Ginger is undoubtedly one of the popular spices in the world. It has a strong flavor with a bit of spice kick and leaves a warm feeling at the end.
This Southeast Asian spice origin has dominated many industries, from food and beverage to healthcare, since it was first introduced in 5000 BP.
Ginger is a member of the Zingiberaceae family alongside galangal, the fingerroot, and the bitter ginger. Unlike the other members, Ginger has been widely used in western countries because of its pungent flavor that fits the west cuisine.
Raw Ginger contains 79% water, 18% carbohydrates, 2% protein, and 1% fat. It supplies a high amount of vitamin C 5 mg and magnesium 43 mg per 100-gram of ginger. So, that makes ginger one of the most nutritious spices on the planet.
The Usage of Ginger
Ginger has existed throughout centuries. People have used it for cuisines and medicine. These are some usages of ginger in different countries.
Hainan Chicken Rice is one example of ginger usage in a dish. The taste of peppery and pungent will complement the vegetable and meat as it tenderizes them.
In India, many dishes use a combination of garlic and ginger for a base. Adding the other spices like coriander, cardamom, cumin, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper, then you will have a masala recipe that goes well with any kind of dish.
Some popular dishes using ginger would be gingerbread, ginger cookies, parkin, speculaas, and many more.
In Southeast Asia, many traditional drinks use ginger to promote health benefits. Wedang Jahe (jahe means ginger in Indonesian) is common to drink during cold days as it helps warm the body.
Salabat, the Philippines’ brewed tea, uses ginger as the main ingredient as occasionally drunk as a healthy drink.
Ginger also takes part in the traditional Indian drink such as masala chai (or tea). Although masala is the key ingredient to this drink, adding ginger can give a spice sensation.
There is also a more modern version of ginger drink found in western cultures, such as ginger beer and wine. The ginger wine is a wine flavored with ginger and usually drunk during Christmas.
Another alcoholic ginger is also produced in France called Canton, a ginger-flavored liquor and is commonly served with soups in the winter.
Ginger is a part of the Ayurvedic spices. Ayurveda itself is the Indian alternative medicine that combines meditation, yoga, herbal remedies, and special diets.
The herbal remedies use different spices to implement the therapeutic system. Other spices include ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), ginger, boswellia, brahmi, cumin, turmeric, licorice root, gotu kola, bitter melon.
Ginger is the universal medicine of the Ayurvedic. It has an analgesic property that promotes pain relief. Another use of ginger in Ayurvedic medicine includes relieving joint discomfort, clearing the microcirculatory system, and alleviating motion sickness.
5 Health Benefits of Ginger
Although ginger has been commonly used for traditional medicine from ayurvedic to its Southeast Asian home remedies, there are more surprising health benefits from ginger.
These benefits are backed with science and proven to treat certain health symptoms.
#1. Treat Nausea
Ginger contains antiemetic properties that help reduce nausea. Adding ginger to the hot tea will calm the urge of vomiting as it warms the stomach.
It prevents other kinds of nausea, including morning sickness, chemotherapy-related nausea, motion sickness, and nausea in general.
#2. Lower Sugar Blood Level
A small recent study showed that ginger might help lower sugar blood levels in a type-2 diabetes patient. The study with 41 participants consumed 2 grams of ginger powder per day and reduced the healthy alternatives sugar blood level.
In 12 weeks, the hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) was reduced by 10%, complementing how the sugar blood level decreased.
However, this was a small study that didn’t represent the whole case; thus, it cannot be the main source of lowering sugar blood level.
#3. Fight Against Infection
Ginger can fight against harmful bacterias and viruses that led to infection and several diseases. The anti-inflammation in ginger helps reduce the inflammation caused by the bacteria inside the body.
One of the commonly used ginger in medicine is to fight the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) that causes many respiratory diseases.
#4. Alleviate Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a disease where a protective tissue on the bones breaks down, causing joint pain in the hands, neck, lower back, and knees. It mostly occurs in the aging communities when the tissue starts to wear down.
A study has shown that adding 1 gram ginger per day to our daily intake for 3 to 122 weeks will alleviate joint pain. Other literature also presented the effectiveness of ginger to relieve osteoarthritis symptoms.
#5. Calm Menstrual Pain
Menstrual pain is an annoying side-effect during a period. It stiffens the stomach’s vein and makes it cramped on the first day of the monthly period. However, anti-inflammatory properties in ginger help ease menstrual pain.
Not only will ginger ease period pain but also other pains in general. Instead of using anti-inflammatory pills, substitute it with ginger is a great idea. Infusing ginger powder into drinks and dishes will relieve the pain quite fast, just like the store drugs.
Ginger is the universal medicine, according to Ayurveda. It has many properties to help treat diseases and pain. It is also used in cuisines and drinks to complement the flavors.
Although ginger is considered safe, it is best to consult with your physician before substituting doctor’s pills with ginger as it may not work for everyone. However, there is no health risk report for consuming ginger on a daily basis if you decide to use it as a food supplement.
Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).