Ginger is the tangy root which has been unfortunately neglected from typical western cuisine. Unfortunate because ginger provides a large array of healthful benefits especially beneficial for the typical person whose immune system is weakened from chronic stress.
Ginger has been regarded as vishwabhesaj or “the universal medicine”. It penetrates and acts on all tissues but it particularly effective in the digestive and respiratory domains. If bloating, gas and distension are a chronic problem, then consumption of ginger after meals can calm these symptoms. In addition, blockage of the lungs from excessive phlegm can be released with ginger consumption. Ginger also stimulates the immune system and is highly beneficial when taken with the induction of a cold or flu.
– Ginger is a stimulant meaning it strengthens metabolism, strength and increases internal heat associated with proper metabolism.
– Ginger is also a potent diaphoretic increases the elimination of perspiration through the skin.
– Especially in diabetics and cardiovascular patients, ginger can be beneficial in lowering cholesterol. For more, see here http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2000/11/26/ginger.aspx
– Ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties thus being beneficial in conditions such as arthritis, bronchitis, and ulcerative colitis
– Attesting to its action in the lungs, ginger is an expectorant meaning it promotes the expulsion of phlegm and mucus from the lungs.
– In the gut, ginger acts as a carminative agent by inducing peristalsis in the colon consequently releasing gas, alleviating bloating and distension. In addition, ginger stimulates the release of bile thereby aiding digestion and alleviating gall stones.
– The shogaols and gingerols in ginger give it antiemetic properties, meaning that it suppresses vomiting making it a good substance for those with the flu.
– The topical pain-relieving properties of ginger are reflected in its analgesic nature.
– Interestingly, many Ayurvedic texts attest to the aphrodisiac properties of ginger, stimulating sexual energy.
– For another comprehensive article on ginger, look here
Ginger may be the most sattvic of all the spices and if taken correctly, soothes each of the respective doshas. Taken with honey, ginger is calming to Kapha; with sugar or as a candy, it is very beneficial to Pitta; and finally taken with salt, is balancing to Vatta.
Topically applied, ginger can relieve minor pains. A ginger compress can be made by combining 2 tea-spoons (30mL) of ginger powder with 1 tea-spoon (15mL) of turmeric powder with enough water to form a paste. Warm the paste slightly and apply to a gauze or cotton swab to be applied to the affected area.
Internally, ginger is taken as either a decoction, infusion, as a powder or most potently, as a fresh juice. As a daily treatment, ginger can be made into tea by boiling a shredded or crushed portion of ginger (about one inch) in water for 5-10 minutes. It can be also added to other teas or coffee thereby adding a flavorful boost. For a more potent effect, ginger can be juiced, either by pounding or using a modern day juicer. This extract can be taken directly, mixed with honey or sugar, or mixed in with your morning smoothie.
Indeed ginger has many benefits due to its strength, but as always, too much of a good thing can be harmful. Too much ginger can induce diarrhea, ulcers, fever, inflammation or bloating and the antiseptic properties of ginger could destroy the good bacteria in the gut.