The word Ginger originated from the Tamil word ‘Ingi Ver’ (இஞ்சி வேர்)– meaning ‘The root of Ginger’. In most languages the pronunciation remains similar.
Technically ginger is not a root, it is actually the underground stem of the plant. Ginger is used as a spice and a medicine in Ayurveda for more than 3,000 years. It is also addressed as “Universal Medicine”. The main reason for this is, according to Ayurveda ginger controls all the three doshas.
Ginger can be used in various forms fresh as well as dried. However the dried form is more potent for certain diseases.
Ginger Brings Balance
According to Ayurveda, the three important component of every human are the three elements fire, air and water. Kapha, Vata and Pitta are the doshas representing water, air and fire. When there is an imbalance between these three doshas our body acquires some disease. Most of the diseases are caused mainly because of some kind of imbalance in the body. Unless we address the imbalance, will will acquire some or the other disease. Ginger balances all the three doshas, if there is an imbalance in Kapha or Vata then ginger should be taken internally. If there is a pitta imbalance then it is better to apply ginger externally (usually).
Medical Benefits of Ginger
Strong Anti-Inflammatory agent:
Ginger alleviates inflammation in throat, nose, sinus and bronchus and avoids allergies related to common cold and cures common cold. Ginger powder mixed with honey is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent and can be used as a medicine for common cold, breathing problem, fever, head ache and allergies. Along with Solanum Trilobatum, ginger can cure most conditions related to cold.
Improves Kidney Health:
Most Ayurvedic doctors advise Ginger compress. Ginger compress is a daily application of ginger externally, to combat issues with the kidney. The first step is to make ginger water. Ginger water is made by boiling grated/diced ginger in pure water for 15 minutes and then letting it cool. A cotton fabric is soaked in that water and then after ringing out the moisture placed on the lower back (where the kidneys are located). This can reduce any pain associated with kidney problems.
Ginger cures most of the digestive disorders. It helps in alleviating conditions like stomach upset, diarrhea, nausea and constipation. Drinking warm milk mixed with ginger power is an excellent medicine for minor stomach upsets and other digestive disorder.
Other uses of Ginger:
In addition to the above mentioned uses Ginger acts as a medicine for various other diseases like acid reflux, morning sickness, joint pain, sinus infection, bad breath, diabetes, obesity and food craving, poor appetite, poor digestion and absorption, anorexia, hair loss, inflamations, yeast infection and poor metabolism.
Scientific Research to Validate Health Benefits:
The main compounds that give ginger the flavor, odor and also the medicinal properties are zingerone, shogaols and gingerols, volatile oils, these compounds comprise 2-3% of the weight in fresh ginger (a higher percentage in dried ginger). A recent study proved that Ginger oil can prevent skin cancer (experiments conducted on mice) and another study conducted by the University of Michigan proved that gingerols can kill ovarian cancer cells.
Recent scientific research shows that nine compounds found in ginger get themselves bound to the serotonin receptors and thereby influencing the gastrointestinal function. Another research shows that consumption of ginger can actually control the quantity of free radicals. Thereby it can prevent the damage caused to the body by the free radicals.
In a study conducted in 2010, it was demonstrated that regular consumption of ginger can reduce muscle pain associated with sternous work or exercise. Another research proved that regular consumption of ginger can prevent colon cancer.
Ginger is also found to be effective in controlling diabetic cataract through antiglycating mechanisms. One of the compounds present in ginger - Zingerone acts against E-Coli and hence prevents diarrhea induced by that bacterium.
Note: Nothing substitutes medical diagnosis and treatment. The information provided in this article has not been validated by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
|Dried Ginger Root
“Ayurveda, The Science of Self Healing“; Dr. Vasant Lad, 1984
“Ayurveda: A Life of Balance“; Maya Tiwari, 1995
University of Maryland Medical Center; Ginger; November 2008