Ginger is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale. Ginger is native to Southeast Asia but is nowadays grown in more tropical areas. Ginger from especially China has a sharp taste and the ginger from India has more citrus flavour nuances. And ginger from Jamaica is known for its sweet and delicate flavour.

Ginger harvest in MalaysiaThe Indian cuisine often uses fresh ginger as an ingredient for their sauces and curries (curry is an English word that they don’t use in India, except for tourists). Curries require some more time in the kitchen, but the easiest way to use fresh ginger is making a tea of it. This is done by letting some slices of fresh ginger steep 5 to 10 minutes in boiling water. This tea with a spoonful of honey is a thru delicacy, which is recommended in India when you have stomach problems. This recipe has helped me several times while travelling.

Wild ginger flowerThis tea, without the honey, you can also use to soak a towel and use it as a compress on the abdomen. This is a good way to relieve menstrual pains among others. When nose and sinuses are inflamed, a ginger compres can also bring relief. In India they use a pasta made from fresh ginger to lubricate on your head before sleeping and thus relieving your headache.
You can also use ginger powder to bring relief with a headache. When you put teaspoons of ginger powder in a glass of water and drink it, you will notice that after half an hour the emerging headache starts decreasing. This effect is due to the shoagal in the ginger, shoagal creates the pungent taste of ginger. This substance is two times as much present in dried ginger, because when drying the ginger the gingerols in the fresh ginger are converted into shoagal. This is one of the reasons why I’ll always carry some ginger powder with me while traveling.

Ginger has many advantages for humans. In China , for example, they use ginger as a folk remedy for male pattern baldness. Below are some additional benefits listed of eating ginger. In short, a healthy addition to your diet.

  • Ginger is a strong antioxidant.
  • Ginger supports digestion.
  • Ginger works warming and energizing.
  • Ginger promotes breathing.
  • Ginger helps relieve gas and constipation.
  • Ginger has an anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Ginger protects the stomach and the intestinal mucosa.
  • Ginger protects the liver from chemical toxins.
  • Ginger has an anti-viral activity
  • Ginger has an anti-bacterial effect.
  • Ginger lowers cholesterol.
  • Ginger strengthens your immune system.
  • Ginger protects against diabetic cataract (eye disease).
  • Ginger is a source of the vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 (folate equivalents), C & E.
  • Ginger contains calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc.
  • Ginger has a soothing effect on common colds.
  • Ginger promotes blood circulation.
  • Ginger prevents nausea from motion sickness, during menstruation and during pregnancy among others.
  • Ginger supports the action of bile and stimulates bile secretion. (Be careful with ginger when you suffer from gallstones).
  • Ginger activates endorphins in the body, which suppress pain and provide a sense of happiness.
  • Ginger is protective for diabetes type 2. This is among other things because ginger ensures a better release and action of insulin, and it also ensures that your cells have an increased sensitivity to this insulin. This ensures that the glucose in the blood is more rapidly absorbed, and thus lets the blood sugar level decrease faster after a meal.