Fragrant, spicy ginger gives a special taste and piquancy to many dishes. This popular component of Asian and Indian cuisine has won love in many countries over its thousand-year history, and legends go about its beneficial properties.
What is ginger
Ginger, or Zingiber officinale, belongs to the same spice family as turmeric and cardamom. India, China and the expanses of Southeast Asia are considered his homeland. But it is known that in ancient times this plant was also revered for its excellent taste and medicinal properties in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, where the plant came from China. In the 16th century, Europe also learned about ginger, where the plant was brought from the East Indies.
Ginger is a creeping perennial with thick, tuberous underground stems (rhizomes). The botanical name of this plant comes from Sanskrit and in translation means "horn-shaped", which is consistent with the appearance of ginger. Its terrestrial part is a plant with narrow ribbed green leaves and white or yellowish-green flowers, which can reach a meter in height.
Today it is cultivated mainly in tropical countries. The main suppliers of goods are Jamaica, India, Fiji, Indonesia, Australia. It is believed that for culinary needs, a Jamaican plant variety (paler) is better suited.
Ginger is not a good source of calories, protein, or fiber. But this plant is able to enrich the body with many other useful components. This root contains a significant amount of amino acids and antioxidant compounds such as gingerol (it gives a burning taste), beta-carotene, capsaicin, curcumin, caffeic and salicylic acid.
|Calorie content||80 kcal|
|Vitamin B6||0.15 mg|
|Vitamin C||5 mg|
|Folic acid||11 mcg|
|A nicotinic acid||0.75 mg|
For centuries, ginger has served as a cure for various diseases in many nations. In China, for example, another 2 thousand years ago they were treated with:
- stomach pains;
- irritated intestines;
- nausea, vomiting
- excessive sweating;
- toxicosis in pregnant women;
- painful menstruation;
- various kinds of inflammation, including arthritis and osteoarthritis.
It is believed that the healing power of ginger is given by the essential oils and phenolic compounds contained in the product.
Useful properties of ginger
Ginger can rightly be called a miracle of nature. This product even in small quantities helps to overcome various ailments, get rid of free radicals, and also restore muscles after intense exertion.
Phenolic compounds that make up ginger help reduce gastrointestinal irritation, stimulate the production of saliva and bile, and reduce stomach cramps.
Ginger in raw form or in the form of tea can relieve nausea of various origins (toxicosis in pregnant women, motion sickness, nausea due to chemotherapy).
A study conducted by scientists at the University of Georgia, USA with the participation of 74 volunteers, showed that daily use of ginger reduces muscle pain by 25%. Also, 83% of women participating in a different experiment confirmed the ability of ginger extract to reduce menstrual pain. And a piece of this root is enough to soothe a bad tooth.
In many countries, ginger is used as an anti-inflammatory. Laboratory studies have confirmed the ability of this plant to remove inflammatory processes, in particular in the digestive system. Ginger has also been shown to be effective in treating symptoms associated with osteoarthritis. Gingerol, a unique substance that makes up the product, gives this ability to the root.
The active component of ginger gingerol is also known as an anti-cancer agent. Studies have shown that this substance is able to inhibit the growth of colorectal cancer cells. In addition, the effectiveness of ginger drugs to stop the malignant degeneration of ovarian cells has been proven.
Vitamin C and other active components that make up the ginger root affect the human body tonic. But consuming, for example, ginger tea as a prophylactic in cold seasons, it is important to observe the correct dosage. "Horned root" is not a product that should be consumed in large portions. Two small slices are enough to brew a cup of tea useful for the body.
They say that the ginger diet was developed by ancient Chinese healers. True or false today is hard to say. But the fact that tea from this healing root contributes to easier weight loss, many argue.
Those who have experienced the ginger diet say that this exotic tea reduces appetite and speeds up the metabolic processes in the body. The most popular ginger slimming recipe is to drink a glass of tea with lemon half an hour before a meal. However, this method of losing weight is contraindicated in people with gastritis, ulcers, bleeding and allergies to citrus.
With pronounced analgesic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic properties, ginger root is an effective medicine against tonsillitis, laryngitis, pharyngitis.
For the treatment of these diseases, ginger essential oil or root powder is suitable. Add in small amounts to inhalants, compresses, rinses. It is also useful in the form of tea.
"Horned root" contributes to the proper functioning of the reproductive system in men and women. Dishes seasoned with spice protect men from impotence, prevent prostatitis, and improve erection. The benefits for the female body are in regulating the hormonal background, stabilizing the work of the genital organs, as well as in reducing the pain of menstruation.
Not sure how to get rid of the smell of garlic? This, like any other bad breath, will eliminate ginger. It is enough to chew a small slice of the root to refresh your breath. And what’s important, this plant does not mask unpleasant odors, but completely removes them, killing bacteria in the oral cavity.
Other useful properties:
- prevents strokes, heart attacks;
- reduces glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes;
- reduces the concentration of cholesterol in the bloodstream;
- regulates the process of blood coagulation.
For adults, a safe dose of ginger is considered 4 g of concentrate per day. Pregnant women are not advised to take more than 1 g per day, and for children under 7 years old this supplement is generally contraindicated.
With nausea, upset stomach or excessive gas formation, 1 g of ginger per day will help. 650 mg of the substance will help relieve symptoms of toxicosis. And for joint pain caused by arthritis, it is advised to take 250 mg of ginger supplement 4 times a day.
For centuries, the "horned root" has been used as a restorative agent. But nevertheless, taking this plant for medicinal or preventive purposes should be extremely careful, since in combination with certain herbs or medicines, side effects are possible. In case of an overdose, diarrhea, heartburn, belching are possible.
Before using ginger, it is important for people with gallstones to consult a doctor. This product is contraindicated in bleeding and in people taking blood thinners because spice can increase the risk of bleeding. Against the background of sugar-lowering drugs, it can cause hypoglycemia in diabetics, and together with medicines for hypertension, a sharp decrease in blood pressure and arrhythmia. In addition, ginger can aggravate symptoms of reflux.
How to choose and store
Fresh ginger is available at most supermarkets. The mature root is covered with hard skin, which must be cut off before use. Ginger should be firm, smooth, without signs of rotting, mold.
Fresh product in raw form should be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Dry ginger in a tightly closed container in a cool and dark place can be stored up to six months.
It is believed that as a spice, ginger has been known to mankind for more than 4000 years. Today, this root is available in various forms. Of course, the most popular and useful - fresh. But besides fresh roots you can buy dried ones. Sugared or pickled plant roots are also available. The latter option is most often found in Japanese cuisine. In addition, there are essential oils seized from ginger, as well as dietary supplements based on the root of this plant.
Benefits of Ginger Tea
Ginger tea will not only warm perfectly in cold weather, but also enrich the body with many useful substances. The rich vitamin composition of this drink makes it extremely useful for people with the flu or SARS. It is also said that this drink is very good for weight loss.
To prepare this healing drink, you need 20-40 g of fresh ginger (sliced) and a glass of boiling water. Pour the roots with water and let it infuse. Add some honey and a slice of lemon. That's it, the miracle drink is ready!
By the way, tea is not the only drink that can be prepared from this plant. In the 19th century, bartenders added ground ginger to ale in English pubs. It is believed that the British borrowed this recipe from the ancient Greeks, who added ginger powder even to bread.
What to cook
Ginger is good not only in the form of tea or a component for beer. The classic recipes include the incomparable gingerbread cookie, known throughout the world. In addition, the finely chopped "horned root" perfectly complements pork or beef dishes. It also goes well with fish. As a dessert, delicious in cheesecakes, chocolate sweets, jams, juices or cocktails.
By the way, what taste ginger gives to the finished dish depends on when the spice is added. At the beginning of cooking - it will give a delicate aroma, at the end - a sharp taste.
Ginger in cosmetology
Women noticed the anti-aging properties of this spicy plant a very long time ago. Ginger masks give skin elasticity, restore elasticity, improve complexion and even out tone. Ginger is also a panacea for acne and blackheads, accelerates the healing of wounds and boils. In homemade recipes, it is best to combine gruel or ginger powder with other ingredients, such as honey, lemon, clay, vegetable oil, dairy products.
Ginger masks also have a positive effect on the condition of the hair. Owners of dry, weakened and brittle hair should try therapeutic mixtures of ginger, honey and yolk.
How to grow a "horned root"
The fact that ginger is a real lifesaver for almost all occasions is already understandable. But another thing is clear: ginger is not the cheapest treat on the market. Therefore, even in our latitudes, we thought about growing this spice in cottages or at home. Do you think this is impossible? But in vain. It is enough to buy one correct root and you can begin to grow the plant.
The correct root is a tuber with "eyes" like a potato. Before planting it should be soaked in warm water for 2.5 hours. This technique will “wake up” the kidneys. Plant (preferably in winter) in a fairly wide pot so that the root can grow freely. When sprouts appear, it is important to take good care of the plant. And it, as you know, loves moisture and warmth. With proper care, the first crop of homemade ginger can be expected in September. After harvesting, it is important to clear the tubers from the ground and dry in the sun for 2-3 days.
Spice number one. Do you know what product they say so? Of course, about ginger. This delicious plant, perhaps, has never been just a spice. Since mankind learned about the beneficial properties of the "horned root", ginger has been used for a wide variety of purposes. And everywhere it is of use.