Ginger – Benefits, Uses and Everything You Need to Know
All of us have consumed ginger in one form or the other. It is one of the most commonly used herbs in the kitchen, but it’s more than just a culinary ingredient.
While the fresh roots of ginger are classified as herbs, it is considered a spice in powder form. And here’s what most people don’t know: Ginger has over 1300 varieties that are used in culinary recipes, medicines and ornamentation. Ginger is also used as a palate cleanser.
In culinary alone, ginger is used in seven different forms, including raw ginger, pickled ginger, dried ginger, ginger oil, ground ginger, Crystallized ginger and Preserved ginger using sugar-salt solution.
Ginger has been a notable herb in the Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicine system for thousands of years, and its medicinal qualities make it one of the most revered spices/herbs on the planet.
Thanks to more than 20 health benefits of fresh ginger, it is widely used across Asian and Western countries.
Uses of Ginger
With so many uses and raw ginger health benefits, ginger is an herb of choice for chefs and Ayurvedic practitioners alike. Let’s have a look at various uses of ginger.
Traditional Ginger Tea
The combination of ginger and Camellia sinensis tea is considered the best so far. Ginger elevates the natural flavor and essence of tea leaves. As a result, the tea tastes better and helps in keeping the body warm during cold weather. In the hilly regions of India and neighboring countries, ginger tea is a specialty.
And the best part is it’s easy to make at home. All you have to do is add 1 tsp of grated ginger before putting tea leaves in boiling water. You can have ginger tea with or without milk, and instead of sugar, you can use honey.
People living in hot and humid regions should limit their daily consumption of ginger tea to just one cup.
Ginger is used in various cuisines worldwide. From traditional Indian curries to Chinese soups to ginger chicken and even ginger ice creams. Combined with garlic and other spices, ginger can elevate the flavors of any curry or Manchurian dish.
You can either use fresh, grated ginger in your recipes or buy processed ginger paste with added spices from the grocery store near you. This way you can reap a variety of ginger plant health benefits.
Ginger has been in use for thousands of years, and it has a special mention in the Indian Ayurvedic system for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
Ginger is also used in alternative medicine for treating a wide range of ailments which we will discuss later in this article.
Ginger Face Pack
Ginger is also used as a topical remedy for the skin. Combined with other ingredients like turmeric, tomato, honey and papaya, a ginger face pack can reduce skin irritation and bring out the natural glow.
Ginger extracts are used to formulate supplements for digestion and other health conditions. Ginger extracts are also used in hair oils to improve blood circulation in the scalp and stimulate hair growth. Ginger oil is often diluted with carrier oils such as mustard oil, almond oil, coconut oil, etc.
Ginger has the tendency to interact with various medicines, which we will discuss in detail later in this article. If you are on chronic medication, consult your doctor before consuming supplements or products that contain ginger extracts.
How to eat ginger for health benefits?
Ginger is a potent herb that is consumed for maintaining overall wellness as well as for fighting and preventing various ailments. Let’s have a look at the various health benefits of ginger.
Benefits of Ginger During Pregnancy
The initial phases of pregnancy involve a lot of puking and nauseous feelings, also known as morning sickness. Consuming ginger can help manage symptoms of morning sickness. Ginger has this antiemetic property that reduces the frequency and severity of morning sickness significantly.
The right way to consume ginger for morning sickness and episodes of nausea is to chew a fresh piece of ginger soaked in lemon juice and rock salt.
Most people experiencing postoperative vomiting and nausea can find relief with ginger and rock salt. Again, it’s the antiemetic quality of ginger that makes it a perfect remedy for vomiting and digestive issues such as blending or gastric.
Patients that take medicines for a long time often lose their taste buds. Ginger can help in improving taste buds and increase appetite to help the patient recover from postoperative weakness quickly.
People undergoing chemotherapy may also show similar symptoms. In some cases, the condition could be worse with more frequent episodes of nausea and acid reflux. Consuming ginger can help you manage these symptoms effectively without having to rely too much on supporting medicines.
Menstrual Pain Relief
Most women dread that time of the month, and for some of them, it’s a nightmare. Women who suffer from cysts or other ovarian complications experience extremely painful menstrual cycles.
Here’s a better and safer alternative – ginger tea. Add crushed or grated ginger to boiling water. Leave it on a medium flame for about 10 minutes, and your ginger tea is ready. You can add sugar or honey to make it taste better.
Thanks to its antispasmodic and analgesic qualities, ginger is known to prevent muscle contractions in the uterus by blocking calcium channels. In terms of Ayurveda, menstrual cramps and pain are generally caused by elevated Vata dosha, which can be pacified by consuming ginger.
While the pain may not go away completely and immediately, it will become a lot easier to bear.
Helps with weight management
Obesity is a serious health condition that starts with abnormal weight gain. It could be genetic or due to an underlying complication, like hormonal imbalance.
Wondering how to eatginger for health benefits? If you are trying to eat healthy, exercise every day and adopt a healthier lifestyle to achieve a healthy weight, adding ginger tea to your routine might help. Having ginger tea twice a day can help reduce Ama and improve metabolism to make shedding those extra pounds easier.
According to Ayurveda, cholesterol levels can increase due to impaired Agni (the proverbial digestive fire).
Poor digestion leads to the production of Ama – a toxin that is largely responsible for the accumulation of bad cholesterol in blood vessels and gives rise to serious heart concerns.
Ginger helps convert excess cholesterol into bile acids and promotes the production of good cholesterol(HDL) in the blood. It also eliminates Ama at the tissue level to unblock blood vessels.
Taking ginger tea twice a day can help manage cholesterol.
Helps to maintain joint health
Various joint conditions may happen due to elevated Vata dosha, causing swelling, stiffness and mobility issues. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities, ginger helps reduce inflammation and brings Vata down to its optimal level.
Taking ginger tea or using ginger in your recipes is one of the best ways to find relief from joint issues. If you are experiencing unbearable pain and mobility concerns that are making your everyday tasks difficult, consult a doctor immediately.
According to Ayurveda, respiratory imbalance is mainly caused by elevated Kapha dosha which obstructs the airflow to and from the lungs. Thanks to its anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties, Ginger can help reduce the symptoms of respiratory ailments by controlling inflammation and contraction in the lungs. It also treats the issue at the source by offsetting excessive Kapha dosha and providing strength to the lungs.
Mix 1 tsp of fresh ginger juice with 1 tsp of honey. Have it twice a day for two weeks. In case you have other underlying conditions, you must seek your doctor’s advice before consuming ginger every day.
Manages Blood Sugar Levels
According to Ayurveda, the root cause and trigger point of imbalanced blood sugar is elevated Vata dosha and impaired Agni respectively. Due to poor digestion, Ama accumulates in pancreatic cells and hinders the function of insulin. As a result, there isn’t enough insulin in the body to offset the imbalanced blood sugar levels.
Ginger helps by assuaging Vata dosha and eliminating Ama and free radicals at the tissue level. It facilitates the functions of insulin and improves digestion.
Maintains Bowel Health
Chewing ginger with rock salt after your meal or first thing in the morning can improve digestion, reduce bloating, and digestive issues.
Healthy Blood Pressure Levels
High blood pressure is the onset of a serious heart condition and therefore shouldn’t be taken lightly. Including ginger in your diet can keep your normal blood pressure in check and improve endothelial function, thanks to its hypotensive and antioxidant properties.
You can either drink ginger tea or chew a piece of ginger with rock salt to support healthy blood pressure levels.
A dry cough can sometimes stay with you longer than it should, leaving you with a sore throat and sleepless nights. Chewing ginger can help soothe a sore throat, reduce the episodes of cough and support recovery.
Cut fresh ginger into thin strips and roast until they become dry and crisp. Chew these strips after your meals to manage the cough.
Another way to soothe a sore throat is to use a ginger gargle.
Boil 2 tsp of grated ginger in water. Strain the water and add a pinch of rock salt and black pepper to it. Gargle with this water three times a day to find relief from a sore throat.
Ginger is generally used as a flavoring herb in culinary recipes and drinks. Owing to the nutritional composition of ginger, it is also used in tea, syrups, Ayurvedic formulations, ointments, essential oils and liquid extracts.
For adults, it is safe to consume 0.5-3 grams of ginger per day for up to three months. However, you must keep in mind that ginger has a heating essence and should be consumed in moderation, especially if you are susceptible to nose bleeding during hot weather.
For optimum benefits, consume 1-2 thin strips of ginger, usually 1-inch long. When making ginger tea, use 1 tsp of grated ginger and let it steep in the boiling water for about 10 minutes.
Since ginger can be consumed in the form of tablets, capsules, powder, liquid or raw, you are going to need to know the right dosage for each form.
Raw Ginger Roots
Raw ginger is used in various culinary recipes. Use 2 tsp of grated ginger when preparing a meal for two. Adding garlic paste or chopped garlic cloves to your recipe can improve flavor and taste.
Ginger powder is generally used for medicinal purposes. Mix ½ tsp of ginger powder with 1 tsp of honey and take it with warm water or milk twice a day or as recommended by your health practitioner.
Ginger Capsules or Tablets
Depending on your requirements and underlying condition, your health practitioner may recommend 1-3 ginger capsules or tablets per day. The dosage may vary in your case and shouldn’t be administered without consultation.
Add 1-2 inches of crushed or grated ginger to 1 cup of water and boil it for 10 minutes. Strain the water and add a few drops of lemon and 1 tsp of honey to prepare ginger tea. Although it is safe to consume 2 cups of ginger tea twice a day, always consult your health practitioner if you have a certain underlying condition or are on chronic medication.
If you are prone to motion sickness or are experiencing morning sickness during pregnancy, ginger candies can be your best friend.
- Cut raw ginger into thin strips and put them in a mason jar. Let them dry in the sun for four days.
- Add sugar and salt and shake it well.
- Let it dry in the sun for one week and your ginger candies are ready.
Ginger can aggravate acidity, Inflammatory bowel syndrome, ulcers and Gallbladder stones. If you have any of these conditions, it is important to seek your doctor’s advice before eating raw ginger or supplements.
Drugs like aspirin, clopidogrel and warfarin are known to interact with ginger. If you are already taking any of these medicines, consuming ginger may weaken your liver. Apart from these, there are dozens of drugs that interact with ginger. Therefore, it is important to consult with your doctor to make sure you are not at any kind of risk.
According to Ayurveda, people who have elevated pitta dosha or bleeding disorder should limit the use of ginger in their food and beverages.
Allergic to Ginger
Some people may be allergic or intolerant to ginger. The symptoms include skin rashes, sneezing, digestive issues and itchy scalp. People who are allergic to ginger may also be allergic to cardamom. So it is important for them to alter food choices as soon as they discover their allergies.
If you are already taking antidiabetic drugs or insulin shots, eating ginger may bring your blood sugar down to concerning levels. Therefore, it is advised to check your blood sugar level frequently and adjust your ginger intake accordingly.
Several case studies have revealed that ginger may interact with certain medicines and lead to side effects. If you are on chronic medication or undergoing extensive treatments, you must use some caution when consuming raw ginger or ginger supplements. It is recommended to seek your doctor’s advice on this matter.
Let’s have a look at some of the commonly known ginger interactions:
Ginger is known to slow blood clotting which is exactly what Anticoagulant drugs do. If you are taking Anticoagulant drugs during your treatment, you should avoid consuming ginger as it can have a double whammy effect and inhibit your body’s ability to stop bleeding in case of an injury.
Other medicines that slow blood clotting are Phenprocoumon, Warfarin, and Nifedipine to name a few.
If you are taking insulin shots or antidiabetic drugs, you might want to cut down your ginger intake. Ginger helps in lowering blood sugar levels and so do antidiabetic drugs. As a result, your blood sugar level may dip below normal and trigger symptoms like weakness, trembling, headache, nausea and dizziness.
However, if you must consume ginger for its another addition on the ginger health benefits list, make sure you are checking your blood sugar levels regularly.
Drugs for high blood pressure
The combination of ginger and high blood pressure medicines may not be a good one. If you are already taking medicines for high blood pressure, taking ginger may cause a further decline in your blood pressure levels.
Ginger may influence the bioavailability of certain medicines, such as Losartan, Cyclosporine, and Metronidazole. This means that taking ginger can affect how much of these medicines will be absorbed by the body, which may lead to side effects. It is recommended to avoid ginger within a few hours of taking any of these medicines.
Despite the proven health benefits of ginger, it may have certain side effects in some cases. Although it is safe to consume ginger in the recommended dose and duration, there are certain cases where ginger may do more harm than good.
Consuming raw ginger or taking ginger supplements may worsen bleeding disorders and heart conditions. It should also be avoided two weeks before and after surgery as ginger can slow blood clotting and healing, which is the last thing you want to happen when undergoing surgery.
Consuming more than the recommended dosage of ginger may make you susceptible to ulcers or make your ulcers worse.
Is the ginger peel edible?
There’s no harm in consuming ginger peel, but as a general practice, it should be removed before eating raw ginger.
Can ginger increase bowel movements?
Consuming ginger tea helps indigestion. And since it’s a natural laxative, it can improve the symptoms of constipation.
Can ginger help in treating a cough?
Although there isn’t enough evidence in this area, roasted ginger is said to reduce symptoms of cough by acting as an effective supporting remedy.
What are the health benefits of ginger for men?
Ginger is a natural aphrodisiac and can improve the mobility of sperms. Thanks to its antioxidant properties, ginger can eliminate free radicals from the body, thus, preventing sperm damage and promoting overall wellness.
According to Ayurveda, poor sperm functionality in men is caused by elevated vata dosha. With vata balancing properties, ginger is an effective remedy for improving vitality and vigor in men.
Are there any benefits of ginger for hair?
Ginger is used in traditional hair serums to prevent hair fall and breakage. Combined with other nourishing ingredients like Indian gooseberry and brahmi, ginger is believed to promote natural hair growth.
Pickled Ginger Nutrition: Is Pickled Ginger Beneficial?
Speaking of fresh ginger nutrition info, pickled ginger still has health benefits, the oil that it uses may still add extra carbohydrates and fat. In case of a sore throat, it’d be best to keep away from pickled ginger.
Does ginger have calories?
100 grams of ginger have 80 calories. And there are 4.8 calories in fresh ginger (1 tablespoon). As far as ginger root nutrition facts go, here’s what you get from 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger:
- 4.8 calories.
- 1.07 grams (g) of carbohydrate.
- 0.12 g of dietary fiber.
- 0.11 g of protein.
- 0.05 g fat.
- 0.1 g of sugar.
In this article, we tried to spread awareness around ginger nutrition facts and health benefits. Feel free to share this article with friends or family who might benefit from it.