Ginger and its health benefits
The spice ginger is the underground rhizome of the ginger plant, known botanically as Zingiber officinale. The plant’s botanical name is thought to be derived from its Sanskrit name singaberawhich means “horn shaped,” a physical characteristic that ginger reflects.
The flesh of the ginger rhizome can be yellow, white or red in color, depending upon the variety. It is covered with a brownish skin that may either be thick or thin, depending upon whether the plant was harvested when it was mature or young. The ginger rhizome has a firm, yet striated texture and a taste that is aromatic, pungent and hot. Ginger is a wonder spice with time-tested digestion friendly properties.
Benefits of Ginger
- Eat fresh ginger just before lunch to stoke a dull appetite and fire up the digestive juices.
- Ginger improves the absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients in the body
- Ginger clears the ‘microcirculatory channels’ of the body, including the pesky sinuses that tend to flare up from time to time
- Feeling airsick or nauseous? Chew on ginger, preferably tossed in a little honey.
- Reeling under joint pain? Ginger, with its anti-inflammatory properties can bring relief. Float some ginger essential oil in your bath to help aching muscles and joints.
- Just had surgery? Chewing ginger post-operation can help overcome nausea
- Stir up some ginger tea to get rid of throat and nose congestion. And when there’s a nip in the air, the warming benefits of this tasty tea are even greater
- Bedroom blues? Try adding a gingery punch to a bowl of soup.
Here are a few ways we eat ginger.
- In hot tea– We drink literally gallons of hot ginger tea in the fall and winter. We just cut up a hunk of fresh ginger (no need to peel) and pour a lot of boiling water over it. A little honey, a little lemon, and it’s the perfect winter tonic.
- Soup– Fresh ginger, grated or pureed, brings wonderful zest to hot, creamy winter soups. Try this Indian-spiced carrot soup with ginger or this sweet potato soup with miso and ginger.
- With fish– We really like spicy ginger with tender, flaky fish. Try this recipe for Ginger and Cilantro Baked Tilapia; full of flavor, and it only takes a few minutes to bake.
- In stir-fries– Almost every stir-fry could use a little grated or even minced ginger to spice things up.
- In sweet things– It’s baking time, and there are lots of sweet things that are great with fresh ginger. Try steeping milk with ginger for these caramels. Or try ginger hand pies or pumpkin pie with fresh ginger.
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