Ginger (Adrak in Hindi) is a creeping herb that grows up to a height of 2-3 feet. It has long lance shaped leaves with greenish yellow flowers. The most well-known part of the herb is its stem called rhizome, which grows under the ground and has a light brown skin. Ginger is used as spice all over world and has immense medical value. It occupies an important place in Ayurveda, where it is used for treating a range of ailments (hence the name 'Universal medicine ‘). It is an important constituent of many Ayurvedic formulations, such as Trikuta (three pungents).
Part used: Rhizome (either fresh or dried in the form of a powder called Shanthi) used as juice, decoction or tea. Ginger can also be preserved in the form of jams, pickles, ginger ale and ginger candy.
Chemical composition: Ginger contains zingiberen and zinziberiol, oleoresin zinzerin, alkaloid zinzerol shogoal, protein, carbohydrate and fibre.
Ginger is a carminative and a really good medicine for digestive disorders. Hence it is commonly used in many cuisines. Ginger tea or decoction made by boiling ginger pieces with mint leaves, black pepper corns, tulsi and a little jaggery reduces flatulence, improves appetite, reduces IBS, constipation, headache caused by indigestion, food poisoning, gastritis, colitis, stomach-ache and acidity. Ginger also reduces skin problems caused due to indigestion such as mouth ulcers, eczema and rashes. It prevents damage of kidneys caused by diabetes. Ginger juice with lime juice and mint juice is a refreshing drink and works as an appetizer.
Grated ginger with tulsi and honey (one teaspoon thrice a day) reduces cold, cough, congestion, bronchitis, hay fever, asthma and other respiratory problems caused due to allergy, change in weather or onset of winter. It contains antioxidants and helps improve immunity. It is especially beneficial for children and elderly people with low immunity.
Ginger is a vasodilator and has a warming effect. Ginger tea induces sweat formation and reduces fever caused by infection or respiratory disorders.
Ginger juice or dry ginger is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory. Mixture of equal quantity of dry ginger powder (Shanthi), methi seeds powder and Amla powder (1 teaspoon twice a day) reduces pain and swelling in people suffering from having gout, arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It also reduces morning stiffness caused by arthritis. Application of ginger paste on joints is also beneficial. Consumption of ginger juice or ginger decoction helps reduce joint pain. Ginger also helps to combat the side effects of chemotherapy for cancer treatment. Researchers suggest that because of its anti-inflammatory properties, regular consumption of ginger may reduce the colorectal and ovarian cancer.
Ginger tea is beneficial in reducing stress, anxiety, fatigue, vertigo and motion sickness. Ginger also works as an antidepressant. Ginger tea or ginger candy should be consumed before the start of journey reduces the symptoms of sea sickness, motion sickness, nausea and vomiting. Ginger paste applied externally on forehead reduces migraine and headache.
Finally, ginger has been proved to reduce cholesterol level and prevent atherosclerosis. Contraindications: Ginger is safe herb if used in normal quantities. However excessive consumption may cause burning sensation in stomach and diarrhoea. It is contraindicated in children below the age of two.
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