracts with a pine-cone shape. Bracts are green in color and possess a translucent margin. Rhizomes of this plant are warty and branched. Cones of the zingiber plants contain a milky substance that is used in the preparation of shampoos.
The butterfly lily is known by many different names i.e., Ginger Lily, Garland Lily, White Ginger plant and Hedychium. The butterfly plant is called so because its flowers closely resemble the wings of butterflies. Height of this plant ranges from half meter to 6 meters. Flowers come in a variety of shades like orange, white, red, yellow, etc. Size of the flowers is quite large and even leaves are perfumed. Hydechiums are mostly used for the purpose of gardening. Rhizomes of this plant grow quickly and therefore, one needs to transplant the hydechiums frequently.
The globba plant attains a height of around 2 feet and is characterized by flowers that hang from the stem. Leaves of the globba are long and the stems short in length. Blooming season of this plant starts in the month of July and continues up to the dormancy period in fall. Bracts of globba are mauve-purple in color. A well-drained and fertile soil is considered ideal for growing the globba; it grows well in shade. Small pieces of ginger root are used for propagation.
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This plant from southeast Asia is known for its vigorous growth. It can reach up to a height of 8 feet. Alpinias possess a fleshy pseudo stem and their flowers are smaller in size. Stem of this plant resembles that of a banana tree and it possesses leaves which exhibit a closely folded pattern. A well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter is needed for the healthy growth of this plant. Propagation of the alpinia is carried out by cutting the rhizomes.
The requirements of ginger plants need to be understood properly for the purpose of cultivation. Humid conditions would help the plant to attain healthy growth. The ginger plant has many uses and its different types and varieties add ‘flavor’ to our lives. Studying about the different types should prove to be useful in cultivating and thereby, benefiting from this plant.
Types of Ginger
Ginger is a tropical perennial native to the hot and humid parts of Asia, and it is the species most commonly used around the world for its edible rhizome. Hundreds of varieties — or cultivars — are grown commercially. Ginger grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 12, and it does best in areas with partial shade. Growing ginger in a pot that you can move indoors is an option in cooler climates. If you want to grow your own edible ginger roots, you can start with a piece of fresh ginger root from the grocery store. You’ll have to water the plant well after it develops top growth, protect it from temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and give the plant several months to develop a rhizome that’s large enough to use in the kitchen.
Grocery Store Ginger
The varieties of ginger most often sold in grocery stores in the U.S. are usually called Chinese ginger or common ginger, and they are usually imported from India and China. These varieties have relatively large rhizomes and a more subtle flavor than varieties with smaller rhizomes. Common ginger plants reach heights of about 4 feet, with a spread of 2 to 3 feet, when they have adequate space in which to grow and good growing conditions. The plant itself is not particularly attractive and doesn’t produce showy flowers. More than 50 cultivars are commonly grown in India, and even more are grown in China. Important Indian varieties include “Rio de Janeiro” and “Nadia”; important Chinese cultivars include “Gandzhou,” “Shandong Laiwu” and “Guangzhow.”
Varieties of ginger with smaller rhizomes than those of Chinese gingers are called Japanese gingers. They have a more intense flavor than Chinese ginger, but they can be used in cooking in the same way you use Chinese ginger. “Sunti” and “Kintoki” are examples of strong-flavored, small-rhizome ginger cultivars. “Sanshu” is a common Japanese cultivar with medium-sized rhizomes, and “Oshoga” is a relatively large-rhizome Japanese ginger.
Some ginger relatives produce more attractive flowers or leaves. While some produce flavorful rhizomes, they are more often used as ornamental plants. Mioga ginger (Zingiber mioga) forms upright clumps of leaf stalks that can reach 3 feet tall; “Dancing Crane” mioga ginger (Zingiber mioga “Dancing Crane”) is a particularly hardy cultivar that can survive winters in USDA zone 5 through 10. Pinecone ginger (Zingiber zerumbet), which is also sometimes called shampoo ginger, produces showy, pinecone-shaped flower bracts. Pinecone ginger typically grows to about 7 feet tall, but varieties such as “Darceyi” (Zingiber zerumbet “Darceyi”) are smaller, reaching only about 4 feet. Pinecone ginger grows in USDA zones 8 through 11.
Ginger is native to southeastern Asia, India, and China, where it has been a very liberal component of the diet. Ginger is found in ancient Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern literature and has long been valued for its aromatic, culinary, and medicinal properties. Ginger has also been important in Chinese medicine for many centuries and is mentioned in the writings of Confucius.
The Romans ﬁrst imported ginger from China almost 2,000 years ago. From that time its popularity in Europe remained focused in the Mediterranean region until the ninth century. Because ginger had to be imported from Asia, it remained a relatively expensive spice.
Nevertheless, it was still in great demand. As a result, Spanish explorers introduced ginger to the West Indies, Mexico, and South America in an effort to increase its availability. By the sixteenth century, these areas began exporting the precious herb back to Europe. Subsequently it became so popular in Europe that it was included in every table setting, like salt and pepper.
A common article of medieval and Renaissance trade, it was one of the spices used against the plague. In English pubs and taverns in the nineteenth century, bartenders put out small containers of ground ginger for people to sprinkle into their beer—the origin of ginger ale.In recent times, the top commercial producers of ginger include Jamaica, India, Fiji, Indonesia, and Australia.
Uses of Ginger
Fresh raw ginger root is a staple ingredient in Asian cuisines and is used in soups, rice, noodle, and stews. Pickled ginger is offered with sushi as a palate cleanser. World over, it is also used to flavor beverages such as tea, specialty coffees, lemonades, cocktails, and even smoothies. Ginger cookies, candied ginger, and the gingerbread man are popular holiday favorites.
You can make your own ginger tea by steeping grated ginger in boiled water. It is a natural cure for a sore throat, coughs, and colds. Ginger juice and ginger chews are other home remedies, often given to alleviate nausea and digestive problems. It is often used in herbal products such as soaps, shampoos, massage oils, and perfumes.
Ginger supplements are available in most pharmacies in the form of:
• Dried ginger root
• Powder form
• Essential oils
Nutritional Benefits Of Ginger
Most of the benefits derived from ginger are because of the presence of an active constituent called gingerol in it. It is also rich in carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and protein. In terms of minerals, it has sodium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Vitamins in it include vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6, riboflavin, and niacin.
There are many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds like pantothenic acid, beta-carotene, capsaicin, curcumin, caffeic acid, and salicylate in it. Also, the presence of active compounds like shogaol, zerumbone, terpenoids, flavonoids, paradol, and zingerone in ginger provide many health benefits.
Ginger provides a variety of vitamins and minerals:
In 100 grams (g) of fresh ginger root, there are:
- 79 calories
- 17.86 g of carbohydrate
- 3.6 g of dietary fiber
- 3.57 g of protein
- 0 g of sugar
- 14 mg of sodium
- 1.15 g of iron
- 7.7 mg of vitamin C
- 33 mg of potassium
Other nutrients found in ginger in ginger are:
- vitamin B6
Fresh or dried ginger can be used to flavor foods and drinks without adding unnecessary salt or sugar. Since it is often consumed in such small amounts, ginger does not add significant quantities of calories, carbohydrate, protein, or fiber.
Ginger Health Benefits
Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. In herbal medicine, ginger is regarded as an excellent carminative, a substance that promotes the elimination of intestinal wind, and intestinal spasmolytic, a substance that relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract. These properties can be attributed to its volatile component.
Modern scientiﬁc research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties, including carminative and intestinal spasmolytic effects, antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inﬂammatory compounds, and direct anti-inﬂammatory effects. A combination of ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and coriander is carminative and stimulating to the digestion.
An indication of ginger’s action in eliminating gastrointestinal distress is offered by recent clinical studies with ginger in preventing the symptoms of motion sickness, especially sea- sickness. In one early study ginger was shown to be far superior to Dramamine, a commonly used over-the-counter and prescription drug for motion sickness.
In the study, eighteen male and eighteen female volunteers who had previously indicated an extreme susceptibility to motion sickness were randomly divided into three groups. The ﬁrst group received a placebo, the second 100 milligrams of dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), and the third 940 milligrams of powdered ginger root 25 minutes before testing.
The subjects were then blindfolded, led to a concealed mechanical rotating chair, spun around, and asked to report their feelings of nausea every 15 seconds while they performed mental tasks. The test was stopped when the subject either vomited or asked that it be stopped. Subjects who received ginger remained in the chair an average of 5% minutes, compared with an average of 3% minutes for the dimenhydrinate group and 1% minutes for the placebo group.
Once nausea began, however, the sensations of nausea and vomiting progressed at the same rate in all groups. Ginger root appears to be equally effective for automobile, airplane, train, or boat trips. It reduces all symptoms associated with motion sickness, including dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and cold sweating.
However, unlike dimenhydrinate, which works on the central nervous system, ginger affects the gastrointestinal tract and slows the feedback interaction between the stomach and the nausea center in the brain by absorbing and neutralizing gastrointestinal hormones, toxins, and acids.
Ginger has also been used to treat the nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy, including hyperemesis gravidarum, the most severe form of pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting. This condition usually requires hospitalization.
In a double-blind trial, ginger root powder at a dose of 250 milligrams four times a day brought about a signiﬁcant reduction in both the severity of the nausea and the number of attacks of vomiting in nineteen of twenty- seven cases of hyperemesis gravidum during early pregnancy (less than twenty weeks).
Ginger also contains very potent anti-inﬂammatory compounds called gingerols. These substances are believed to explain why so many people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels and improvements in their mobility when they consume ginger regularly. Gingerols inhibit the formation of inﬂammatory cytokines, chemical messengers of the immune system.
To test the ability of ginger to reduce inﬂammation, a preliminary clinical study was conducted on seven patients with rheumatoid arthritis in whom conventional drugs had provided only temporary or partial relief. One patient took 50 grams per day of lightly cooked ginger, while the remaining six took either 5 grams of fresh ginger or 0.1 to 1 gram of powdered ginger daily.
All patients reported substantial improvement, including pain relief, increased joint mobility, and decreased swelling and morning stiffness.In the follow-up to this study, twenty-eight patients with rheumatoid arthritis, eighteen with osteoarthritis, and ten with muscular discomfort who had been taking powdered ginger for periods ranging from three months to two and a half years were evaluated.
Based on clinical observations, the researchers reported that 75 percent of the arthritis patients and 100 percent of the patients with muscular discomfort experienced relief in pain or swelling. The recommended dosage was 500 to 1,000 milligrams per day, but many patients took three to four times this amount. Patients taking the higher dosages also reported quicker and greater relief.
Ginger contains high levels of active substances, so dosages do not have to be high in order to produce beneﬁcial effects. Although most scientiﬁc studies have used powdered ginger root, fresh ginger root at an equivalent dosage is believed to yield even better results because it contains active enzymes. Most studies utilized 1 gram of powdered ginger root.
This would be equivalent to approximately 10 grams or 1/3 ounce of fresh ginger root, roughly an inch/1/2 centimeter slice. For nausea, ginger tea made by steeping one to two 1/z-inch/1—centimeter slices (one V 2- inch/1-centimeter slice equals 2/3 ounce/20 grams) of fresh ginger in a cup of hot water will likely be all you need to settle your stomach.
For arthritis, some people have found relief consuming as little as a 1/4-inch/‘/2—centimeter slice of fresh ginger cooked in food, although in the studies noted above, patients who consumed more ginger reported quicker and better relief.
Studies have concluded that ginger helps in curing nausea and vomiting connected with morning sickness in pregnancy. It has long been used as a preventive measure for motion sickness and seasickness. Cancer patients who have undergone a chemotherapy can benefit from this root as it will relieve the symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Its quick absorption and rapid regulation of body functions cure nausea in people who have undergone surgeries, without any side effects.
Nausea and vomiting, being symptoms of a migraine, can irritate people. By curing both, ginger can effectively treat a migraine and headaches that follow it.
Treats Cold and Flu
Ginger has been prescribed to fight illnesses and infection like cold and flu in all ages. It can be used in the form of tea for keeping the body warm. The tea acts as a diaphoretic and induces sweating, which removes toxins from the body and makes you healthy as before.
Aids in Digestion
Ginger has been discovered to be a facilitator of the digestive process. The elevated sugar levels after a meal may cause the stomach to reduce its natural rate of emptying its contents. It helps in regulating high sugar levels and soothing the stomach, thus, maintaining its regular rhythm. Along with that, it has a number of compounds that improve the absorption of nutrients and minerals from the food we eat. This is why ginger is frequently used as an appetizer or an aperitif since it can stimulate the appetite while preparing the digestive system for an influx of food.
Removes Excess Gas
Ginger is a very strong carminative, meaning that it induces excess gas elimination. Excess gas does much more than leaving you in an uncomfortable situation. Too much gas built up in your system can go upwards and put pressure on delicate organs in the torso. Chewing on a small piece can help force the gas out in a healthy way and also prevent additional gas from building up again.
Consuming ginger regularly can help improve the gut health. It prevents the occurrence of ulcers, which are generally characterized by bleeding and acute gastric irritability. In addition, it also inhibits the growth of H. pylori bacteria, which is a major ulcerogenic, thus keeping your stomach healthy.
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can create havoc in the body and leave you restless forever. Anti-inflammatory properties of ginger aid in treating these issues.
Reduces Arthritis Pain
Ginger is known to boost bone health and relieve joint pain associated with arthritis. It contains gingerol, which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Gingerol has been directly associated with improvements in osteoarthritis, knee inflammation, and rheumatoid arthritis. Along with that, it also suppresses the inflammatory compounds like cytokines and chemokines at the source before they begin to affect the body.
Ginger has been used traditionally as a medicine to treat respiratory disorders. Recent studies on it have also seconded its anti-inflammatory property. Zerumbone, an active compound, helps relieve asthma. Research shows that the allergic airway inflammation is majorly caused by Th2 dominance and the spicy root is successfully able to suppress it.
People suffering from tuberculosis can benefit from ginger, as it helps prevent hepatotoxicity. It also protects against the liver-damaging cadmium poisoning caused due to significant ingestion of cadmium. Its essential oil exerts a protective effect against the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease occurring because of obesity.
Ginger can aid in accelerating weight loss and managing obesity by helping boost your metabolism. It increases exercise endurance capacity so that you work out well and get back into shape to fit in that outfit you were so excited to wear.
The organic compounds like gingerol, in ginger aid in the prevention of breast cancer and many other types of cancer. They have anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent carcinogenic activity in the colon that can lead to colorectal cancer.
Recent studies have also connected gingerol to apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells, thereby reducing tumors and the growth of cancerous cells, without harming the healthy cells around them. Gingerol is also known to protect against skin cancer.
Zerumbone, in ginger, is positively linked to prevention of gastric, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer as it functions as an anti-angiogenic and antitumor drug.
Ginger is known to delay the onset of neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. These harmful factors are also to be blamed for the age-related cognitive decline. Therefore the root, with its powerful nutrients, mitigates the risk of brain damage and keeps your memory intact.
Relieves Muscle Pain
Ginger is well-known for reducing muscle pain and soreness caused due to exercising. The anti-inflammatory properties of this root are to be credited for this benefit.
Prevents Menstrual Cramps
Ginger helps reduce the levels of prostaglandins in the body, hence it aids in relieving cramps. Scientists believe that high levels of prostaglandins contribute to increased menstrual cramps. Cramps are the body’s way of alarming an individual to some type of danger or damage. In this case, prostaglandins, which are hormones that function as chemical messengers, are the key activators of symptoms such as cramps, pains, and fevers.
Boosts Heart Health
Ginger protects the cardiovascular health by lowering the LDL cholesterol levels and increasing the HDL cholesterol levels. It also reduces the risk of blood clotting, thereby helping regulate hypertension and keeping your heart healthy.
Ginger helps regulate the blood sugar levels in people suffering from type 2 diabetes. Glycemic and lipid abnormalities lead to long-term complications in diabetics. Therefore, to improve your insulin resistance and control diabetes, consider adding this root to your diet.
Detoxifies the Body
Ginger is good at promoting sweating. Sweating cleans out the pores and allows your body to eliminate toxins. Research has also shown that sweat includes a germ-fighting compound, named dermcidin. It has been positively connected to reduced bacterial and viral infections as it can create a sheen on the skin, which is a protective layer of previously unknown proteins.
Ginger is known to inhibit bacterial, viral, and fungal infection, owing to the presence of gingerol in it. It also helps in maintaining oral health by killing the pathogens in the mouth and keep the teeth and gums intact. Its antibacterial properties help wards off pathogenic bacteria that cause urinary tract infection (UTI), bronchitis, and pneumonia.
Ginger has been used since ancient times to cure diarrhea since it prevents stomach spasms and gas that contribute to and stimulate it. In China, the powdered form is given to those with diarrhea and this traditional practice is followed for thousands of years; scientists have concluded that these ancient treatments are indeed beneficial for this condition.
Ginger can help in alleviating the symptoms of eczema, owing to its anti-inflammatory properties. By adding ginger tea, or the juice to your diet, you can easily bid goodbye to many chronic skin conditions like dermatitis, acne, and psoriasis.
Increases Sexual Activity
A known aphrodisiac, ginger has been used for years to arouse desire and enhance sexual activity. Its scent has a unique allure that helps in increasing fertility and establishing a sexual connection. This root also helps increase blood circulation, hence blood flows more easily to the mid-section of the body, an important area for sexual performance.
How to Select and Store Ginger
Fresh ginger can be purchased in the produce section at most supermarkets. Ginger is generally available in two forms, either young or mature. Mature ginger, the more widely available type, has a tough skin that requires peeling, while young ginger, usually available only in Asian markets, need not be peeled. Fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks if it is left unpeeled.
Whenever possible, choose fresh ginger over dried since it is not only superior in ﬂavor but also contains higher levels of gingerol as well as ginger’s active protease, its anti-inﬂammatory compound. The bronze root should be fresh- looking, ﬁrm, smooth and free of mould, with no signs of decay such as soft spots, mildew, or a dry, wrinkled skin.
If fresh ginger is not available, dried ginger is widely available. Just as with other dried spices, when purchasing dried ginger powder, try to select organically grown ginger, since organically grown spices are much less likely to have been irradiated.
Ginger is also available in several other forms, including crystallized, candied, and pickled. It can be found in these forms in Asian markets and natural food stores. Dried ginger powder should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark, dry place for no more than six months.
Tips for Use of Ginger
A paring knife is the best utensil to remove the skin from fresh, mature ginger; gently push it off using the tip of a spoon. The ginger can then be sliced, minced, or julienned. It is important to note that the strength and taste that ginger imparts to a dish depend upon its timely addition during the cooking process. If it is added at the beginning, it will create a subtler taste; however, if you add it near the end, it will be much more pungent.
Ginger is an important spice in cooked dishes but can also be used as a fantastic addition to fresh fruit and vegetable juices, especially pineapple, carrot, and apple. Ginger tea can also be made.
Quick Serving Ideas for Ginger
• Ginger tea is great to drink when you feel a cold coming on. It is a diaphoretic tea, meaning that it will warm you from the inside and promote perspiration. It’s also good when you don’t have a cold and just want to warm up and feel good! If you have a juice extractor, juice a 1-inch/21/2 centimeter slice of ginger and 1/4 lemon and add it to 1 cup of hot water; otherwise you will need to chop the ginger up into ﬁne pieces and let it steep in the hot water. For extra ﬂavor, you may want to add 1/s teaspoon of nutmeg or cardamom.
• Ginger alternative to lemonade: First add ginger tea to ice, then add Xylitol, honey, or some other natural sweetener.
• To jazz up rice side dishes: Sprinkle 1/2 tea- spoon each diced ginger, sesame seeds, and nori strips over the rice.
• Combine 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger, 2 table- spoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon tamari, 4 tablespoons raw sesame oil, and 1 mashed clove of garlic to make a wonderful salad dressing.
• Add 1 teaspoon grated ginger and 2 table-spoons maple syrup to 2 cups pureed sweet potatoes.
• For a more pungent stir-fry, add 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger to each cup of vegetables while cooking.
Grilled Gingered Salmon
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup muscovado (dark brown) sugar
- 1 (5 inch) piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 (3 pound) whole salmon fillet with skin
- 1 untreated cedar plank
Prep Cook Ready In
10 m 20 m 12 h 30 m
- Whisk together the soy sauce, muscovado sugar, minced ginger, olive oil, and garlic in a bowl, and pour into a resealable plastic zipper bag. Add the salmon fillet, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight or up to 2 days.
- About 1/2 hour before grilling, soak cedar plank in water.
- Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate.
- Remove the salmon from the marinade, and shake off excess. Discard the remaining marinade. Place the salmon, skin side down, onto the cedar plank.
- Grill with the grill cover closed until the salmon is opaque but still juicy, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove the salmon from the plank in one piece, leaving the skin on the plank.
There are few things as comforting, flavorful and delicious as a hot cup of ginger tea. Frequently used as a quick fix for settling the stomach and easing digestive distress, fresh ginger tea benefits extend way beyond its ability to treat nausea. In fact, studies show that ginger can boost fat burning, alleviate inflammation and even control cholesterol and blood sugar.
Ginger Tea Benefits: Why Is Ginger So Good for You?
The use of ginger as a powerful natural remedy dates back thousands of years. In fact, documentation of its health-promoting properties can be traced back all the way to ancient Greek, Roman, Chinese, Sanskrit and Arabic texts.
However, it’s only in recent years that we’ve begun to uncover exactly why ginger is so good for you and the powerful effect that it can have on your health.
Research shows that ginger contains many valuable compounds like gingerol, shogaol, paradol and zingerone. Gingerol, in particular, is believed to account for most of the beneficial effects of ginger.
Some studies have found that gingerol can even effectively inhibit inflammation. While inflammation is a perfectly normal immune response, chronic inflammation is believed to be at the root of conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Thanks to its gingerol content, ginger makes the list of top anti-inflammatory foods and has been used as a natural treatment for many inflammatory conditions, ranging from arthritis to Alzheimer’s.
Not only that, but ginger has also been found to be effective in fighting against pathogenic strains of viruses, fungi and bacteria that contribute to disease.
Recent studies have continued to unearth the many ways that ginger affects health, and so far it has been shown to boast some impressive benefits. From relieving nausea to boosting brain health, enhancing weight loss and controlling blood sugar, a cup or two of ginger tea each day has the potential to make a big impact on your health.
Ginger Tea Benefits
1. Soothes the Stomach
Ginger has been used as a natural remedy for nausea, motion sickness and morning sickness for centuries. If you’re feeling a bit queasy, sipping on a hot cup of ginger root tea may be just what you need.
One study out of Thailand showed that ginger was able to decrease both nausea and vomiting in pregnant women. Plus, another study in 2012 out of the University of Rochester Medical Center even found that ginger reduced nausea severity caused by chemotherapy in adult cancer patients. To maximize the nausea-fighting potential, try adding some lemon or mint to your tea as well.
2. Enhances Immunity
Whether you’re starting to feel a bit under the weather or you have a full-blown case of the sniffles, ginger tea may be able to help give your immune system a much-needed boost. In fact, many people use ginger tea for cold symptoms, allergies and infections as an effective natural remedy.
Ginger contains compounds like gingerols, shogaol and paradols, which can help fight free radicals, reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of chronic disease, according to some test-tube studies.
Ginger root also has powerful antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Test-tube studies suggest that it may effectively protect against respiratory tract infections, fungal infections and even gum disease.
3. Protects Brain Health
Thanks to its ability to reduce inflammation, some research has found that ginger root benefits the health of your brain and could help protect against neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s.
A study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine showed that taking ginger extract for two months improved attention and cognitive function in middle-aged women. Similarly, a 2011 animal study found that ginger protected against brain damage and improved memory in rats.
4. Eases Pain
If you suffer from chronic pain in your joints or muscles, you may want to consider adding a cup of ginger tea into your routine. Ginger has been shown to alleviate inflammation, reduce muscle and joint pain, and even decrease the severity of menstrual cramps.
One study published in Arthritis and Rheumatism showed that ginger extract was able to significantly reduce knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. In the study, 261 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee were divided into a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter, parallel-group, with one getting ginger extract and the other the control. After six weeks, “the percentage of responders experiencing a reduction in knee pain on standing was superior in the ginger extract group compared with the control group.”
Another study from Georgia College and State University’s Department of Kinesiology in 2010 found that ginger decreased exercise-induced muscle pain. Further, research conducted by the Herbal Research Center at Shahed University in Iran also found that taking ginger root extract for five days significantly reduced menstrual pain severity compared to a placebo.
5. Increases Weight Loss
Looking to shed a few pounds? Try starting your day with a warm cup of ginger tea to kick up fat burning and help lose weight fast.
A 2017 review looked at 27 articles and found that ginger may be able to aid in weight loss by increasing fat breakdown, blocking fat absorption and suppressing appetite. Another study published in the European Journal of Nutrition also found that hot tea consumption was associated with a lower waist circumference and decreased body mass index. These are just a couple ways ginger tea benefits weight loss.
6. Supports Digestive Health
Some studies have found that ginger can help promote proper digestion by preventing common conditions like indigestion and stomach ulcers.
One study out of Taiwan showed that taking ginger capsules improved gastric motility and actually doubled the speed of stomach emptying to help prevent dyspepsia, or indigestion. Meanwhile, an animal study in 2011 reported that ginger powder protected against the formation of aspirin-induced stomach ulcers in rats.
7. Promotes Blood Sugar Control
Diabetes is a growing health concern around the globe. In fact, according to a 2017 review published by Population Health Management, the prevalence of diabetes is expected to increase by 54 percent between 2015 and 2030.
Ginger tea may be beneficial when it comes to maintaining normal blood sugar levels. A study in Iran supplemented 22 participants with ginger daily and found that it led to decreased fasting blood sugar and better long-term blood sugar control. Another study in 2014 showed that ginger powder improved blood sugar as well as insulin resistance in people with diabetes.
8. Keeps Cholesterol in Check
High cholesterol can build up in the blood, clogging blood vessels and increasing your risk of heart disease. Some studies have found that ginger may lower cholesterol levels to help protect the health of your heart.
An animal study conducted by the Department of Pharmacognosy and Medical Plants at Damascus University in Syria in 2013, for example, showed that ginger extract reduced total and bad LDL cholesterol with nearly the same effectiveness as a common medication used to lower cholesterol in rats. Plus, another study published in the Saudi Medical Journal found that ginger significantly decreased triglycerides, total cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol compared to a placebo.
How to Make Ginger Tea
While you can easily pick up a pack of ginger tea bags from the store, making it at home using fresh ginger is surprisingly simple and lets you customize what ingredients you add to make it all your own.
Here is an easy ginger tea recipe that you can use to get in your daily dose of ginger health benefits:
- Using a 2-inch knob of ginger, peel and cut your ginger into thin slices. Wondering how to cut ginger? It’s easier than it may look; try using a spoon to peel and scrape off the skin, then use a knife to slice it thin.
- Add ginger to a pot of water and boil 10–30 minutes, depending on how intense you want the flavor to be.
- Boiling it longer and using more ginger allows more flavor to infuse into the water, making for a stronger cup of tea.
- Once your tea is done simmering, remove from the heat, strain, discard the ginger and add in any additional optional ingredients. Try a wedge of lemon for a citrusy lemon ginger tea or try your ginger tea with honey for a bit of natural sweetness.
- Enjoy your tea hot or let it cool down and drink it as a refreshing glass of ginger water.
Although uncommon, some people may have an allergy to ginger. If you experience any food allergy symptoms, such as hives, itching or swelling, after drinking ginger tea, discontinue use immediately and talk to your doctor.
Additionally, ginger tea has been associated with mild side effects like heartburn, diarrhea and stomach pain. If you notice any of these symptoms, decrease consumption and consult with a health care practitioner if you have any concerns.
For best results, it’s recommended to stick to one to three cups of ginger tea per day to maximize ginger tea benefits and minimize the risk of adverse side effects.
Final Thoughts on Ginger Tea Benefits
- Ginger contains gingerol, which is responsible for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects — and therefore all the wonderful ginger tea benefits.
- Brewing your own ginger tea at home using fresh ginger is a simple way to take advantage of the many health benefits of ginger.
- Ginger tea benefits include reduced nausea, improved immunity, better brain and digestive health, lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, pain relief, and increased weight loss.
- Stick to one to three cups of ginger tea daily, and couple it with a nutritious diet and active lifestyle to enhance your health even more.
Can You Use Ginger Leaves?
The ginger plant is most famous for its flavorful root. But the ginger plant’s leaves are edible as well. The ginger plant’s leaves have the same flavor as its roots, but much less pungent. And they have high levels of antioxidants, which make them a nutritional and flavorful addition to dishes.
Finely Chop Them
Ginger leaves are edible, but they are tough to chew and digest whole. The best way to add them to any recipe is to cut them down to size. Use a sharp, herb-chopping knife to dice the ginger leaves into the smallest pieces possible. For the fullest flavor, chop ginger leaves just before you use them. Keep them in the refrigerator until then or dry them in a dehydrator.
Eat Ginger Leaves Raw
Ginger leaves make a wonderful garnish. Their collective flavor is too pungent to have on their own, but they give couscous and tabbouleh a nice punch. Or try them with any mix of greens that could use a mild ginger punch. If you don’t always have access to fresh ginger leaves, use them dried. They make a deliciously crisp garnish on savory meals.
Cook Ginger Leaves
Fresh ginger root can be too much of a punch for some dishes. Ginger leaves still impart the flavor you want without overpowering the other flavors in your recipe. Use 2 tbsp. of freshly chopped ginger leaves in stews or soups. Add them 15 to 20 minutes before you serve to retain their texture. Or, add them to stir fry dishes to take the flavor up a notch. Add them during the last five minutes of cooking to retain the texture of the leaves.
Use Ginger Leaves to Make Tea
Fresh and dried ginger leaves make a mild and delicious tea. Start with 1 to 2 g of tea per cup. You can add more tea as you get used to the flavor. Have ginger tea on its own or enjoy it with a wedge of lemon and a teaspoon of honey. Ginger tea also goes really well in a mix with other herbal teas.
Ginger Leaves Benefits
Steep ginger leaves in warm water for over 20 minutes, strain, and drink with honey and lemon for a rejuvenating feeling.
- The leaves are effective against stomach problems like indigestion, gas, etc.
- Ginger leaves are also an effective remedy for morning sickness during pregnancy. They can also be used for motion sickness.
- Drink juice of ginger leaf and ginger root to alleviate arthritic and rheumatic pain.
- The leaves have anti fungal and antibacterial effects.
- Use leaves for treating common cold, flu, cough etc.
- They also provide relief from headaches of the migraine kind due to presence of prostaglandins.
- Chinese medicine, recommend ginger for relief from menstrual cramps.
- Ginger powder is used in arresting progress of colorectal cancer cells.
- They can be used for treating diabetic nephropathy.
Culinary Uses of Ginger Leaf
In Vietnam, ginger leaves are chopped and added to shrimp-yam soup as a spice and garnish. Ginger leaves impart a delicious mild flavor to the soup as opposed to the string taste of ginger root. Ginger leaves are used often as garnish, in stir-fries, vegetable dishes, soups, stews, curries, etc. They flavor the dishes just right.
Ginger leaf benefits are many and including them in regular cooking on a daily basis, can be very beneficial.
Negative Effects Of Ginger
1. May Cause Problems With Blood Pressure
Most of the research about ginger doesn’t touch upon its benefits for blood pressure. Moreover, research warns against eating too much ginger while you are on blood pressure lowering medication. This is because ginger can lower blood pressure way too much.
On the other hand, high doses of ginger can also aggravate certain conditions, high blood pressure (or hypertension) being one of them. It is better you avoid ginger if you have high blood pressure.
2. May Lead To Diarrhea
Is consuming ginger for diarrhea safe? If taken in large quantities, ginger can cause diarrhea. This is because it accelerates the passage of food and stool through the intestines.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, high doses of ginger can cause diarrhea. A potential solution to this problem could be taking ginger supplements or consuming ginger along with meals – but this, only if the side effects are mild. If they are severe, you need to stop ginger intake immediately.
3. Might Not Be Safe During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Though ginger can reduce nausea in pregnant women, it is important to note the herb’s dark side as well. According to certain experts, consuming ginger can increase the risk of miscarriage. It may not be dangerous if the dosage is below 1500 mg per day, but still, check with your doctor.
And not just that, even taking ginger supplements in large doses can cause miscarriage and other complications. Though ginger is safe when used in amounts found in food, it can cause problems during pregnancy.
One Italian study states that ginger can treat nausea during pregnancy, but it stresses on the need for more studies to substantiate the fact. Another report highlights the concerns about ginger causing spontaneous abortion or preterm delivery. Though such results were not found in animal studies, doctor advice is required.
Mothers who have lost a significant amount of blood during childbirth must abstain from ginger during early postpartum.
4. Might Cause Bleeding
Can ginger cause bleeding? According to studies, certain women have reported excessive menstrual bleeding while taking ginger. The use of ginger is discouraged when you are bleeding. This applies not only to the herb, but also any ingredient present in the herb. The same has been suggested in a report published by the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Certain experts believe that ginger could cause bleeding due to its antiplatelet (blood thinning) properties. And when taken along with other herbs like clove, garlic, ginseng, and red clover, ginseng can further increase the risk of excessive bleeding.
5. Might Lower Blood Sugar Way Too Much
Ginger is usually known to aid diabetes treatment. Which is fine. The problem arises when it is taken along with diabetes medication. It might enhance the effects of the medication and cause hypoglycemia or excessive lowering of blood sugar.
6. Heart Conditions
High doses of ginger have been found to aggravate heart conditions. Individuals taking blood pressure medications can experience an undesirable drop in blood pressure. It can also lead to irregularities in the heartbeat.
Ginger might also interfere with antihypertensive therapy – which can eventually worsen heart conditions.
7. Gas And Bloating
Ginger tea might cause certain digestive side effects, though mild. It most often impacts the upper digestive system – causing upper digestive gas. Replacing ginger with supplements could be one solution to this. But again, talk to your doctor first.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, ginger can have mild side effects, like gas.The same goes for ginger ale, the carbonated drink. It is not good for a stomach already containing gas as the ale will only aggravate the bloating. And according to the Health University of Utah, ginger, even in normal doses, can cause bloating.
Ginger, when taken in higher doses (more than 4 grams per day), can cause mild heartburn. Other likely side effects include upset stomach and belching. In case you are using ginger as some alternative remedy and are experiencing heartburn as a side effect, try this – ginger in the capsule form. This might not result in side effects.
One American study reports the occurrence of heartburn in the involved subjects who were given ginger. The most common side effects occur only when it is taken in excessively large amounts – and one of them, as per another report, is heartburn.
9. Upset Stomach
Ginger stimulates the secretion of bile, which benefits digestion. So far so good. But, if your stomach is empty, this can lead to enough gastric stimulation, leading to digestive distress and an upset stomach.
10. Mouth Irritation
Also called the Oral Allergy Syndrome, certain allergies occur when you consume certain foods. The symptoms are generally specific to the ears, skin, and the mouth. One such allergy occurs when you intake ginger (not in all individuals, though) – where your mouth starts to itch.
The mouth irritation might also lead to an unpleasant taste. Though switching to a ginger supplement might help, this is not always the case. Other related allergies include tingling and swelling of the mouth.
11. Can Cause Skin And Eye Irritation
Can we be allergic to ginger? According to an Iranian study, the most common allergic reaction to ginger is a skin rash. Other allergies to ginger include itchy eyes, skin redness, and skin inflammation.
These are the major side effects of ginger. But there are certain other ill effects of ginger (or of the different forms of ginger) that require your attention.
Side Effects Of Eating Ginger In Other Forms
Consuming ginger root in excess can also cause stomach upset and a bad taste in the mouth. It might cause nausea as well.
Turmeric Ginger Tea
Though superbly healthy, the turmeric ginger tea must not be consumed by individuals who have a history of kidney stones or gallstones. The tea might aggravate the condition by increasing the levels of uric acid in the blood.
It might also cause stomach cramping and bloating.
Lemon Ginger Tea
The only side effect noted was frequent urination.
This is also known as ginger tea in certain regions. The side effects are similar to that of ginger – which include heartburn, stomach ache, gas, and a burning sensation in the mouth.
Another side effect of ginger water (the tea) is that it kills sleep. This means that it can keep you up for a long time in the night if at all you consume it before hitting the bed.
One dangerous side effect of ginger ale could be its possible interaction with cancer medications. It can also aggravate gallbladder disease.
Side Effects Of Ginger Capsules
The major problem with ginger supplements is their tendency to interact with prescription medications. And most side effects are similar to that of raw ginger. They might lower your blood sugar way too much and even interact with your heart medications.
You would have heard people talking about yellow ginger. Well, what do you think it is?
It’s turmeric. Yes. That is what it is. And it does have its share of side effects too. Though considered extremely healthy when taken orally and in appropriate amounts, yellow ginger (or turmeric) might interact with certain medications. These include antihypertensive, antiplatelet, and antidiabetic medications. It can also cause other side effects like nausea and diarrhea.
How much is too much ginger? The ideal dosage for ginger could be anywhere between 250 mg to 1 gram, 3 to 4 times a day. Exceeding this dosage can result in side effects.
If it’s a ginger root, this is how the dosage goes:
- For children between the ages of 2 and 6 years, not more than 2 mg of ginger root in a day.
- For adults, no more than 4 grams of ginger root in a day.
- For pregnant women, no more than 1 gram of ginger root in a day.
- I am not sure about that fox in the story, but you and I would suffer the side effects if we consume ginger in excess.
Yes, it is healthy. Provided you take it in the right amounts.
We hope this post on side effects of ginger has helped you in some way. Do tell us what you think by commenting in the box below. Your opinion matters, you know.
Ginger contains moderate amounts of oxalate. Individuals with a history of oxalate-containing kidney stones should avoid over consuming this food.