Alternative medicine: Ginger
Tue, 16 Oct 2007 19:59:52
By Patricia Khashayar MD., Press TV, Tehran
Ginger is called 'the universal medicine' for its therapeutic effects in various diseases such as
flu, nausea and muscular pains.
Botanical: Zingiber officinale (ROSC.)
Family: N.O. Zingiberaceae
Ginger which seems to have originated from Southern China is now cultivated all over Asia,
Brazil, Jamaica and Nigeria.
Ginger is a perennial root which creeps and increases underground, in tuberous joints; in the
spring it sends up green 2-foot-high stalk-like reeds with narrow lanceolate leaves from its
The flowering stalk rises directly from the root, ending in an oblong scallop spike; from each
spike white or yellow bloom grows.
The large, fleshy rhizome ('gingerroot', although it is not a root).
When fresh it has a staghorn-like appearance. Dried ginger is usually sold in the form of off-
white to very light brown powder.
Ginger leaves are occasionally used for flavoring.
Commercial ginger is called black or white, according to whether it is peeled or unpeeled; the
ripened roots of both kinds are used after the plant dies down.
The primary known constituents of ginger root include gingerols, zingibain, bisabolenel,
oleoresins, starch, essential oil (zingiberene, zingiberole, camphene, cineol, borneol),
mucilage, and protein.
It also contains acrid soft resin, gum, lignin, vegeto matter, asmazone, acetic acid, acetate of
potassa, sulphur and citral.
The pungency of ginger is caused by a non-volatile resin containing hydroxyaryl compounds.
Fresh ginger root appears to have the most medicinal qualities; however, the dried form may
work well too.
Ginger is most commonly known for its effectiveness as a digestive aid. By increasing the
Page 1 of 3Press TV Print
production of digestive fluids and saliva, it helps relieve indigestion, gas pains, diarrhea and
Ginger root is believed to affect the part of the central nervous system which causes nausea
and therefore is used both motion and morning sickness. It can also be used to prevent
nausea from chemotherapy.
Ginger's anti-inflammatory properties help relieve pain and reduce inflammation associated
with arthritis and rheumatism, and muscular spasms.
Ginger tea is a hot infusion very useful for treating the flu; however, different countries have
their own preparation method:
In India, ginger is applied as a paste to the temples to relieve headaches and consumed when
suffering from a cold.
In Myanmar, ginger and a local sweet made from palm tree juice (Htan nyat) are boiled
together and consumed to prevent the flu.
In China, a drink made with sliced ginger cooked in sweetened water or a cola is used as a
folk medicine for common colds.
By loosening and expelling phlegm from the lungs ginger root can be effective in treating
asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems.
Ginger root is a known diaphoretic and can be used to help break fevers by warming the body
and increasing perspiration.
Ginger's therapeutic properties effectively stimulate blood circulation, removing toxins from
the body, cleansing the bowels and kidneys, and nourishing the skin.
Ginger is used to treat vertigo, suppressed menstruation, syphilis, tetanus, malaria, breast
cancer, toothaches and dog bites.
Ginger is an anodyne, an antidote for scorpions, an antiseptic, a stimulant, and tonic.
0.25 - 1 grams of crushed or powdered dried ginger root can be taken after every meal.
Ginger tea is prepared by pouring one cup of boiling water onto a teaspoonful of coarsely
powdered ginger steeped for 5 to 10 minutes. The tea is better used before meals.
Ginger tincture is more commonly used than tea; 10-20 drops of ginger tincture in 1/2-1
glass of water can be used before meals.
For treating and preventing motion sickness, ingest 500 mg of ginger powder (dried) between
30 to 60 minutes prior to traveling. 500 mg should be taken as needed every 2 to 4 hours.
Fluid extracts, syrup and oleoresin are also made from it.
Ginger essence should be avoided, as it is often adulterated with harmful ingredients.
Individuals with warm temperament should avoid taking ginger. The excess use of ginger is
not recommended in pregnant women, however, they can take as much as 1 gram per day to
Page 2 of 3Press TV Print