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Ginger

Ginger

Description

Ginger (Zingiber officinale ) belongs to the Zingiberaceae plant family, which also includes turmeric and

cardamom. Ginger comes from the Sanskrit word "horn-root." It grows in Jamaica, India, Haiti, Hawaii, and Nigeria. This perennial plant grows 34 ft (0.91.2 m) tall. It has thin, sharp leaves 612 in (1530 cm) long. The tangled, beige root is used medicinally, and can be 16 in (2.515 cm) in length. The root has a sharp, pungent taste and aroma.

Ginger contains several chemical components as outlined by Michael Murray, N.D. in The Healing Power of Herbs :

  • starch (50%)
  • protein (9%)
  • lipids (including glycerides, phosphatidic acid, lecithins, and fatty acids; 6-8%)
  • protease (2.26%)
  • volatile oils (including gingerol, shogoal, zingiberene, and zingiberol; 1-3%)
  • pungent principles
  • vitamins A and B3 (niacin)

The pungent principles (including the volatile oil gingerol) are the most medicinally potent because they inhibit prostaglandin and leukotriene formations (products in the body that influence blood flow and inflammation). They also give ginger its pungent aroma.

General use

Historically, ginger has been used to aid digestion. According to Michael Castleman in The Healing Herbs, ancient Greeks wrapped ginger inside their bread and ate it as an after-dinner digestive. This practice led to their invention of gingerbread. English society concocted ginger beer to soothe the stomach. In the 1800s, the Eclectics used ginger powder and tea for several digestive complaints, including indigestion, gas, nausea , and infant diarrhea .

Beginning in the 1980s, several studies have shown that ginger is useful in aiding digestion. A 1999 German study reported the results from 12 volunteers who took 100 mg twice daily of ginger extract when fasting and then with a meal. In both instances, ginger was linked to increased digestive movement through the stomach and duodenum.

A study in India published in 2000 reported the effects of ginger (in combination with other spices including cumin, fenugreek , and mustard) on pancreatic action in rats. During the eight-week study, the combination of spices in more than a single dose stimulated several digestive enzymes in the pancreas.

The Japanese use ginger as an antidote for fish poisoning, especially with sushi. Ginger is thought to fight harmful intestinal bacteria (like E. coli, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus ) without killing beneficial bacteria. Ginger aids Lactobacillus growth in the intestines while killing the Schistosoma and Anisakis parasites.

Because ginger is an antibacterial, it can work against ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori. Ginger creates an anti-ulcer environment by multiplying the stomach's protective components. Ginger's anti-inflammatory abilities have also been shown to help reduce hip and knee pain in some osteoarthritis patients.

According to a 1998 report that reviewed the results from 10 clinical studies, ginger also helps to suppress the nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy . However, a 2002 conference presentation cautions family physicians to reconsider recommending ginger to their pregnant patients because of the possibility for miscarriage.

Ginger lowers cholesterol levels by impairing cholesterol absorption, helping it convert to bile acids and then increasing bile elimination. In a 1998 study, rabbits were fed both cholesterol and 200 mg of ginger extract. The rabbits had a smaller amount of atherosclerosis . Ginger also enhances blood circulation and acts as a blood thinner.

Coughs can be relieved by drinking ginger tea made from dried or powdered ginger. It is ginger's pungent taste that releases secretions to help throat congestion.

Preliminary studies also show ginger may have potential cancer-fighting properties. No definitive results have been reported and research continues.

Preparations

Ginger is used in teas, ginger ale, ginger beer, capsules, broths, and as a spice when cooking Asian and Jamaican dishes. Ginger tea for coughs, nausea, digestion, and arthritis can be made by adding 2 tsp (10 ml) of freshly grated root or powdered root to 1 cup (250 ml) of boiling water and steeping for 10 minutes. A cup of the ginger tea, while still warm, should be sipped every 2-2.5 hours.

A compress for arthritic pain can be made by grating an unpeeled ginger root in a clockwise direction, then tying it in a moistened muslin cloth, dropping it in a pot of boiling water, and letting it simmer. When the broth is removed from the stove, a cotton cloth is dipped into the broth and the excess moisture squeezed into the pot. While lying flat on the back, the person places the cloth on the aching body part. The broth can also be added to the bath for soaking.

Ginger comes in 250500 mg capsules of dried ginger root. One to 2 grams of dry powered ginger equals about 1/3 oz of fresh ginger (10 g). A cup of ginger tea contains 250 mg; an 8 oz glass of ginger ale contains 1,000 mg, and a spiced dish contains 500 mg. To prevent motion sickness , German health authorities recommend 24 g of powdered ginger daily. Another recommended dose is 250 mg four to six times a day.

To bring more blood circulation to arthritic joints, one to two capsules (250 mg each) per day are recommended initially. If results are good, the amount can be increased to six per day, taken between meals.

Ginger can be taken with onions and garlic . These agents work in harmony to stimulate the pancreas and decrease cholesterol.

As a blood thinner, two 250 mg capsules of ginger can be taken between meals up to three times a day.

Precautions

Despite studies showing ginger's aid for pregnancy nausea, the German Commission E has recommended that pregnant women not use ginger. Some studies indicate that high amounts of ginger might cause miscarriages. Researchers cannot follow up their suspicions with human clinical trials because of the danger posed to unborn fetuses. Dosages over 6 g could cause gastric problems and possibly ulcers. Ginger may slow down blood clotting time. Before taking ginger, consumers should check dosages with a healthcare provider.

Consumers should not ingest the whole ginger plant; it has been found to damage the liver in animals. Ginger root is not recommended for people with gallstones .

Side effects

Ginger may cause heartburn .

Interactions

Ginger can interfere with the digestion of iron- and fat-soluble vitamins. Ginger also interacts with several medications. The herb can inhibit warfarin sodium , which is a blood thinner. Ginger can also interfere with absorption of tetracycline, digoxin, sulfa drugs, and phenothiazines. Consumers should check with their health-care provider for drug or other interactions.

Resources

BOOKS

Castleman, Michael. The Healing Herbs. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, 1991.

Heinerman, John. Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing, Herbs & Spices. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1996.

Landis, Robyn, with Karta Pukh Singh Khalsa. Herbal Defense. New York: Warner Books, Inc. 1997.

Murray, Michael, N.D. The Healing Power of Herbs. 2nd ed. Roseville, CA: Prima Publishing, 1995.

PERIODICALS

Jancin, Bruce. "Ginger for Nausea in Pregancy: Use Caution. (Good Efficacy, Lingering Safety Issues)." Family Practice News (January 15, 2002):16.

Tyler, Varro E., Ph.D., Sc.D. "Honest Herbalist: Spotlight on Ginger." Prevention Magazine (February 1998): 82-85.

Sharon Crawford

Teresa G. Odle

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ginger

ginger, common name for members of the Zingiberaceae, a family of tropical and subtropical perennial herbs, chiefly of Indomalaysia. The aromatic oils of many are used in making condiments, perfumes, and medicines, especially stimulants and preparations to ease stomach distress.

True ginger (Zingiber officinale), cultivated since ancient times in many countries, no longer grows wild. Commercial ginger is made from the root, a rhizome, which is either preserved by candying or dried for medicines and spice. Studies have found some benefit from the use of ginger as an herbal medicine to treat nausea and vomiting, but other medicinal uses have not been as well substantiated by studies.

Other members of the ginger family also have uses as spices and in perfumery or traditional medicine; zedoary or white ginger (Curcuma zedoaria) and turmeric (C. longa) are grown for their rhizomes, and cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) and black cardamom (Amomum species) for their seed pods and seeds. The last three are often combined with ginger and other spices to make various curries. Turmeric root yields a yellow dye, and a compound derived from it, curcumin, is used to promote bile secretion by the liver. C. angustifolia is an East Indian arrowroot.

Ginger is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Zingiberales, family Zingiberaceae.

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ginger

gin·ger / ˈjinjər/ • n. 1. a hot fragrant spice made from the rhizome of a plant. It is chopped or powdered for cooking, preserved in syrup, or candied. ∎  spirit; mettle. 2. the Southeast Asian plant (Zingiber officinale, family Zingiberaceae) from which this rhizome is taken. 3. a light reddish-yellow color. • adj. (chiefly of hair or fur) of a light reddish-yellow color. • v. [tr.] 1. flavor with ginger. 2. stimulate; enliven: she slapped his hand lightly to ginger him up. DERIVATIVES: gin·ger·y adj.

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ginger

ginger hot spicy root. XIII. ME. gingivere, repr. a conflation of OE. ġinġifer(e), ġinġiber (directly — medL.) with OF. gingi(m)bre (mod. gingembre) — medL. gingiber, zingeber, L. zingíber(i) — Gr. ziggiberis — Prakrit siṃgabera — Skr. śṛṇgavera-.
Hence vb. flavour with ginger; treat (a horse) with ginger, (hence gen.) spirit up. XIX.

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ginger

ginger ginger group a highly active faction within a party or movement that presses for stronger action on a particular issue.
ginger up put spirit or mettle into. An old horse-coper's trick (recorded from the late 18th century) to make a broken-down animal look lively was to insert ginger into its anus.

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ginger

ginger The rhizome of Zingiber officinale, used as a spice. Preserved ginger is made from young fleshy rhizomes boiled with sugar and either packed in syrup or crystallized. The first oriental spice to be grown in the New World; Jamaican ginger first reached Europe in 1585.

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"ginger." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Encyclopedia.com. 29 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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ginger

ginger Herbaceous perennial plant native to tropical e Asia and grown commercially elsewhere. It has fat, tuberous roots and yellow-green flowers. The kitchen spice is made from the tubers of Zingiber officinale. Family Zingiberaceae.

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ginger

ginger See ZINGIBERACEAE.

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"ginger." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 29 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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ginger

gingerbadger, cadger •Alger, neuralgia •ganja, grandeur, phalanger •charger, enlarger, maharaja, raja •slàinte • turbocharger •dredger, edger, hedger, ledger, pledger, St Leger •avenger, revenger •gauger, golden-ager, major, old-stager, pager, rampager, sergeant major, stager, wager •arranger, changer, danger, endanger, exchanger, Grainger, hydrangea, manger, ranger, stranger •moneychanger • teenager •bushranger •besieger, paraplegia, procedure •abridger •cringer, ginger, impinger, infringer, injure, ninja, whinger, winger •dowager • voyager • harbinger •bondager • wharfinger • packager •Scaliger •challenger, Salinger •pillager, villager •armiger • scrimmager •rummager, scrummager •manager • derringer • forager •porringer • encourager •Massinger, passenger •presager • messenger • Kissinger •integer, vintager •cottager • frontager • ravager •salvager • scavenger •Elijah, Niger, obliger •codger, dodger, lodger, roger, todger •forger, Georgia, gorger •gouger •lounger, scrounger •sunlounger • soldier •Abuja, puja

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