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   Jun 19

Benefits of ginger

The use of ginger for making a refreshing beverage such as ginger beer is popular within most Caribbean households especially during the Christmas season. In today’s society, consumers can now purchase several products made from ginger such as ginger tea, candied or pickled ginger, ground ginger (ginger powder), ginger beer, and products in which ginger is incorporated such as granola bars, sauces, cookies, gingerbread, soft drinks and more. Hence, for different reasons the use of ginger may have increase perhaps due to flavour, taste (use as a spice in cooking during the preparation of meat or vegetarian dishes), medicinal properties or health benefits.

A brief overview of ginger

Zingiber officinale is the common name for ginger; a valuable plant product to many individuals. The ginger root or simply referred to as ginger is a tuberous and fleshy rhizome. The scientific classification indicates that it belongs to the Kingdom of Plantae, and it can be described as an herbaceous perennial plant, within the Zingiberaecae family. It usually grows tall and has annual stems with narrow leaves and yellow flowers. It has origin in South China, but can also be found in the Spice Islands, South-east Asia, Africa, India, Australia, the Caribbean, and Latin America (Khodaie and Sadeghpoor, 2015).

Nutrition facts

Similar to other plant foods, the nutritional content of ginger shows that it contains water, and minimal amounts of the macronutrients (carbohydrate, fat, and protein), B vitamins, folate, vitamin C, sodium, iron and zinc; but larger quantities of potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, and calcium (United States Department of Agriculture, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference). Other non-nutritive substances noted are dietary fibre and phytochemicals.

Overall, studies indicate that the naturally occurring chemical compounds in plant foods referred to as phytochemicals may minimise or tend to lower one’s potential risk for the chronic non-communicable diseases. Some of the phytochemicals in ginger include monoterpenes and phenolic compounds.

Uses of ginger

The use of traditional herbal therapies or home remedies which may help to boost the immune system, alleviate constipation, treat common colds, and other gastrointestinal problems remain

quite popular within some households or among varying populations, and cannot be overlooked.

Ginger has several health benefits; it is a medicinal plant used in Chinese, Ayurvedic and herbal medicine practices globally, since ancient times. It is used for treating a wide array of unrelated ailments, which include arthritis, rheumatism, sprains, muscle and joint pain, cramps, constipation, sore throat, and other conditions (Ali et al. 2008).

Moreover, researchers indicate that the use of this natural product (ginger) can yield additional health benefits. Perira et al. (2011) also documented that although ginger may be used as a spice and condiment in different societies, there is a history of its medicinal use in various cultures in the treatment of common colds, fever, indigestion, stomach upset, nausea, diarrhoea, rheumatic disorders, gastrointestinal complications and dizziness.

Ginger also possesses chemopreventive and antineoplastic properties. Prasad and Tyagi (2015) supported this view; they indicated that experimental studies showed that ginger and its active components (6-gingerol and 6-shogaol) exert anticancer activities. However, you should note that some of the known activities involving the components of ginger are based on animal studies, except for a few clinical studies in human subjects.

The constituents in ginger

Gingerol, a bioactive constituent of fresh ginger, is a relative of capsaicin and piperine; these compounds give chilli peppers and black pepper their spicy taste. Whenever ginger is cooked, gingerol changes to zingerone which tends to be less pungent, and has a spicy-sweet aroma. Also, shogaol is noted to be twice as pungent as gingerol; it has a similar chemical structure to that of gingerol, and is usually produced when ginger is dried.

Side effects

A potential adverse effect to note is that ginger may probably increase the risk for excessive bleeding especially when used with certain anticlotting agents (Mahan et al. 2012).

Remember: Prior to applying any treatment with ginger or any other natural product, you should first discuss it with your medical doctor, and follow their advice. More research on ginger is needed at present.


1. Khodaie Laleh & Sadeghpoor Omid. Ginger from Ancient Times to the New Outlook. Jundishapur Journal of Natural Pharmaceutical Products. 2015 Feb; 10(1); e18402

2. United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27. The National Agricultural Library

3. Ali et al. Some phytochemical, pharmacological, and toxicological properties of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe): a review of recent research. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Feb; 46(2); 409-20.

Source: Trinidad News

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