Ginger and its herbal importance

health benefits of GingerGinger (Zingiber officinale) is the fresh or dried root of a member of ginger family. It has been cultivated for thousands of years in India and China, and has also reached the West more than two thousand years ago. Thousands of prescriptions in Chinese medicine are combination of herbs, and almost all such prescriptions use ginger to stimulate appetite and to calm the stomach.

Uses “ Ginger, known for its antifungal, antibacterial, anti-tumour, anti-ulcerous and pain relieving properties, is now being used for treating anything from a simple stomach upset to preventing motion sickness symptoms. Clinical studies have revealed that ginger has a great potential in reducing nausea associated with motion sickness.

The therapeutic benefits of ginger include relief from cold, flu, chills, fever, headaches, stomach upset, improving blood circulation, reducing nausea, relieving pain, chest congestion, improving liver function and digestion and reducing morning sickness during pregnancy.

Ginger tea – Ginger is generally used as an infusion (in the form of tea) or can be chewed on plainly or the juice can be extracted. The standard way to prepare an infusion is to cut the root into thin slices and infuse into hot water for atleast five minutes before straining. In the case of fresh ginger root, use quarter cup of fresh material, whereas for dried material, use two teaspoons of the material for preparing the infusion. In case, the recipe involves using seeds or barks of the herb, use one tablespoon of the bark and about two teaspoons of the seeds. The infusion can further be sweetened with honey, if required.

Caution – Ginger, should however, be avoided by individuals with ulcers in digestive tract, and by those suffering very high fever or skin inflammation. Also the infusion should not be used for more than ten days at a stretch. The infusion should not be consumed more than one cup a day, except while running a cold or flu. Also, in case of any side effects, it is best to consult a health practitioner immediately.

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