Botanical Name :: Zingiber officinalse
Indian Name :: Adrak
Ginger is a perennial herb, with underground branching stems called rhizomes which are swollen and tough. They are white or yellow outside and become grey brown or orange with age, up to 2.5 cm in diameter. Leaves and rhizomes have characteristic fragrant odour when cut or bruised. Rhizomes are dug out after the leafy pails are dried. They are sold as fresh ginger in the vegetable market or are peeled, sliced and dried. The sun dried ginger is commonly known as sount in India.
Origin and Distribution
Ginger is believed to have originated in India and was introduced in China. It appears to have been used as a spice and a medicine from early times by the Indians and the Chinese. There are numerous references to it in Sanskrit literature and in Chinese Medical treatises. It was known in Europe in first century AD and was mentioned by Dioscorides and Pliny As living rhizomes of ginger are very easy to transport, the plant soon spread to all tropical countries. The sanskrit name singebera gave rise to the Greek Zingiberi and to the late latin Zingiber. The major producers today are China, India and Taiwan.
Ginger is cultivated all over India, but ginger grown in Kerala is found to be superior than the ones grown in other places, in aroma and in taste.
Food Value of Ginger
Ginger is available in two forms, fresh and dried Both the forms contain effective food value. As the taste of ginger is not very palatable, subtle means are adopted to use it in certain ways. It is put in vegetables. The dried ginger, which may be scraped or peeled before drying, constitute the spice, and is esteemed for its flavor, pungency, aroma and medicinal value.
Minerals and Vitamins
|Moisture – 80.9%||Calcium – 20 mg|
|Protein – 2.3%||Phosphorus – 60 mg|
|Fat – 0.9%||Iron – 2.6 mg|
|Vitamin C – 6 mg|
|Fibre – 2.4%||Small amount of Vitamin B Complex|
|Minerals – 1.2%||* Values per 100 gm’s edible portion|
|Carbohydrates – 12.3%||Calorific Value – 67|
Natural Benefits and Curative Properties of Ginger
Ginger is being used as medicine in India from Vedic period and is called Mahaaushidhi, meaning the great medicine. Ancient physicians used ginger as a carminative and anti fermenting medicine. Galen, the Greek physician, used ginger as a medicine to rectify the defective humors of the body. He used ginger in the treatment of paralysis caused by phlegmatic imbalance in the body. Aviceena, another Greek physician used it as an aphrodisiac. Pomose, yet another Greek physician also used ginger in the treatment of gout centuries ago.
Ginger is now widely used in local medicines in India and the far East. Taken internally, it is a stimulating carminative and locally it is used as a rubefacient and counter irritant. Like many other spices, ginger is believed to have aphrodisiac properties.
The ginger yields an essential oil, but this lacks the pungent principle, it is used in the manufacture of flavoring essence and in perfumery An oleoresin – i.e. mixture of oil and resin – is also extracted, in which the full pungency of the spice is preserved; it is used for flavoring and also for medicinal purposes.
- Digestive System Disorders:- Ginger is a valuable drug for disorders of the digestive system. It is extremely useful in dyspepsia, flatulence, colic, vomiting, spasms and other painful affections of the stomach and the bowels. Chewing a piece of fresh ginger after meals regularly is an insurance against these ailments. This protective action is attributable to excessive secretion of saliva, distaste enzyme and volatile oil.
Half a teaspoon of fresh ginger juice, mixed with one teaspoonful of each of fresh lime juice and fresh mint juice and a tablespoonful of honey, constitutes an effective medicine for dyspepsia, nausea and vomiting due. to a biliousness, indigestion caused by intake of heavy non-vegetarian and fried fatty food, morning sickness, jaundice and piles. This mixture should be sucked thrice daily in the treatment of these conditions.
- Cough and Cold:- Ginger is an excellent remedy for coughs and colds. Extracted juice of ginger with honey should be taken three or four times a day in case of coughs. In case of colds, ginger should be cut into small pieces and boiled in a cup of water. It should then’ be strained and half a teaspoon of sugar added to it It should be drunk while hot. Ginger tea, prepared by adding few pieces of ginger into boiled water before adding tea leaves, is also an effective remedy for colds and for fevers resulting from cold
- Respiratory Disorders:- A teaspoonful of the fresh ginger juice mixed with a cupful of fenugreek decoction and honey to taste is an excellent diaphoratic mixture which increases sweating to reduce fever in influenza. It acts as an expectorant in bronchitis, asthma, whooping cough and tuberculosis of the lungs.
- Aches and Pains:- Ginger is an excellent pain killer. It can cure all types of pain. In headache, ginger ointment made by rubbing dry ginger with a little water and applied to the forehead affords relief. It allays tooth ache when applied to the face. In case of earache, a few drops of ginger juice will give relief.
- Sexual Debility:- Ginger juice is a valuable aphrodisiac. It is highly beneficial in the treatment of sexual weakness For better results, half a teaspoon of ginger juice should be taken with a half-boiled egg and honey, once, daily at night for a month. It tones up the sex centres and cures impotency, premature ejaculation, spermatorrhoea.
- Menstrual Disorders:- Ginger is also useful in menstrual disorders. A piece of fresh ginger should be pounded and boiled in a,cupful of water for few minutes. The infusion sweetened with sugar should be taken thrice daily after meals as a medicine for dysmenorrhoea, and amenorrhoea due to exposure to cold winds and taking cold bath
Uses of Ginger
In western countries, it is widely used for culinary purposes in gingerbread, biscuits, cakes, puddings, soups and pickles. But it is used as curry powder all over the world. Ginger is the most widely-used spice in Chinese cookery. It is used in the production of ginger beer, ginger ale and ginger wine. It was formerly much used for spicing wines, possets and porter, the last one often being stirred with a red-hot poker