Ginger is an angiosperm which bears flowers. It is a perennial plant. Botanical name of ginger is Zingiber officinale. It belongs to a family Zingiberaceae which also contains galangal, cardamom and turmeric. Modification of stem is seen in ginger. It grows under the soil layers. The creeping rootstalk of ginger is known as rhizome. Some rhizomes develop into stem and roots. Both roots and rhizomes are useful.
Chemical Composition of Ginger
Chemically ginger is a collection of different oils which are volatile in nature. Raw and fresh ginger consists of gingerols, zingerone and shagoals. It gives a sweet smell on drying because of the conversion of gingerols into zingerone. Otherwise, it has a pungent smell.
11 Amazing Benefits of Ginger
Here some of the usages of ginger and its benefits:
- Ginger is used to warm up the body. It helps to elevate the temperature of the body and causes sweating which is desirable during winter. Hence, it is known as a diaphoretic substance1. It can be added to tea while preparing it and consumed. It can also be added to lukewarm or hot water along with one or two drops of honey or half a spoon of lemon juice and consumed. This enhances the antibacterial nature of ginger.
- It has a very good digestive property because of the presence of phenol related compounds in it. It helps to get rid of gastrointestinal problems. It also prevents constipation and avoids the risk of colon cancer. It has positive effect on digestion and increases the function of enzymes like pancreatic lipase and trypsin.
- Ginger reduces the body pain. Some studies have found that the property of reducing the muscle pain would be helpful in women also who suffer from lower abdominal pain during menstrual cycle.
- The patients who are under cancer treatment suffer from nausea2. This symptom can be brought down by using ginger tea. Though it cannot avoid vomiting, it is used to decrease the nausea caused due to constipation. Nausea caused in pregnancy can also be controlled by ginger4.
- It is also found to reduce the inflammation particularly colorectal cancer. The people suffering from osteoarthritis should use ginger every day3. The problems accompanying osteoarthritis like stiffness and pain can be reduced by using ginger. Its anti-inflammatory effect is enhanced if it is used along with sesame oil and cinnamon.
- In diabetic patients, ginger helps to control the blood sugar level3.
- Ginger is found to improve the health of heart and minimize the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Ginger lowers the cholesterol and avoids plaque formation and also decreases the clotting of blood inside the blood vessels.
- Ginger is used to treat indigestion. The individual suffers from upper abdominal discomfort and pain when he/she has indigestion. These conditions are relieved by using ginger in the form of soup or ginger water. The relief is brought about by its influence on the digestive enzymes and hence speeds up digestion.
- Researches conducted on the effects of ginger explain its antibacterial functions. Hence it is found to fight against infections. The oral health can also be improved by using ginger which kills the bacterial diseases of gums. In case of periodontitis and gingivitis usage of ginger helps to reduce both the infection and inflammation.
- Early aging is a problem in many people nowadays. They depend upon many chemical based substances to avoid this which may have side effects. Instead of this using ginger in different ways helps to destroy the free radicals. Its anti-oxidative property postpones aging.
- From evidences it can be stated that ginger has direct influence on function of brain. The experiments conducted on properties of ginger tell us that it can even enhance memory. Hence medication can be based on ginger while treating Alzheimer’s disease.
Constituents of Ginger
The main nutrients found in ginger are as follows:
- Carbohydrates – 17.86 g
- Water – 79 g
- Protein – 3.56 g
- Fat – 0.75 g
- Vitamin B6 – 0.16 mg
- Vitamin C – 5 mg
- Niacin – 0.75 mg
- Vitamin E – 0.26 mg
All the nutrients give around 80 calories of energy. The following minerals are also found in ginger:
- Manganese – 0.229 mg
- Magnesium – 43 mg
- Sodium – 13 mg
- Iron – 0.6 mg
- Zinc – 0.34 mg
- Potassium – 415 mg
Ginger is used in different forms in some countries. It is used in cooking almost on a daily basis. Though it has many advantages in Ayurvedic treatments, some people are also allergic to ginger. It may cause rashes on the skin. Some researches give the evidence of negative effects on the chemical reactions of anticoagulants like aspirin or warfarin. Heartburn is also caused in some people and this might increase when used in the form of powder. People with gallstone must avoid ginger. Though it can be used daily for cooking in small quantity, it is very much essential to consult a physician if the individual is interested in using it as a medicine.
- McGee B. (2003). Encyclopedia of spices – Ginger.
- Ding M, Leach M, Bradley H. The effectiveness and safety of ginger for pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting: a systematic review. Women and Birth. 2013;26(1):e26-e30.