Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The almighty Ginger

Ginger was first grown in China. Today, cultivation of ginger takes place all over the world. It is not only a delicious seasoning to cook with it has powerful properties

· Aids in Digestion – Ginger is perhaps the best herb for digestion. It helps break down proteins to rid the stomach and intestines of gas. It also aids in the digestion of fatty foods by encouraging the gall bladder to release bile.

Ginger gives relief from the nausea associated with morning sickness during pregnancy. It can also be used to treat nausea caused due to chemotherapy or seasickness. Ginger has been clinically demonstrated to work twice as well as Dramamine for fighting motion sickness, with no side effects

· Ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to relieve pain in the joints caused due to rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. To relieve arthritic pain, ginger is used externally, either in a bath or as a compress. To prepare a ginger bath, add a small quantity of boiling water to a slice or two of fresh ginger. Cover the vessel to prevent the volatile oils from evaporating into the atmosphere. After around ten minutes, add this mixture to your regular bath water. Whenever possible, choose fresh ginger over the dried form of the spice since it is not only superior in flavor but contains higher levels of gingerol as well as ginger’s active protease.

· Alleviates High Blood Pressure – Ginger’s warming quality improves and stimulates circulation and relaxes the muscles surrounding blood vessels, facilitating the flow of blood throughout the body.

· Lowers LDL Cholesterol – Studies demonstrate that ginger can lower cholesterol levels by reducing cholesterol absorption in the blood and liver. Its extract can help reduce the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body, reducing the risk of developing heart disease.

· Consumption of ginger makes the body feel warm and promotes perspiration. This property is especially useful when a person is suffering from a fever, since perspiration causes a fever to break faster. Consuming ginger is also beneficial if you have a cough, cold or a sore throat. Ginger contains the volatile oils zingerone, shoagoles, and gingerols, which give it its characteristic odour and flavour. Laboratory tests conducted prove that the gingerols display analgesic and anti-bacterial properties.

When buying gingerroot, choose plump, firm, and not overly fibrous pieces. Avoid ginger that has wrinkles or feels light -- signs of overdrying. If you're not planning to use the ginger right away, first wrap it in a paper towel, then a brown paper bag. Stored in your vegetable crisper in the refrigerator, it will last up to four weeks, as long as the paper towel stays dry and can absorb moisture from the ginger. Gingerroot should be peeled just before cooking; try scraping the root with the edge of a teaspoon, which gets into crevices safely and easily.

unpeeled fresh ginger
Juice of 1 fresh lemon

A few drops of Stevia or some honey if you are using it for a sore throat

Cut ginger into large chunks and smash each with the heel of a knife or with a meat pounder, to break up the fibers.

Boil water

Add the smashed ginger in a cup, cover with the hot water.

Sweetened if desired

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