Spicy and aromatic, ginger packs a punch. Commonly recognized as a spice and ingredient in some of our favorite foods, this rhizome root is more than flavorful. Ginger has long been cultivated for medicinal remedies.
Ayurveda refers to the root as vistwabhesa, which stands for “universal medicine”. It has been known to help in relieving pain, improving circulation, and even curing the common cold. The oil and phenolic compounds give ginger its healing properties. More than just remedies, herbs are incorporated in an Ayurveda diet as means of balancing health. The right herbs can put your dosha back in order. It can balance out Vata, increase Pitta, and pacify Kapha.
Fresh and dried are the most commonly used forms of ginger, each offering different benefits. Fresh ginger is often found beneficial for nausea or stomach issues. It is the most recommended form as it contains more gingerol, the anti-inflammatory compound. Dried ginger is typically best for colds. It is therapeutic in nature and can be used in many remedies. A tea of ginger, honey, water, and lemon can soothe an upset stomach, improve circulation, or ease stress. Ayurveda would recommend eating ginger before and after meals to improve digestion.
Belonging to the same family as turmeric, ginger contains similar properties. Magnesium, calcium, vitamins, and zinc are just a few of the nutrients it provides. This makes ginger unique in that it provides a significant source of nutrients, unlike some spices. The consumption of ginger is also thought to help improve the body's absorption of nutrients. Ginger, being the “universal medicine” that it is, can be found in an everyday Ayurvedic diet.
Fresh, dried, or pickled, ginger enhances the flavor of any dish. Add it to a beverage for extra bite. Chew on the root to clear your sinuses. Foods like curry or jerk sauce would not be the same without the addition of ginger. With all the cooking options and home remedies, ginger can be used in just about anything.