Thursday, February 17, 2011

Virtuous Ginger

Ginger is known as the universal medicine in India's ancient ayurvedic medicine. I call ginger one of the super foods that you can find in nature. Not only is ginger a staple in Indian culinary world, but it has also played a major role in Indian ayurvedic medicine for centuries.

Since ginger thrives in tropical climates such as India, it was part of my life for as long as I can remember. While I was growing up, it was not only part of many curries and chutneys that my mother prepared but it also was a popular home remedy for the common cold and cough, indigestion, headaches and  upset stomach. When I  was pregnant with my first child, the only smell that could help me with my morning sickness was none other than the alluring aroma of ginger.
Ginger has been used as a spice as well as a medicine in ancient civilizations such as India and China. The Roman empire used to import ginger almost 2000 years ago. Ginger contains three powerful antioxidants: shogaols, zingerone and gingerols. These three compounds are linked to relief from cough, bronchitis, upper respiratory tract infections, migraine headaches, motion sickness, morning sickness, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, loss of appetite, diarrhea and especially chemotherapy induced nausea.

The spice ginger contains ultra-potent anti-inflammatory compound called gingerols. Many scientific studies proved that the compound gingerol can help reduce the inflammation. The compound gingerol
is anti-cancer fighting agent. Many cancer patients experience stomach nausea after 24 hours of chemotherapy. Research indicates that cancer patients given a high protein diet with ginger can help reduce the symptoms of stomach nausea. According to ayurvedic medicine, grated ginger mixed with honey and lemon can help you with nausea and vomiting. Scientists believe that ginger’s anti-inflammatory compounds play a major role in the prevention of skin cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and ovarian cancer. Ginger is known to help stimulate blood circulation. It will help reduce triglycerides and cholesterol and prevent plaque buildup in the arteries. People with osteo and rheumatoid arthritis are especially benefited by using ginger to reduce the swelling of joints. Ginger helps to break down the protein. After a heavy meal, drinking a cup of ginger tea  helps to digest food easily.

Given its many healing properties, it is no wonder ginger that was called a universal medicine and a wonder drug by ayurvedic practitioners.

In my household, a family of four consumes more than a pound of ginger per week. I have posted recipes featuring ginger for masala chai, ginger lemonade, coconut ginger sconesstrawberry green saladstrawberry chutney and ginger-garlic paste in this blog.  My book, Entertaining from an Ethnic Indian Kitchen features around 150 recipes using ginger.

To get all the health benefits from ginger, consume fresh ginger.  You can great fresh ginger and add it to salads. Grated ginger can be a superb way to spice up your stir-fried vegetables.

Tips about ginger:
 1. Choose fresh ginger over dried ginger whenever possible to preserve the compound gingerol.
2. Use a spoon to peel ginger to avoid wasting any of it.
3. You can store ginger for up to a month in the refrigerator.
4. Peeled and grated ginger can be stored in the freezer for three months.

If you want to read about the health benefits of turmeric, you can read all about it here.

My blog is my humble way of promoting the health benefits of spices into one's life. I hope this article inspires people to include ginger in their day to day lives. How about the next time you are sipping tea, add a couple of slices of fresh ginger to your cup?

For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including gluten free recipes), please check out my book, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen, at my website

I am joining Foodie FridayCindy for Show and Tell.


  1. That sounds wonderful. Ginger is delicious as well.

    Warmly, ~Melissa

  2. I always keep fresh ginger in my freezer. I knew it was supposed to be good for you and you just can't beat the taste. I had no idea the extent of how wonderful it really is until I read your post. Great information! Thank you!

  3. Thanks for the great info. I go in spurts of eating a ton of ginger and then not, but I should eat more. I almost always eat ginger and just love it straight from the root! I didn't know about peeling it with a spoon, or that I could store grated ginger in the freezer. This is so helpful.

  4. That was a lot of good infornmation. I have seen that on food network sometime. I am getting me some fresh ginger today at the grocery. I am glad to know i can keep it in the refigerator for up to a month.

    I have an upper respiratory infection now so I will get me some ginger in a cup of hot tea.


  5. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Ginger!!! It's my favorite spice! I had Ginger Ice Cream when I was in Martha's Vineyard years ago that was so good that I ate it every day for a week!

    I'll have to check out your recipes!

  6. Great Post! I am nervous about buying ginger from China, but recently found some organic ginger grown in Hawaii. So, I bought it for the first time in a long time. How do you peel it with a spoon?

  7. Michele,
    Use a spoon to scrape off the outer layer.

  8. Yes, ginger is one of my favorite ingredients to use when I cook. Of course, I cook Chinese food 90% of the time. :) Thanks for the useful information.


  9. Nice Post ! Ginger is a known as medicine, I almost always eat ginger.Thanks for the great info.

    Ayurvedic home remedies