Mar 18, 2013

Health Benefits and Uses of Ginger

Ginger was used widely by the ancient Greeks and Romans, and was a common article of commerce in Europe in the middle ages. Apart from its value as a natural medicine, it was used as a spice, coloring agent in food, and even in the cloth industry. It was used in India and China in traditional forms of medicine.

Composition of Ginger

Ginger is rich in a number of nutrients, including the following:
  • It has proteins, essential fats and vitamins B and C. Minerals include potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous.
  • The oil of ginger is a mixture of 20 constituents, and is responsible for its aroma. One of these is gingerol, which has phenols, making it pungent.
  • Zingibaine and protease are potent enzymes.
  • It is rich in antioxidants, some of which are more powerful than vitamin E. The phytonutrients include carotenes, flavonoids and trace minerals.
  • There is no cholesterol in ginger.
Health Benefits of Ginger

Ginger has medicinal properties and a number of health benefits due to its rich contents.
  • Ginger is used in medical prescriptions because of its anti-emetic properties. The latter prevents vomiting due to various factors like chemotherapy, motion sickness, morning sickness and food poisoning. It is commonly used in combination with honey to soothe these conditions.
  • The powerful volatile oils have medical properties. Gingerol dilates the blood vessels and improves circulation. Like garlic, it lowers the risk of blood clots.
  • Ginger lowers cholesterol and increases the efficiency of the heart. It also lowers blood pressure and the risk of strokes.
  • The carminative properties of ginger prevent flatulence. It controls nausea and increases the peristaltic movement of the intestine. It fights intestinal worms, produces friendly bacteria for the intestines, and prevents diarrhea.
  • Ginger is an aromatic stimulant and boosts digestion. It sharpens the senses, and energizes and stimulates.
  • The fresh juice of ginger has hypoglycemic properties and thus helps to regulate blood sugar.
  • The enzyme in ginger enhances the metabolism of fats and proteins and helps the body to utilize them better.
  • Ginger acts like a pain killer or anti-inflammatory, reducing pain, inflammation, stiff joints and arthritic pain, while being free of the side effects of medications.
  • It is very effective in alleviating cold, cough and asthma, allergies, migraine, vertigo and ulcers.
Culinary Uses of Ginger

Ginger has traditionally been an important ingredient in food due to its aroma, flavor and pungency, as well as preservative qualities. The latter is due to the presence of antioxidants and anti-microbial properties, which keep food fresh longer. Protease attacks proteins and helps to tenderize meat.

Ginger helps to improve the taste of dishes. It is added to soups, stocks, salads, vegetable dishes, marinades, sauces and some desserts. It is used as a revitalizing herb in tea and soup to energize the body. Ginger tea is spicy and healthy, used to alleviate colds and coughs. Ginger is also used to flavor wine and beer.

Other Uses of Ginger

The warm, fresh juice of ginger is effective as a gargle for a sore throat. Ginger root is given for colds, while ground ginger is used for coughs. Ginger has been considered auspicious in India.

Ginger root is used in Hawaii to cure headaches. It is a common home remedy to stop hiccoughs.

Ginger has been a common medicinal and culinary herb for over two thousand years. Apart from its aroma and pungency, it has curative and preventive properties, and is useful in boosting digestion and circulation, alleviating nausea, respiratory problems and pain. Therefore, it is one of the most common and valued items all over the world.


Kumar, Vijaya, “The secret benefits of spices and condiments”, Sterling publishers, 2008., Ginger facts and health benefits, (accessed April 16, 2010)., Exploring the Health Benefits of Ginger, (accessed April 16, 2010).



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