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Ginger is a versatile medicinal plant that is known to help against colds and nausea and to increase vitality. When taken daily, the unique power of ginger to fight and prevent serious illnesses and inflammation comes to its fullest potential. Whether taken as ginger tea, ginger water with turmeric or lemon, as a ginger capsule or as a ginger shot, the options for use are as diverse as the range of effects of the ginger plant, and you can even plant it at home.
Profile for ginger
- Scientific name: Zingiber officinale
- Plant family: Ginger family (Zingiberaceae)
- Popular names: Ever root, imber, ginger, ginger root
- Occurrence: The natural occurrence of the ginger plant is probably the Pacific Islands. This is not clearly proven. Ginger is currently cultivated mainly in Southeast Asia, Africa, Australia, Jamaica and South America.
- Parts of plants used: Underground shoot axis (rhizome)
- application areas:
- Pain and inflammation
- Nausea and nausea
- Loss of appetite
- Alzheimer's (preventive)
- Thrombosis and arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) (preventive)
Ginger is a herbaceous plant that thrives best in warm climates on nutrient-rich soil. Ginger is related to cardamom and turmeric. Its origin is believed to be in the subtropics.
From the underground, branched and horizontally growing shoot axis, the rhizome, shoots grow with light green, unstalked lanceolate leaves. The single flowers stand together in a piston-shaped inflorescence and are surrounded by green-yellow bracts. Between the yellow to purple petals sits a sweet-smelling, dark purple stamen. Capsule fruits are formed.
The part used by ginger is the rhizome, which is up to 20 centimeters long and three centimeters thick. One often speaks of the "tuber" in connection with ginger, because this rhizome has a bulbous appearance. However, it is not part of the root of the ginger plant.
Ginger is reminiscent of bamboo due to the green stems and the shape of the 20 cm long leaves. The ginger plant can reach a height of 50 to 150 centimeters. After a growth phase of around eight months, ginger is harvested. This ginger is still young and tender and is therefore mainly used in the kitchen. After another eight to ten months of growth, when the reed-like leaves turn yellow, the picking of the spice ginger can begin. This is dried and later ground into powder.
As an old medicinal and spice plant, ginger can be used in many ways. Ginger was used as a widespread medicinal plant in ancient China from 1050 to 221 BC, and Confucius already consumed ginger against travel sickness on his travels. The tuber has proven to be an effective helper to increase general well-being. Ginger has been used as an aphrodisiac since ancient times and still today in Japan.
Dried as a powder or freshly cut, the tuber is used in food and beverages. Ginger smells subtly aromatic-lemon. The taste of ginger is spicy and spicy with a certain fruity sweetness. Ginger can be found in the soft drink Ginger Ale (Ginger means ginger) or in non-alcoholic beers. Ginger was imported to Europe from Asia in the 9th century. In the Middle Ages it was considered poor man's pepper, since pepper from India was very expensive.
The word ginger is derived in Latin from "gingiber", which can be traced back to the Greek word "zingiberis", which in turn comes from the central Indian term "singivera". Other sources see the word origin in Sanskrit, where "sringavera" means antler-shaped. The bulbous and branched rhizome of ginger actually resembles an antler.
The healing effect of ginger against nausea is best known, especially for travel sickness and vomiting. Ayurveda is also used for pain, neurological diseases and poor circulation.
In naturopathy, ginger is a tried and tested remedy for abdominal pain, cough, sore throat, depression, burnout, chronic pain and inflammation, as well as enteritis (inflammation of the small intestine) or rheumatism.
Good results are also achieved with ginger for dizziness, circulatory and circulatory disorders, muscle pain and cramps, sensitivity to cold and lack of drive.
Ginger is very popular with athletes because it vitalises before exercising and prevents muscle soreness afterwards. Daily ginger intake can even prevent heart attacks, strokes and Alzheimer's. This is thanks to the sharp substances contained. They actively counteract a large number of toxins in the body.
Ingredients and effects
A total of 241 plant substances were detected in the ginger. A large number are antioxidants and have an anti-inflammatory effect. Ginger is one of the twelve best disease-fighting foods. Ginger rhizome contains eight percent of a viscous balm. The healing properties of ginger are based on the special medicinal ingredients contained in it, which are found in
- essential oil (sesquiterpenes) and in
- Spicy substances (gingerole and shogaole)
have it divided.
Sesquiterpenes are contained in the essential oil of ginger. They are an important subset of the terpenes. Only about 20 of all known sesquiterpenes are significant as flavorings. The main sesquiterpene in ginger is zingiberen, about which little is known, however.
Gingerols are one of the spicy substances. 6-Gingerol, which is the most important gingerol, provides the sharp taste of ginger. Due to a similar chemical structure to the drug acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), gingerols have comparable active properties. They inhibit the enzyme cyclooxygenase, which is responsible for pain or mediates inflammation, and have a comparable effect to aspirin.
The effect of gingerols is
- pain reliever,
- anti-inflammatory (also for chronic inflammation),
- Reducing blood lipids,
- Alleviates nausea and vomiting
- and inhibits platelet aggregation.
Gingerols work in the gastrointestinal tract
- antispasmodic (flatulence, abdominal cramps),
- against nausea,
- Stimulating salivation and gastric secretion
- and warming.
A study from Korea shows the potential of 6-gingerol to prevent Alzheimer's. A study from Denmark shows the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory power in rheumatism. Australian scientists highlighted the effects of 6-gingerol against osteoarthritis in another study. 6-Gingerol can reduce the inflammation that increases cartilage breakdown in the joints in osteoarthritis and also the pain in the joints.
Promising results from an Australian study in animals and cell cultures also reveal that ginger has great potential in accompanying cancer therapy: the negative effects of the drugs taken during chemotherapy can be mitigated by taking ginger (after consulting a doctor). Ginger supports and rebuilds the intestinal flora and relieves nausea. Studies even show 6-gingerol's ability to inhibit tumor cell growth.
Shogaols develop from gingeroles as a breakdown product as soon as ginger dries. Shogaol is much sharper than gingerol, so dried ginger has a much sharper taste.
In addition to 8-, 10- and 12-shogaol, 6-shogaol is the most important and most researched shogaol that has a cell-active effect in the human body by, among other things, promotes antioxidant enzymes and how 6-gingerol improves the health of mitochondria (power plants of human cells). It is similar in its particularly important active properties to 6-gingerol and may even have an even stronger healing effect.
A study from Iran shows that the 6-shogaol contained in ginger, which is known to protect the heart, prevents Alzheimer's. An Indian study found that 6-Shogaol counteracts rheumatism and osteoarthritis, and researchers from France have demonstrated its effectiveness against nausea and vomiting.
A clinical study in animals and cell cultures found evidence of a supportive effect of 6-Shogaol in the accompanying cancer therapy. Even in the fight against cancer stem cells, a study with cell cultures shows promising effects of 6-shogaol. However, these results need to be expanded and tested on people.
The ginger rhizome also contains vitamin C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium and iron and other antioxidant plant substances.
Application and dosage
Ginger can be chewed raw, as ginger water, ginger shot, ginger tea, in drops, as a capsule or tablet, or inlaid and enjoyed candied - the ingredients achieve the same effect. A daily dosage of two to five grams of ginger is recommended so that the disease-preventing properties (such as against Alzheimer's disease, arthrosis) of ginger can develop their full effectiveness. A daily dose of two to five grams is also recommended for ginger capsules or tablets. Ginger can also refine raw or powdered foods when cooking.
With an overdose of more than five grams a day, heartburn, bloating and diarrhea can occur. Due to its blood-thinning effect, it is not advisable to take it before an operation. Because ginger promotes gastric acid production and aids digestion, people who are prone to heartburn shouldn't take ginger. Pregnant women should not use ginger in the last three months of pregnancy due to its labor-promoting properties.
Ginger tea - effect and recipe
- A liter of water,
- a piece of ginger (five centimeters long)
- and two teaspoons of honey.
Ginger tea helps with numerous complaints, has a preventive effect against diseases, is vitalizing, stimulates the metabolism and fat burning and at the same time relieves stress. It is best to use fresh ginger for the preparation of ginger tea. This can be recognized by its smooth surface and a firm tuber.
Depending on the country of origin, ginger from Nigeria is hot, whereas ginger from Jamaica or China has a mild taste. Ginger tea can be drunk throughout the day and can also be consumed specifically to combat nausea during pregnancy. In the last third of pregnancy, however, ginger can promote labor and should therefore not be used.
In the event of nausea, a cup of tea in the morning should be drunk on an empty stomach. The rest of the ginger tea can be consumed cold throughout the day.
- Cut a piece of ginger about five centimeters (cm) long into two or three thin slices. (If the ginger is organically grown, the peel can also be cooked. Otherwise, please peel thinly.)
- Pour a liter of boiling water over the ginger slices and let the tea steep for ten minutes.
The ginger pieces can be left in the teapot. For a further taste note, the ginger tea can be combined with other teas and sweetened with honey.
variation: You can boil a grated zest of an organic lime or lemon and add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to the tea. This gives the tea a wonderful yellow color. Turmeric belongs to the same plant family as ginger and has similar health-promoting and disease-fighting properties.
Extra tip: If you prefer it cold, let the tea cool down and drink it chilled as ginger water.
Ginger Shot - recipe for daily healthy refreshment
The trend to drink ginger as a shot comes from the United States. With one sip (English shot) per day, the body gets a real boost of energy and one wakes up, similar to coffee. The healing properties of ginger come to their full effect in the fresh, cool ginger shot. Unlike in tea, the vitamins are better preserved without heating. A shot is only 40 milliliters (ml) and therefore only a small sip a day, but it has it all.
Ingredients for 400 ml (ten shots):
- 50 grams of fresh ginger,
- three lemons,
- four to five tablespoons of maple syrup
- and 200 ml of water.
Peel and finely chop the ginger. Squeeze the lemon. Mix the water and maple syrup with the lemon juice and the chopped ginger using a blender. Mix everything briefly and pour the shot into a bottle and keep in the fridge. Shake the bottle before drinking!
An additional pinch of cayenne pepper gives the ginger shot a special edge. If you want, you can puree half a peeled apple instead of using three lemons and add the juice of three limes.
Plant and grow ginger
If you want to be sure that you are eating ginger, which has been treated without plant toxins and likes to garden, you can plant ginger yourself. The heat-loving ginger plant, which is native to the tropics, grows with a little skill and care in your own garden or on the balcony. As in the greenhouse, optimal growth conditions are high humidity and temperature, lots of sun and no drafts.
The pot is suitable for planting, since ginger is not winter-proof and should be brought in from autumn. Pottery shards should be placed on the bottom of the pot to avoid waterlogging. The ginger plant likes it constantly moist (but not wet) and should therefore be watered regularly. It is very important to use a nutrient-rich seeding soil from specialist dealers and thus fill up the pot. The tuber may be from the supermarket, but should still be plump and fresh.
Before being planted, it is cut into pieces as thick as a finger and covered with the cut sides facing up with a layer of earth a few centimeters thick. Then a thin plastic film should be stretched over the pot until the first shoots germinate and the pot should stand in a half-sunny place. With luck, a delicate green shoot will appear after about two weeks and the film can be removed. Rainwater that is not calcareous is suitable for watering.
Ginger can be harvested after about nine months, when the plant is about one meter high. At this point, the leaves turn yellow. The tuber, i.e. the soil sprout (scientifically rhizome), can now be excavated. The light and young parts of the tuber can be used fresh, dried or frozen. It is important to leave a piece of the older, darker sprout in the ground and to let it hibernate in a bright, cool room without watering in the pot. In the coming spring, young green shoots will form again. (ls)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
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