Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a medicinal plant, a natural anti-inflammatory, it can help treating respiratory diseases, osteoarthritis, diabetes and digestive disorders, and it can also be used to lose weight.
Because of its spicy and aromatic taste, it is advisable to consume it in moderation and to use it as a food ingredient.
Since ginger is rich in essential oils, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids with many and important benefits to the human body, its consumption is highly recommended in any balanced diet.
10 health benefits of consuming Ginger:
- It reduces rheumatic and menstrual pain.
- It’s effective against the flu and colds, since it is a natural expectorant.
- Improves blood flow, which prevents cardiovascular diseases.
- Reduces and prevents dizziness and vertigo.
- It’s a natural aphrodisiac so it stimulates the libido.
- It’s a natural antidepressant.
- It slows down premature aging because of its antioxidants, and reduces stress levels.
- Reduces migraines by inhibiting the effects of the prostaglandin.
- It prevents colon and ovarian cancer.
- Helps and improves digestion.
Ways to consume Ginger.
There are many ways to enjoy the benefits of this rhizome. You can consume it through teas, smoothies, juices, salads, stews or desserts; as a powder, fresh or desiccated (dried). You can find tablets and capsules in herbalist’s shops, and even ginger cough syrups.
So if you really want to enjoy its benefits, then don’t think it twice and add ginger into your diet.
How to make a Ginger infusion or tea.
An infusion is the most common and simple way to use this plant for medicinal purposes. You can do this with fresh or dried ginger. If you are using it fresh, then cut a piece of the root and boil it for 5 minutes, or simply grate it and add it to the boiled water. It is common for people to consume it by adding it directly to regular teas.
If it’s dried ginger, then dissolve the recommended dose in hot water and it’ll be ready for consumption.
While ginger consumption has no real restrictions, you should still measure the amount you ingest. Below are the optimal doses you should consider if you’re after the benefits aforementioned.
- If we are using fresh Ginger, it is recommended to consume between 3 to 10 grams a day.
- If we are using Ginger powder, the recommended dose is no more than 2 grams a day.
How to lose weight easy and fast with Ginger.
One of the most common uses for this plant is in diets; and thanks to its multiple digestive properties, improvement of metabolic acceleration, its anti-inflammatory benefits, and its positive effects on the musculoskeletal system, ginger is ideal for people trying to lose weight in a simple and effective way.
As every other method to lose weight, ginger consumption must be followed by a change of habits, exercise and a varied and well-balanced diet.
Many studies have been conducted to see how ginger really works in losing weight, and it was proven that its consumption helps the body to experience a feeling of satiety earlier, thus preventing us from overeating. ((Study about Ginger consumption and satiety https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22538118))
Contraindications and toxicity of ginger.
Ginger is a plant with virtually no toxicity, so its consumption is safe. The most frequent secondary effect is experiencing an increase in body temperature due to the metabolic acceleration that is part of the plant’s properties.
However, there are cases where its consumption might be contraindicated since it can have adverse effects if consumed along certain medications. People taking medications for high-blood pressure, diabetes or anticoagulants should ask their doctor before consuming this plant.
There is plenty of information about the properties of Ginger so I’ve tried to make a summary of the most important ones, so our readers can have a clear picture about the uses they can find in this noble root.
Consuming Ginger during pregnancy and lactation.
It hasn’t been proven as safe during pregnancy, so it’s not advisable to consume it in high doses, much less in concentrated forms or supplements. If you have any doubt or concern, ask your doctor.
Even though ginger is not contraindicated during lactation, in some cases it has been linked to somnolence.
How to easily grow Ginger at home.
Since ginger is an indoor and potted crop, it can grow anywhere, but it needs heat, humidity, and cannot withstand direct sunlight. It multiplies by rhizomes, so we can plant any piece of Ginger that we have at home by simply placing it in a pot, watering it, giving it love, and just waiting until it’s time to harvest.
It is recommended to plant during spring and to make sure that the original steam is as fresh as possible.
In the above picture, you can spot the marks in the rhizomes. The first step is preparing a pot with a good drainage and having the soil mixed already by using one part of sand and one part of ripe compost. We should place the ginger piece in the center with its rhizomes pointing upwards.
Preparing the Rhizome
Let the root soaking in water throughout the night and then slice it in medium sized pieces. Make sure every segment has at least a couple of small lumps, which are the buds from which the new plants will grow.
Fill a plant pot of about 30 cm deep with the previously readied soil mixture. Make sure the container has enough size to place 2 to 3 pieces of ginger inside. Gently push down the rhizomes and slightly cover them with a layer of soil. Place the pots in a shaded area.
Plant Care and Growth
At first, we’ll start with little watering and increase the frequency as soon as the plants sprout. Ginger is a plant that grows well in humidity and heat. Keep the soil moist, but do not puddle it, and make sure the temperature is below 20ºC. In the first year, the plants should reach a height between 40 to 80 centimeters.
Once the plants have reached a good size, we can start slowly harvesting the root while continuing to care for it with constant watering. This way, the plant can continue to grow and if we plant two or three, then after a while we’ll always have fresh ginger at our disposal.
Watering, care and harvest.
Ginger should be watered daily, leaving the soil moist, but without puddling it. In a month, the plant should have stems and leaves. It rarely flowers and does not bear fruits. It should be ready to harvest in 8 to 10 months. When the plant starts to dry, it means it’s ready for harvesting. After the harvest, one part of the root with enough rhizomes should be planted again for the next harvest.
Keep the root once harvested or bought.
One of the best and simplest ways to preserve a piece of ginger for more than three weeks is to store it in the fridge using a plastic bag, preferably one with a hermetic zip so little to no air remains inside.
Another option is directly freezing it, which should last about a year, although the texture won’t be the same after defrosting it.
If we have leftover Ginger and it’s already peeled, then we can preserve it using vodka. The mix works really well when used for seasoning different meals; for example, sushi.
In the case our Ginger is still planted in its pot, it’s better to leave it there and cut a piece every time we want to consume it.
Go ahead and try this at home! Ginger is delicious, easy to grow and it has plenty of benefits.