Ginger is a creeping herb with thick branching rhizomes and sturdy upright stems with sometimes pointed and lance-like leaves that go up to 15 to 30 centimeter in length. The root produces yellow-green flowers with a deep purple and yellow lip marking. They usually flourish in most parts of Southern Asia, the West Indies, Jamaica and Nigeria in the most fertile, moist and well-drained kinds of soil.
The root is one of the most popular herbal remedies for nausea and digestive problems such as upset stomachs, vomiting and diarrhea. Dry ginger powder when mixed with nutmeg powder, ghee and honey is given as medicine for those with loose bowel movements and stomach pain. Chewing ginger candy after heavy meals is also a good way to avoid indigestion and dyspepsia which include bloating, flatulence and heart burn. It is also a preventative for motion sickness.
This herb may also contribute to weight loss and can even improve metabolic heath. Studies show that it reduces body weight, body fat and even diabetic symptoms when tested on animal models. Research also shows that it contains thermogenic components that can take effect on metabolism. Despite these experiments proving promise, more research is necessary for these roots to be established in over-the-counter weight loss supplements.
Aside from its digestive and stomach aids, the root boosts circulation, lowers high blood pressure and keeps the blood thin in higher doses. It is also anti-viral, which makes it a great cold and flu remedy. Plus, the root is anti-inflammatory, which makes it much-used for joint problems.
The herb also proves to have effects on both sexes in their own ways. The root can help pregnant women who suffer from morning sickness and women who suffer from menstrual cramps and irregular menstrual cycles. On the other hand, the root can be used as a treatment for impotency and premature ejaculation for men. It improves blood circulation in the body which helps relax muscles proving it to be helpful in men’s sexual health.
Always opt to buy fresh herbs instead of dried ones as it not only will ensure the flavor will be better but also because fresh herbs have higher levels of gingerol, which is its active ingredient. When selecting ginger, make sure that the root is firm and smooth. They usually come in two forms, the young ones and the mature ones. The mature roots need to be peeled before use and is the more commonly seen in local markets. Local Asian markets are usually the only place to find young roots that do not require peeling before use.
This plant is also available in many forms such as candied, crystallized, dried and pickled. Dried versions are usually kept in a sealed glass container with an extended shelf life of up to a year when kept inside the refrigerator. Fresh variants, on the other hand, can be stored inside the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Unpeeled ones can be kept for up to six months in the freezer.
Ginger is packed with many uses either for medicinal or flavoring purposes. Spice up your health and recipes with a little of this plant and reap the benefits of the root that were discovered centuries ago.