Ginger is classified as a herb which have been widely used as traditional medicine or spice in many cultures throughout the world. Ginger is often referred to as a root, but it is actually an underground stem (called rhizome).
The rhizome is branched with small “limbs”. It has brown skin that is thin if harvested when young, or becomes thick when harvested at maturity.
The color of the flesh varies from pale yellow to white or pink, or even red, depending on the variety.
Young ginger is fragrant, pungent, fleshy and juicy with a mild spicy taste. Whereas old ginger is fibrous and almost dry and tends to be spicier than its young counterpart.
A recent study showed that young ginger brings down body temperature as in the case of fever. Whereas the old (dryer) ginger brings up the body temperature as in the case of a cold and suitable during winter. When going on an extended juice feasting, I recommend the use of old ginger for this reason.
Ginger is known to have more than twelve types of anti-oxidants, making it useful for treatment of many disorders. Like other spices, it has aphrodisiac properties and is used widely for medicinal purposes.
This herb contains essential oils, protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin C, choline, folate, inositol, manganese, panthotenic acid, silicon, and a small amount of vitamin B3.
The medicinal uses of ginger is almost endless. If you can stomach the spiciness, it does wonders in treating many disorders.
Anti-coagulant: Add ginger in most of your cooking or add a teaspoonful of young ginger juice in your beverages to enjoy the anticoagulant properties of ginger. It helps make blood platelets less sticky which in turn reduces your risk of atherosclerosis.
Aphrodisiac effect: A natural aphrodisiac, this might be the better substitute to viagra! Drink hot ginger tea (by mixing ginger juice, hot water and raw honey) after a not-too-heavy meal and see it work!
Cold: Cut up a small piece of old ginger and boil it with a small cup of pure drinking water. Add some green tea leaves if you wish. Strain and drink when hot. Effective if you also have fever resulting from the cold. You may also drink this concoction if you feel a cold coming.
Cough: Drink ginger juice with raw honey three to four times a day for a bad throat. It is soothing and helps clear up phlegm. If it’s a dry cough, use the young ginger. If there is phlegm, use the old ginger.
Digestive disorder: Mix a teaspoonful of young ginger juice with one teaspoonful each of fresh lime juice and fresh mint juice with some honey to taste in a glass of water. Drink to relieve heartburn, indigestion, nausea and vomiting. Especially helpful after a big meaty meal.
Fatigue: Slice a piece of ginger into disks and boil it with a big glass of water. Add a piece of cinnamon bark, bring to boil and then cover it for about half an hour till it turns to golden color. Drink it to relieve fatigue when recovering from fever. It also relieves muscle pain and soreness.
Flatulence/wind: Pound a piece of fresh ginger and boil with a cup of water and add a little honey to taste. Drink it twice a day to let off the wind trapped in the intestinal tract.
Impotency: Believe it or not! Mix a teaspoonful of young ginger juice to a half-boiled egg and a teaspoonful of honey. Take this concoction on an empty stomach, every night for a month. It helps to counter impotency, premature ejaculation and increase sperm count. (Not proven but worth trying!)
Inflammation: The anti-inflammatory (gingerols) and anti-oxidant properties in ginger help relieve various inflammatory disorders like gout, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It provides substantial relief in pain caused by inflammation and help decrease swelling and morning stiffness.
Menstruation disorder: Pound a piece of young ginger and boil with a cup of water and add a little honey to taste. Drink it hot two or three times a day for a month. The pain-relieving and anti-cramping compounds in ginger effectively help relieve painful menstruation cramps (dysmenorrhoea). In the absence of menstruation in women in the reproductive age (amenorrhoea), this concoction can also help induce menstruation.
Morning sickness: A teaspoonful of young ginger juice with some honey will also help alleviate morning sickness, sea or motion sickness, dizziness and even nausea caused by chemotherapy or anesthesia.
Pain killer: Ginger juice makes an excellent pain killer, even when applied externally. In headache, apply ginger juice to the forehead. With toothache, apply it to the external area either on the cheek or jaw area.
Use a teaspoon to scrape off the ginger skin. When adding ginger in cooking, add at the beginning of cooking for a milder taste, or near the end for a much more pungent taste.
Add a little (about 1 tsp) fresh ginger juice in your vegetable or fruit juices whenever possible. Start with a little and gradually increase the amount according to your taste. Ginger is pungent but it gives your juice that “extra kick”.
Learn how to make:
- Lemon-ginger-honey tea that dispels cough/cold effectively
- Lemongrass-ginger tea that is very detoxifying and has anti-microbial effect, beneficial for indivduals suffering from yeast infection.
Warning! Do not give ginger juice to young children, or honey to infants!
Fresh ginger juice is very potent as it contains high levels of active enzymes and substances. Only a teaspoonful is needed to feel its efficacy in treating disorders.
Ginger juice is spicy, so go slow with it if you are not used to its spiciness. The side effects of taking ginger juice could be flatulence and uncontrollable burping. This doesn’t mean that the juice causes gas, but rather that the consumption causes the body to release trapped gas in your intestinal tract.
More does not mean better. Ginger does contain moderate amounts of oxalate. Individuals with a history of oxalate-containing kidney stones should avoid over-consuming ginger or its juice.