Ginger is an underground stem of the plant Zingiber officinale and is considered a wonder spice or a virtual medicine chest. The ginger rhizome is commonly used as an ingredient in many dishes and as a fragrant spice. In the field of manufacturing, ginger is used as a fragrance for soaps and cosmetics. Chemicals in the rhizome are also used as a substance in laxative, anti-gas and antacid medications.
The young root of ginger is juicy and has a very mild taste. In Western cuisine, ginger is used in sweet foods such as ale, snaps, and bread to name a few while in China, a slice or whole rhizome is mixed to savory dishes of fish. Chopped root is paired with meat and is added in Southeast Asian soups.
In the Philippines, it is brewed to make salabat or ginger ale. Ground or finely chopped ginger can be used as a base for chicken and meat dishes together with onion and garlic. It is also a popular spice for cooking in the Caribbean and for making a seasonal drink such as sorrel.
Ginger has many time-tested health benefits:
- Improves digestion. Ginger aids in improving digestion properly. It can be eaten raw prior to a meal to improve your appetite by firing up the digestive juices.
- Aids in the nutrient absorption. Ginger also helps the body to absorb important food nutrients. It can clear small circulation channels of the body including our sinuses.
- Reduces flatulence. It helps reduce flatulence and relieves stomach cramps.
- Prevents nausea. Nausea after a surgery can be overcome by chewing ginger slices.
- Relieves colds symptoms. Ginger is very effective in getting rid of nose and throat congestion. Ginger ale is great to sip during the cold seasons.
- Relieves joint and muscle aches. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger can bring great relief to joint pains while adding the essential oil form into your bath can relieve muscle and joint aches.
- Treats burn. Fresh juice can be poured on burned skin to treat the burns.
250 mg of ginger taken four times daily is safe for morning sickness. One to 2 grams of powdered ginger root one hour before receiving anesthesia is safe for postoperative nausea and vomiting. Dosage for its extracts differ based on the kind of product taken.
Side effects and warnings
Ginger is considered safe for most people and has mild side effects including diarrhea, heartburn and stomach discomfort. Before taking any synthetic or natural treatment, take some precautions to avoid any side effects.
- Do not take it ginger if you are a woman who bleeds more than usual during their menstruation.
- Don’t take it when pregnant. There is also some concern that it may affect fetal sex hormones when used by a female during pregnancy. However, it can be safe when used by pregnant woman for morning sickness without harming the baby in the womb.
- Don’t take it if you noticed that high doses of ginger worsen some heart conditions. Ginger should be avoided when you are diagnosed with a heart disease.
- Don’t apply ginger if you have sensitive skin. It may cause irritation when applied to the skin.
- Do not let children under 2 years of age to take genger.
To lessen side effects of ginger, one should not take more than 4000 mg or 4 grams of powdered ginger or 10 grams of fresh ones per day. The appropriate dosage for a child should be one third of the adult dosage.