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Ginger is a plant that grows wild in Asia and, according to research, has versatile effects on health. This article introduces ginger, its properties, use and cultivation.
What is ginger?
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a herbaceous, monocotyledonous plant native to Asia that has been used both as a spice and as a medicine for thousands of years. It belongs to the ginger plant family, which also includes e.g. cardamom and turmeric. Ginger plants are usually used for its succulent rhizome and it has versatile uses. A slightly fragrant grass grows from the ground stem, which can grow to a meter long.
Ginger contains e.g. carbohydrates, minerals and trace elements, vitamins, tryptophan and a huge number of different compounds, from which the health effects are also formed. Ginger has e.g. terpenes, gingerol, shogaol, galanolactone, zingiberene, pareidole and zingerone. (1,2)
The effect of ginger on health
According to research, ginger has positive effects on health. Ginger is antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective anti-inflammatory. Ginger may alleviate e.g. caused by chemotherapy nausea in addition to potentially preventing cancer, preventing fatigue and improving overall quality of life. Also degenerative diseases such as properties that slow down rheumatism , improve digestion and affect cardiovascular health have been observed both in studies and in user experience.
Ginger may also help reduce muscle pain when consumed before sports. In addition, it has been found to have killing effects against viruses, bacteria and even parasites. (1,2,3,4)
Listed below are a few of the things that ginger affects.
Blood pressure may be lowered with the help of ginger
According to some studies, ginger may have a lowering effect on blood pressure. Ginger may widen blood vessels, improve blood circulation and contain vitamins and trace and mineral substances that have a positive effect on blood circulation and blood pressure. (3,4)
Because ginger may lower blood pressure and affect vascular health, e.g. blood thinner, so you should be careful with its use if you use blood thinners or if your blood pressure is already low.
Liver values can be improved by ginger
According to animal experiments, ginger has liver protection and e.g. liver cirrhosis and fatty liver preventive effects. Ginger appears to have an effect on both alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. (1,5,6)
Use of ginger during pregnancy
Although ginger may have an anti-nausea effect, in Finland it is not recommended for pregnant women. Some compounds that ginger contains may be harmful to the development of the fetus, but research on the harm of ginger to pregnancy or the developing fetus has not been done very extensively.
In one study, ginger was found to be effective for hyperemesis when compared to a placebo and vitamin B6. In Asia, ginger has been used throughout pregnancy for thousands of years without any clear harm to the fetus.
Almost no herbs should be used regularly during pregnancy, and ginger is no exception. However, drinking ginger tea occasionally or using ginger as a spice is unlikely to be harmful. (1,7)
The use of ginger
Ginger is available in different forms and is used both as a spice, medicine and as a delicacy. It is available fresh, dried, powder, candy, juice, juice shot, fermented capsules, coated with chocolate or sugar, etc.
You can buy ginger in regular grocery stores as fresh, dried powder, preserved in vinegar or squeezed into juice, and you can get it in health food stores in various preparations, from chocolate to encapsulated powders.
Storing ginger is easy. Fresh ginger will keep for several weeks at room temperature and longer in the refrigerator. The dried powder can be stored for years at room temperature. Different ginger preparations are stored according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Ginger and lemon
Ginger and lemon are a good combination, because they go well together both in terms of taste and health effects. The combination of ginger and lemon is called e.g. removes excess fluids from the body, i.e. reduces swelling, lowers blood pressure, boosts metabolism, prevents excessive fat absorption, relieves flu symptoms. Both ginger and lemon both contain various vitamins and trace and mineral substances such as vitamin C and potassium.
Lemon and ginger can be made into a drink that can be kept in the fridge or enjoyed as a warm tea.
Ginger grows wild in Asia, but today it is cultivated all over the world both in the open field and in greenhouses. Ginger is cultivated even in Finland, reportedly by at least one commercial grower (8), but the largest commercial crops are grown in India, Jamaica, Peru and China.
You can also grow ginger at home with the help of rhizomes available in the store, either indoors in a pot or in the summer in a greenhouse. The store-bought rhizome is placed in a flat, dish-like container on its lap and lightly covered with soil. The rhizome may remain on the surface of the soil, and it doesn’t matter if part of it is visible. The soil should remain moist, but not too wet, and you can place a film with a few holes on the surface of the pot. Ginger likes heat and humidity very much. Within a few weeks, the rhizome starts to grow a grassy stem and little by little a new rhizome below the soil surface. The crop can be harvested within a few months or as soon as a new rhizome begins to form enough that there is something to take a piece from. Ginger grown at home may not be very productive, but it grows a fine herbaceous plant that grows quickly up to 1.5 meters in height.
Ginger is a perennial herb that has been known as a spice and medicine for thousands of years. It has been found to have several significant health effects and its use is quite easy, as it can be found in normal grocery stores both dried and fresh.
- Ahn N, Kim S, Long N, Min J, Yoon Y, Kim M, Lee E, Kim T, Yang Y, Son E, Yoon S, Diem N, Kim H and Kwon S.. 2020. Ginger on Human Health: A Comprehensive Systematic Review of 109 Randomized Controlled Trials. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019938/. Referred on 9/3/2023.
- Mashhadi N., Ghiasvand R., Askari G., Hariri M., Darvishi L and Mofid M.. 2013. Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665023/. Referred on 9/3/2023.
- Herbazest editorial team. 2020. Herbazest. Ginger and blood pressure. https://www.herbazest.com/herbs/ginger/ginger-and-blood-pressure. Referred on 9/3/2023.
- Ben-Yehuda E.. 2023. Resperate. The Healing root : 8 amazing benefits of ginger. https://www.resperate.com/blog/hypertension/diet/healthy-foods/healing-root-ginger-reduces-high-blood-pressure. Referred on 9/3/2023.
- Yi-Shin H.. 2019. The hepatoprotective effect of ginger. https://journals.lww.com/jcma/fulltext/2019/11000/the_hepatoprotective_effect_of_ginger.1.aspx. Referred on 9/3/2023.
- Rahimlou M., Yari Z., Hekmatdoost A., Alavian S. and Keshavarz S.. 2016. Ginger Supplementation in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4834197/. Referred on 9/3/2023.
- 2021. Food Agency. Warning label for food supplements containing ginger and ginger tea and the like. https://www.ruokavirasto.fi/elintarvikkeet/elintarvikeala/pakkausmerkinnat-ja-markkinointi/pakolliset-elintarviketiedot/kayttoohje-ja-varoitusmerkinta/varoitusmerkinta-inkivaaria-sisaltaviin-ravintolisiin-seka-inkivaariteehen-ja-sita-vastaaviin/. Referred on 9/3/2023.
- Mustonen R.. 2018. The future of the countryside. Domestic ginger was taken out of control – The growers from Liper are learning about cultivation the hard way. https://www.maaseuduntulevaisuus.fi/mielipide/c731d220-3826-57e0-bd1d-43d04a24a9d1. Referred on 9/3/2023.