Ginger – An Amazing Spice

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)has been used for thousands of years as a culinary and medicinal spice.

It is a member of the plant family that includes cardamom and turmeric and it is the root or rhizome (underground stem) that is primarily used and contains plant nutrients that offer a variety of medicinal uses. While many medicinal uses of ginger have been handed down for generations, one of the main plant compounds studied for health benefits are gingerols and at last 31 gingerol related compounds have been identified in the ginger root. It also contains moderate amounts of vitamin B6, potassium and magnesium.

The research on ginger indicates high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which may help prevent and suppress cancer growth in a variety of cancers. Ginger can also help decrease risk of heart disease, aid in treatment of asthma and may help with blood sugar control in people with diabetes. Ginger is a wonderful digestive tonic to help relieve nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, pregnancy and motion sickness as well as other digestive ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation and good ole stomach aches. This amazing root is also indicated to help relieve pain from arthritis, muscle soreness from exercise and menstrual pain. 

One of the easiest and best ways to use ginger is by using the root. The root is usually found in the produce section of most grocery stores. Look for a root with smooth skin and a spicy scent. Ginger root can be ground, powdered, crystallized, candied or pickled. The flavor is a little peppery with some sweetness, with a strong and spicy smell.The root can be easily peeled and then grated or sliced. It’s very versatile and can be chewed raw, added to smoothies, stir-fries, salad dressings, steeped in a tea and the powder can be used in meat or veggie dishes and pairs well with pork, chicken, seafood, orange, apples, melons and pumpkin.

If using it for nausea sip some tea (hot or cold) or suck on the raw (peeled) ginger root. If you purchase ginger candy or chews make sure they contain real ginger. If you haven’t tried ginger, it’s an effective and delicious alternative for a variety of ailments!

Ginger Tea

This is wonderful to sip on for nausea or just because you like it!

  • ¼ cup peeled sliced or chopped ginger
  • 4 cups water (32 ounces)
  • 1-2 Tbs honey, if desired
  • ¼ cup lemon juice (1/2 squeezed lemon) if desired

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil, add ginger, cover and turn down to low heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Take off cover and add honey, stirring until blended. Strain into a pitcher, add lemon and serve hot or over ice.