Considered a spice or seasoning in France, ginger is medicinal in many European, English speaking countries and Asia.
Ginger is a large perennial herb that resembles turmeric, the floral spike is made of pale green to purple-colored flowers with yellow spots.
Ginger, of which we do not know any "wild" plants, is probably native to India or "Austronesia".
It is widely cultivated throughout Southeast Asia, China, the Caribbean, Oceania, and is subspontaneous or naturalized in many tropical countries.
Its rhizome is similar to turmeric rhizome but whitish and usally bigger, it has the appearance of a hand.
Its break is fibrous and granular, of a light green color, it releases then a pleasant aromatic odor.
The warm taste of ginger is pungent and "peppery", quite typical.
Ginger is used fresh, sometimes dried, or prepared in different ways: scraped, bleached.
The GINGER RHIZOME is the medicinal part, but it contains also a medicinal ESSENTIAL OIL.
The plant family "zingiberaceae or zingiberaceae" includes several aromatic and medicinal plants:
- let's mention turmeric and temoe lawaq, cardamom,
- and three alpinia often used also as decorative plants: Alpinia galanga (large galanga), Alpinia officinarum (small galanga) and Alpinia zerumbet (ATOUMO) famous for its medicinal properties in the West Indies.
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION AND PROPERTIES
The rhizome of ginger:
is rich in starch (50 to 60%),
- contains 1 to 3% essential oil,
- an oleoresin which gives it its warm and peppery flavor containing gingerols and shoagols.
- organic acids and vitamins in small quantities (vitamin A and B).
Gingerols and shoagols are chemically very close compounds that have interesting properties:
- ANTI-EMETIC, therefore AGAINST VOMITING, nausea.
This antiemetic property does not seem to be due to an action on the central nervous system and would be mainly due to an EFFECT ON THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM (mainly the stomach)
Studies of motion sickness in humans give varying results:
in some cases (rotating chair test), superior results to known antiemetics were obtained with the absorption of 1g of rhizome powder 1/2 hour before the test,
similarly, a study with sea cadets not accustomed to navigation in rough seas has shown a reduction of vertigo and nausea with 1g of ginger powder per day,
on the other hand, a more complete study in collaboration with NASA reveals a lower action to scopolamine ( a rather toxic alkaloid) even if the emesis and the cold sweats are reduced.
Ginger or its extracts have been studied to treat vomiting and nausea in pregnant women.
Low-dose ginger does not appear to adversely affect the course of pregnancy or fetal development, but studies are fragmentary and many therapists advise against the use of ginger at a therapeutic dose during pregnancy.
- ANTI-INFLAMMATORY, and antioxidants.
The anti-inflammatory power is probably related to an inhibition of the synthesis of prostaglandins (substances participating in the inflammatory reaction)
- PROMOTING DIGESTION AND GASTRIC PROTECTOR: Gives appetite, increases salivary flow, promotes movement of the digestive tract and limits the development of Helicobacter pylori responsible for many stomach ulcers.
- ANTI-MUTAGEN and ANTI-CANCER
Many current studies (mainly in Asia) focus on the anti-mutagenic or anticancer (cytotoxic) potency of gingerols and shoagols.
For the moment, to my knowledge, these are "in vitro" studies, with no therapeutic applications in humans.
GINGER ESSENTIAL OIL
The composition of GINGER RHIZOME ESSENTIAL OIL varies according to the geographical origin, and the numerous varieties cultivated in Asia.
The main component is a sesquiterpene typical of ginger zingiberene (10 to 30%)
Monoterpenes are less specific to ginger but are very aromatic: citral and linalool, camphene and ocimene, cineole, pinene.
Ginger (rhizome) essential oil is:
- Moderately antibacterial and ANTI-FUNGIC.
- ANTALGIC (against muscle and joint pains).
-TONIC and "aphrodisiac": it is a classic property but without scientific verification.
- EUPEPTIC: promotes digestion and gives appetite
Zingiberene is studied for its CYTOTOXIC POWER on some cancerous cell lines. It would promote the cellular apoptosis of cancer cells that are sensitive to it (ie their spontaneous death).
GINGER AN AROMATIC SEASONING
Ginger has been used for a long time in Asian cooking (India, South East Asia, China, Japan): fresh, sliced or grated, oily maceration or vinegar, powdered or confit, in dishes of raw vegetables, cooked vegetables , meat or fish (including raw fish).
In Europe it is rather an aromatic: ginger powder in some "gingerbread", flavoring drink (ginger ale).
The rhizome does not have the same taste and aromatic properties when it is fresh, dried (powdered), very young or at the end of the growing cycle.
A very simple way to consume: THE GINGER TEA: a few slices of fresh ginger in very hot water, a few minutes of infusion, it is a drink a little peppery, aromatic, which promotes digestion.
Do not abuse, risk of heart burns (irritative gastralgia) in some people.
GINGER MEDICINAL PLANT
Besides being a spice and a seasoning, it is used:
- In the form of a powder (in capsules ) often dosed with 500 mg (1/2 g) of powder,
- or fresh rhizome: 5 g of fresh rhizome is the equivalent of about 1g of powder,
- or ethanolic tincture (1/10) : 100 drops of tincture = 1 g of powder,
to FIGHT MOTION SICKNESS, 500 mg of powder 1/2 h to 1h before departure, possibly renewed without exceeding 2 to 3 g per day,
to prevent NAUSEA and VOMITING post-anesthetic or during laparoscopic or gynecological examinations, at a dose of 1g of powder 1 hour before,
also WITH CAUTION to fight vomiting during the first months of pregnancy without exceeding 1g per day,
alone or in combination with other plants, to treat DYSPEPSY, and postprandial bloating: example infusion 1 to 2 g of root in a cup of boiling water,
in addition to a hypocaloric diet or a specific treatment, to reduce the side effects of a moderate type 2 DIABETES.
At the indicated doses, ginger has no adverse toxicity or side effects but will be used for only a few days by pregnant women.
Preparation of a "domestic" ginger tincture:
Mix the fresh rhizome cut into thin strips or grated in alcohol at 45 ° to 55 ° (rum for example) in the proportions 100 g of fresh rhizome for 250ml (1/4 liter), let macerate at least 15 days in an airtight glass container , keep it cool, out of the light and drain it .
1 to 2 teaspoons a day diluted in a little water, to promote digestion or flavor a "cocktail" or a glass of beer.
GINGER ESSENTIAL OIL
GINGER ESSENTIAL OIL contains almost no spicy substances (gingerols and shoagols).
It is an essential oil with a particular and pleasant smell that is used in perfumery but also in aromatherapy mainly externally.
It is ANTALGIC, useful in massage diluted in a vegetable oil, on muscles or painful joints.
It possesses (as well as the essential oil of ylang-ylang) APHRODISIAC power: massage of the lower abdomen and lower spine.
In case of minor DIGESTIVE DISORDERS (gastralgia, nausea, intestinal gas), it is also used in massaging the painful area.
In all cases of external use, dilute this essential oil in a little vegetable oil (example: sweet almond, olive, hazelnut) and make a first application of a drop of essential oil to check the absence of cutaneous intolerance.
PRECAUTIONS: do not use this essential oil in children under 3 years and limit its by in pregnant women.
Ginger is a kitchen spice grown both on a large scale (over 2 million tons of rhizomes mostly produced in Asia) and also in many gardens or around houses in hot, humid areas.
Varieties are numerous and some cultivars allow cultivation in temperate countries with hot summer (even in France).
The culture is easily made from a fragment of rhizome that has a bud.
Place it in the ground just below the surface of the soil and maintain a constant humidity (but without exaggerating).
One or more green stems will develop quickly if the temperature is favorable (beyond 20 to 25 ° C) and if the rhizome is "alive".
It takes 6 to 9 months to obtain a complete cycle of vegetation and it is better to initiate greenhouse cultivation in temperate or sub-tropical countries.
To digest and fight seasickness
The ginger rhizome grown in the tropical countries contains essential oil.
Some of these constituents have a peppery flavor others are a bit bitter. They protect the stomach and also limit the effects of motion sickness: less nausea, less vomiting.
Ginger aromatizes a lot of pastries and sometimes beer.
Copyright 2019 :: Dr Jean-Michel Hurtel