Thursday, 6 October 2011

Medicinal Properties of Ginger

Ginger
Color plate from Kohler's Medicinal Plants

Ginger is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale.  It is a spice which is used in cooking and used widely and effectively for medicinal purposes.  Other member of the Zingiberales family are turmeric, cardamom and galangal.

Ginger as we all know is great to relieve the symptoms of nausea which is a side effect of sea sickness, morning sickness, nerves and many other illnesses.

Ginger stimulates the digestive system, eases flatulence as well as being great for stimulating the kidneys.  The kidneys are wonderful machines that regulate electrolytes this is basically the salt, mineral/water balance.  If this is out of homeostasis (balance), which can especially occur in tropical climates or with seasickness due to not enough water consumed, or to much fluid expelling from the body, dehydration occurs, migraines, shakiness, light headiness, muscle cramps and unable to hold onto fluids, the water consumed passes right through the body. Check out dehydration recipe in Kitchen Apothecary section.

 The kidneys regulates blood pressure through salt/water balance and filters the blood by getting ride of waste into the urinary bladder and any water, glucose and amino acids the kidneys filter reabsorb back into the blood to be pumped around the body to the cells that need it.   The kidneys produce hormones and enzymes so they are extremely busy .

 Anyway enough of the technical stuff back to the rhizome ginger.

India is the main producer of ginger followed by China then Indonesia, Nepal and lastly Nigeria.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory, stimulant and carminative properties.  Today I managed to get organic ginger from Fiji.

Ginger uses

For respiratory problems
Dry and hacking coughs
Spasmodic cough

 Great for relieving headaches and migraines

Ginger improves digestion
Flatulence
Stomach up-sets
Diarrhoea
Sea sickness
Morning sickness
Nausea
Good for constipation

Ginger is great to improve blood cholesterol levels as well as being an anti-inflammatory and having antioxidant qualities  Contra-indication for using Ginger is people with gallstone as ginger stimulates the production of bile, it also can interact with some medication including warfarin.

Stomach up-sets and Nausea Remedies
Ginger beer
Ginger ale
Ginger biscuits
Ginger tea

Ginger Tea Recipe for all problems

 Slice fresh ginger, 2 - 4 slices roundabout (can use dried ginger powder 1/4 teaspoon) pour over hot water wait 3 minutes add a teaspoon of honey, swirl honey until dissolved and sip slowly.

Home-made ginger remedy drink

600ml cold water
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons of ground ginger
6 teaspoons of raw sugar

Place in screw cap bottle and shake until sugar has dissolved or place in jug and whisk.

Ginger compress

Make a strong ginger tea minus the honey, place in a bowl and dip clean cloth (white cloth nappies are great) into the hot water and place on sore muscle joints, great for symptoms of gout, backache, period pain etc.  Make sure water not to hot that it scolds, check out temperature first especially if using compress for a child.

So ginger has many uses, by incorporating into an everyday diet the ginger can act as a preventive medicine.

Check out Caramalised Pear Gingerbread in the Baking section under 'cake'.

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