Ginger, Zingiber officinale, is an herb that enjoys wide acceptance in oriental cuisine due to its healing properties. Ginger enhances the taste and aroma of food. It is a spice having medicinal properties. Ginger is a tuber and its rhizome is used for both medicinal and culinary purposes. Whether dried or fresh, ginger is effective in treating fever, common cold, hemorrhoids, gouty arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and various digestive problems like indigestion, acidity, nausea etc.
Dried ginger is boiled in water along with jaggery, holy basil leaves and cloves and a decoction is prepared to treat fever. This decoction has to be taken 4 – 5 times a day depending on the intensity of fever. Ginger juice along with the juices of Cuban oregano leaves (Plectranthus amboinicus) and holy basil leaves can prevent cold and fever. It is also effective to treat sore throat and helps to remove excess kapha from the body.
Ginger juice helps to get rid of all discomforts due to indigestion. Ginger juice taken along with lemon juice can cure stomach pain due to acidity and indigestion. Ginger enhances secretion of gastric juices and thereby helps in better digestion and cures loss of appetite. Ginger juice if taken along with honey and lemon juice can cure cold and cough. This mix, if diluted in lukewarm water, is a good health tonic.
Equal quantities of ginger juice and lemon juice if taken along with rock salt (to taste) can give you relief from gastritis and indigestion. Ginger fried in ghee is boiled in tamarind juice along with turmeric powder and salt to prepare a thick decoction which is effective in detoxification as well as in stabilizing digestive process.
Ginger is also a natural pain killer. One teaspoon ginger soaked in two teaspoons of honey for 12 hours if taken in an empty stomach, twice daily, for two weeks can give you complete relief from back pain. To treat tooth ache one teaspoon each of ginger juice and honey is left alone in the affected area for some time. This remedy for tooth ache needs to be frequently repeated for better results. Honey and ginger juice is also effective to treat stomach pain. You may also use crushed ginger and garlic mixed with cardamom powder, thrice daily, to treat stomach pain.
Medicinal uses of ginger are endless. According to Ayurveda, ginger should be made a part of daily cuisine to enjoy its medicinal properties.