The Power of Ginger
by Anne-Sophie Eckert
Before my Ayurvedic Practitioner Training at Delight, I had little knowledge of how powerful herbs can be. During our herbology module, I was given an assignment on ginger that led me to beautiful discoveries.
Although it might seem like a coincidence, it felt like I was chosen by this herb. I was pregnant at the time and the only herb I was using every day was … ginger! So, I already knew that ginger had some medicinal properties ( it is known to help with morning sickness during pregnancy) but by studying it further I discovered a variety of other benefits.
Here is what I’ve learnt about one of the oldest spices in the world.
Ginger is an important Ayurvedic remedy and is still known in Western herbalism for its anti-inflammatory and digestive benefits. Ginger is the most commonly used Indian spice, and it has become widely used in our own kitchens today.
Fresh vs. Dry Ginger
We usually find ginger either fresh (Ardraka in Sanskrit) or in powdered form (Sunthi in Sanskrit). Depending on the season and the desired effect, both types can be used as a remedy.
Fresh ginger is less dry and slightly less warming than the powder; therefore, it is suitable to be consumed during warmer seasons, while the dry form is an ally in winter.
The ginger rhizome contains more than hundreds of different substances among which the most significant are volatile oils and oleoresins. The volatile oils are mainly found in fresh ginger which make it juicy and hot. The dry powder contains oleoresins which make it spicy and warm. Both substances have their healing properties.
Ginger as a Remedy
Ginger has been used for a long-time as a carminative herb, which means that it can have a positive influence on digestion. Confucius was known for chewing fresh ginger before and after each meal.
Fresh ginger has particular value in fighting against respiratory diseases and is a time-tested remedy for colds. As a respiratory herb, ginger burns up mucus and acts against lung congestion. It cleanses the body by burning up toxins and eliminating them through the breath or the skin.
The oleoresins contained in the ginger powder are potent antioxidants and also have anti-inflammatory properties. This is why dry ginger is often used in the treatment of arthritis.
These volatile oils contain antimicrobial agents that can halt a viral infection or shorten the intensity and duration of the flu or a cold. In other words, ginger can play a powerful role in preventing diseases like the one we are dealing with right now, Covid-19.
Ginger in your Daily Routine
In Ayurveda, ginger is a ‘sattvic’ herb with a sweet ‘after-taste’ which makes it fine to be consumed regularly. There are however some contraindications in aggravated Pitta conditions (such as heartburn, gastric ulcers and acid reflux).
My morning ritual is to drink a squeezed portion of fresh ginger mixed with lukewarm water and lemon. This drink stimulates my digestive fire. Also, the sattvic quality of ginger promotes clarity of the mind - I can totally relate to that!
Dr. Vasant Lad explains how to make hand-rolled ginger pills: by mixing 4 parts of powder with 1 part of fresh ginger. This is an easy home-made remedy for self-care
Last but not least, powdered ginger can be added to many dishes. I’ve been using it regularly in curries, soups, and other delicious Ayurvedic recipes.
Easy Ginger Coconut Rice Recipe
Here is an easy recipe that I often make:
- Two tablespoons of ghee
- 200g of basmati rice
- 100g of grated coconut
- One teaspoon of dry ginger powder
- One teaspoon of turmeric powder
- Half teaspoon of cumin seeds
- Fresh coriander
Heat the ghee in a pot. In the meantime mix the coconut in a bowl with some boiling water (just enough water to cover the coconut) and let the mixture cool down. When the ghee has melted, add the cumin seeds and the ginger. When the seeds start to ‘dance’, add the coconut mix and let it cook for 5/10 minutes until the coconut becomes slightly brown. Add the rice and the turmeric and stir evenly. Pour more water (around 300ml) and cook for 10 minutes.
Serve with a bit of salt, pepper, a squeeze of lime, and chopped fresh coriander. Enjoy!
Love & Light,
This blog was written by a student in our Ayurveda Practitioner Studies degree programme. If you are interested in becoming an Ayurveda Practitioner or want to deepen your professional knowledge, skills, and experience in the field of Ayurveda - see our website here.
Anne-Sophie is an Ayurveda Practitioner Training student at Delight Academy. She also is also a lawyer, a dancer, and a yogini. She has lived in France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and has now settled in the Netherlands with her son and partner. Her aspiration is to spread the beautiful wisdom of Ayurveda and collaborate with students and practitioners all around the world. She has been finding inspiration in Vedic sciences and philosophy including Yoga, Vedanta, Vedic Astrology, and Ayurveda.