Known to the Chinese and Indian cultures since ancient times, Ginger was one of the first eastern spices to reach the Mediterranean coast. Ginger was popular among sailors as early as the 5th century – they took pots with the plant on long trips as its root was said to protect them from scurvy and seasickness.
Ancient healers revered Ginger for its beneficial power: Ginger root contains many essential amino acids for the body and is also rich in vitamins C, B1, B2 and A, salts of magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. Confucius (557-479 BC) mentions it in his “Analects” – he did not sit at the table without Ginger being present. According to later documents, Ginger was imported into China from Southeast Asia. Arab traders kept secret the places from which they took it. Buyers – the inhabitants of ancient Greece, the Roman Empire and East Africa (around the 13th century) – were told that “Ginger grows on the edge of the earth, strictly guarded by dragons”.
It was a particularly popular spice in the Middle Ages. The streets where spices were sold were called Ginger Street.
The name “Ginger” originates from Sanskrit and means “horned” – because of the shape of the Ginger root. It contains about 3% essential oils, which give it an exotic aroma. Its aromatic oils contain various phytochemicals. The most prevalent is the content of zingibirin, and in lower concentrations bisabolin and farnesin. In addition to essential oil, the rhizome contains resins, polysaccharides and flavonoids.
The herb has antibacterial and antiviral properties and it stops the development of infections caused by Trichomonas and Salmonella in a short amount of time.
Ginger rhizome and its essential oils stimulate the gastric glands, act antimicrobially and serve as a tonic. It is applied to:
• runny nose;
• sore throat;
• in indigestion;
• as a diuretic
Ginger has antibacterial, analgesic and sedative effects. It also helps with digestive problems, as it increases the work of the bile. It further provides strong support to the body in cases of flu or colds.
In combination with other herbs, Ginger increases their action.
Its analgesic activity is associated with the suppression of bradykinin – the substance that plays a major role in the onset of pain.
The herb is used in blood clotting, lowers cholesterol and triglycerides. These properties of the herb are useful in the treatment of varicose veins, phlebitis and atherosclerosis.
In patients with peptic ulcer disease, Ginger is an excellent means of suppressing gastric secretion, pain and especially bleeding.
Its active substances directly affect the vanilloid receptors responsible for pain. Its properties are due to two main ingredients – chagol and gingerol, which have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
It is one of the most powerful antioxidants.
Ginger is most popular during the cold season due to its antiseptic properties. It has an extremely good effect on sore throats. It also tones and helps with recovery.
In addition, similar to garlic, ginger contains the substance allicin, the action of which can be compared with that of antibiotics. It has an extremely strong immunostimulating, antiviral and antibacterial effect. Allicin is also responsible for the pungent taste.
Ginger wonderfully stimulates digestion and improves intestinal peristalsis. It also soothes the lining of the stomach and balances the secretion of gastric juices. The root is an excellent means of purifying the body and losing weight. Ginger dilates blood vessels and supports blood circulation.
Ginger has been used in Asia for thousands of years to relieve:
• airway obstruction by secretions;
• sore throat;
• muscle pain and suffering;
• upset stomach;
• loss of appetite;
• chills and infectious diseases