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The Benefits of Ginger Root

herbs for digestive health

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to use ginger therapeutically you’re in luck. That’s because this post will reveal to you the benefits of ginger root, plus a variety of tips for using it. And, you’ll even get some juice and tea recipes!

What is Ginger?

 

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a rhizome that comes from the same family as turmeric and cardamom.

It has a thick stem that grows underground and sprouts roots and shoots. Ginger plants can grow as high as three feet. After harvesting the ginger, it’s washed and dried in the sun. Once dried, you can use it for cooking or therapeutic purposes.

Ginger has a volatile oil, gingerol that is responsible for ginger’s pungent taste.

The Health Benefits of Ginger Root

Ginger is a common spice with rich history. Traditional medicine systems, like Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda have used for a wide range of ailments for at least 5000 years. In fact, Ayurvedic texts call ginger a “great universal medicine”.
 
Let’s explore the health benefits of ginger.
 

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1. Digestive Health

 

benefits of ginger rootIf you can’t digest the food you eat, you cannot extract the nutrients from it. Ayurveda considers good digestion key to health… And ginger is best known for its effects on the digestive system.

Ayurveda’s main focus is to establish a healthy digestive fire… And ginger kindles the digestive fire, Agni. It’s pungent and warming which helps to stimulate the release of enzymes to break down food and empty the stomach.

 
According to Ayurveda ginger works on all three phases of gastrointestinal function:
  1. Digestion
  2. Absorption
  3. Elimination

the benefits of ginger root

 

2. Nausea

Ginger can prevent nausea in some cases. But it seems to help most with nausea related to pregnancy, motion sickness, sea sickness and surgery.

3. Respiratory Health

 
the benefits of ginger rootGinger is effective in treating respiratory problems like coughs, colds, asthma, and bronchitis. Ginger has a sharpness that’s very effective at breaking up mucus from the throat and lungs. 

4. Cardiovascular Health

 
the benefits of ginger rootGinger can be a diverse and powerful aid when it comes to cardiovascular health.
 
On initial ingestion, raw ginger has the ability to thin blood and help the body to slow the clotting process. This makes it an effective and natural remedy to lower blood pressure.
 
Ginger can also help in the prevention of heart attack and stroke. Over time it can help to lower cholesterol and arterial blockages that lead to a stroke or heart attack.
 
A benefit noted for thousands of years by both Indian and Chinese physicians is ginger’s ability to improve circulation. For instance, they often prescribed it to people troubled by cold hands and feet.

5. Treats Inflammation

 
the benefits of ginger rootAlong with ginger’s ability to thin blood, it is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
 
Many people suffer from inflammatory bowels disorders. Ginger can help to reduce inflammation of the bowels to ease symptoms caused by digestive issues or autoimmune diseases.
 
You can also apply ginger topically to reduce inflammation on the surface of the skin. Surprisingly, some of the pain relief that takes place when applied topically is due to its painkilling agents. This is why they say ginger is the smart person’s aspirin!

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6. Anti-Bacterial

 
the benefits of ginger rootGinger is an anti-bacterial and it has a positive effect on the bacterial population in the body.
 
It has many antibacterial agents that can help to reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the body.
 
This is not only good for keeping infections from reaching dangerous levels and allowing for the body to heal… But also great for the essential gut flora that lives in your digestive tract.
 
For external application, you can mash it into a mixture and place it in a poultice. Or you can ingest it without having a harmful effect on the good bacteria in the intestines.

Ways to Use Ginger

The best thing about using a medicinal herb that is also a food ingredient is knowing that you can use it in a wide variety of ways.
 
Ginger is a potent and flavorful herb that found its way into history with plenty of useful properties. But how do you know the best ways to take it?
 
Fortunately, there has been extensive research done on ginger! So here are some different ways you can use ginger.

1. Eating It Raw

 
The most common way to get the extraordinary benefits of ginger is to simply eat it in its raw form
 
Using ginger in a stir fry, or eating it in a salad is as easy as peeling, grating or slicing pieces of the ginger off the root.
 
the benefits of ginger rootOne easy way to peel it is to take a spoon and scrape the outer skin off the root until you have an appropriate amount of the fleshy material exposed. Then you are free to slice or grate whatever you need. Using ginger raw may be the best way to get all the good stuff into your body.

2. Drinking It Raw

 
Adding ginger to a hot tea or soup is also a very quick and painless procedure.
 
Follow the peeling instructions above to get to the point where you want to add the ginger to the tea. Cut a few thin slices into the liquid after the preparation is complete. Let it sit for about 4 minutes so that it has a moment to steep and cool down.
 
You can stir it every minute or so to help agitate the ginger’s juice into the hot liquid. Once it’s cooled enough to drink, you can sip on that for a bit.

3. Using It Dry

 
the benefits of ginger rootAnother interesting way for you to use ginger is dried. You can even dehydrate it yourself, then grind into a powder and place it into capsules.
 
This way is one of the best ways to treat stomach issues. Often 2 – 3 dried ginger capsules can help lessen stomach problems quickly.
 
Ginger helps to relax the muscles in the lower stomach area which allows food to pass through a lot more easily. Also, it will also help to reduce inflammation.

Ginger Juice and Tea Recipes 

 
Although there are many ways you can use ginger, ingestion in some form seems to remain the best way to receive its many benefits.
 
That is why drinking ginger in the form of a tea, or adding to a drink have remained the most popular way to take it for a few thousand years.
 
Here are some delicious and healthy juice and tea recipes that use ginger:

Lemon Ginger Apple Juice

the benefits of ginger root 
This is a nice refreshing juice that you can easily make if you have a juicing machine.
 
This recipe will make at least 6 cups of juice that you can have with breakfast for a week if you like. Juice is always best fresh, but often it’s just not possible. Do the best you can. 
 
If you want to make a smaller quantity like one cup, for example, divide the recipe amounts by 6.
  • 12 Carrots
  • 12 Apples
  • 6 x 1-inch Slices of Lemon (wax-free)
  • 1 and a half Inches of Fresh Ginger
  • Ice

Ginger Beet Juice

 the benefits of ginger root
This particular recipe contains beets, which help the body to maintain DNA and RNA. Beets are also high in magnesium and vitamin C.
 
This is another recipe that requires a juicing device. The recipe makes 4 servings.
 
  • 2 medium oranges, peeled and cut into sections
  • 6 kale leaves
  • 2 medium pears or apples, cut into sections
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • 2 large beets, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 2 1-inch pieces of peeled fresh ginger

Ginger Tea

the benefits of ginger root
Regarded as one of the oldest remedies, ginger tea is a great choice for soothing the stomach, balancing gut flora, or plain old everyday enjoyment.
 
This is a super simple recipe that anyone can feel confident about. The fresh herbs add a nice relaxing influence, while the ginger helps kill the bad bacteria to soothe your stomach.
 
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 4 1/8-inch slices fresh ginger
  • 1 small piece of fresh mint
  • 1 strip of lemon peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon of honey

Chai Tea

the benefits of ginger root

  • 2 Cups water
  • 2 Cups Milk (cow or nut)
  • 1 TBS Black tea leaves
  • 2 TBS ginger
  • 1 tsp Green Cardamom seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 Black peppercorns

Remove the mixture from the heat as soon as bubbles start to rise
Stir in the tea leaves, sweetener, spices
Cover and allow to steep for a few minutes.

Strain and serve.

Serves 4

*Don’t let the tea leaves boil in the water/milk mixture too long. Other wise the tea becomes much more difficult to digest because the tannins are released from the tea.

How to Work With Fresh Ginger Root

 
If you’ve never worked with ginger before, you might wonder how you’re going to turn this hard brown lump into a useful medicinal herb.
 
Take a look at these tips to help you turn this plant into and ingredient.

Peeling Ginger

 
When you first grab a piece of ginger, the main thing that you will notice is that it’s covered in a thin gray layer of skin.
 
To use ginger, you’ll have to make sure that you remove this skin so that the juice can escape the fleshy parts of the root.
 
An easy way to peel ginger, is to take a spoon and run the rounded edges along the skin until you see the skin peel off. Run it along the lengths that you need so you can keep the rest of it as fresh as possible.

Mincing

 
When you want the flavor of ginger to permeate the entire dish you’re preparing, it’s best to mince it. They key to mincing ginger is in the size of the mince. One way that can get you a solid mince is the following technique:
 
Cut the ginger into slices working across the grain. This should give you little nickel sized pieces of ginger.
 
Pile them on top of each other at a height that allows you to cut the pieces without losing your grip on the slices.
 

Once cut into the thinnest slices, it will then be possible to cut them into very small cubes. The thinner the nickel slices, the smaller the mince.

A garlic press is also great for mincing ginger!

Slicing

 
This is a way that you can add ginger flavor to your food without having to mince it into little pieces. If you stand the ginger on end and shave off thin, large pieces, it will be easier to remove from them from the dish once it’s finished.

Tips for Storing Fresh Ginger

 
Fresh ginger keeps about 1 week in the pantry, and about 1 month in the fridge. One of the most frustrating things is not completely using herbs before you get a chance to use them. 
 
Ginger is an herb that can be useful for a lot of things so it’s a good idea to learn how to keep it for a while.

Freezing

 
You might not have thought of this, but freezing ginger can be a great idea for storing it. The fibrous material of the root will stay fresh if it’s frozen.
 
The best way to freeze ginger is to mince it and spread it on a flat object. That’ll make sure it doesn’t all stick together. Once it’s good and frozen, you can break it up and toss the pieces into a bag for future use.

Soak It in Alcohol

 
This one can be a fun way to use ginger.
 
To prep the ginger for the bath, cut it into the pieces that you are planning to use for meals… Usually 1-inch pieces. Then place them into a mason jar. Pour a good dry sherry over the ginger pieces until there’s a small amount covering the top in the jar. Place the lid on the jar securely.
 
The direct sunlight can break down the mixture so be sure to keep it in a refrigerator of a dark cabinet that stay cool.
 
During cooking, the alcohol will evaporate without leaving the alcohol flavor behind.

Drying Ginger

 
If you’re into baking and other types of snack things, this method might interest you.
 
Dry ginger can be very useful. To dry ginger, you will first want to mince it into very small pieces and place it onto parchment paper. They should be small so that they’re easy to use in a variety of ways. Use a dehydrator or bake them at 150 degrees. once dry, grind them up in a grinder. You can now place the dried material in a bag!

You’ve just learned the many health benefits of ginger root. And that means that you can now use it to improve digestion, elimination, circulation and to prevent inflammation… Because as they say in India…

everything good is found in ginger!

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health benefits of ginger root

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4 Comments

  • This is a really nice article! I enjoy ginger tea and lemon tremendously. The pungent scent of ginger wakes me while the lemon’s add a unique flavour that’s just so wonderful to consume.

    But one of my problems is the preparation of ginger can take a long time (cutting, grating etc). I’ve worked around lemon by squeezing and storing the juice in a container. But how do you do that with ginger? Can we slice and store it for a quick use? Or can we make a ginger juice concentrate for tea later on?

    • Hi Isaac!

      Yes, you could mince the ginger and freeze it. Then when you’re ready to make tea just pop a small chunk into your cup and pour over hot water. I actually do this all the time. The instruction for freezing ginger is in the post. 

      Hope this helps! 🙂

  • I never knew ginger had so many health benefits as you mentioned. Next time I have a cold I’ll make sure to include some ginger in my diet. I think what I want to try most is the lemon ginger apple juice that you mentioned. Thanks for sharing this information, I think it’ll be of benefit to those seeking to improve their health and diets!

    • Thanks for connecting Jeremy. The lemon-ginger-apple recipe is one of my favorites!  I hope you like it too!

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