Text: Mariola Weindich-Mašek

16 November 2018

It is hot, but still refreshing. It is used in cooking, natural medicine and cosmetics. Ginger is a natural way to maintain good health - not only in winter.There are few plants I cannot imagine life without them and ginger is one of them. For me, ginger can be a perfect addition not only to many dishes, but also tea I can drink all year round, not only during colds.

In Asia, ginger has been cultivated for over 3000 years. Although its origin is unknown - we know that ginger was used in the Middle East and southern Europe long before the rise of the Roman Empire. The Portuguese brought it to Africa, the Spanish - to the West Indies. It is one of the oldest cultivated plants.

In cooking, ginger gives the dishes a unique flavour and taste because of a zingiberol and resin substance - gingerol and zinferon. It is recommended not to combine ginger with any herbs while preparing dishes because they "contrast with" its aroma. Still it is perfect with spices such as allspice, bay leaf, cloves, nutmeg and pepper.

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But the biggest advantage of ginger is not only its unique taste, but also healing properties. Ginger can be used to treat many illnesses:
- digestive problems - the oil contained in the ginger rhizome stimulates the secretion of saliva and gastric juice, it has cholagogic and relaxant properties, it can cure bloating;
- it reduces thrombocyte aggregation, it prevents the formation of blood clots, is an essential addition to the menu of people with an increased cholesterol level;
- it heals menstrual cramps;
- it cures colds and gives a relief in joint ache - it is rich in anti-inflammatory substances. It is a part of warming ointments and plasters. Few drops of ginger oil used for massage brings relief to sore muscles. Tea or herbal infusion with ginger can be an excellent natural remedy for colds;
- it cures migraines – when used regularly, it can reduce the frequency and number of attacks, it can also relieve the nausea accompanying them;
- it helps to maintain an oral hygiene – it has antiseptic and refreshing properties, it leaves a pleasant smell in the mouth. It treats infections, stimulates the secretion of mucus;
- it improves concentration and mental performance, improves blood circulation in the brain. A bit of powdered ginger added to coffee reduces its harmful properties;
- it improves blood circulation and warms the whole body perfectly. In Chinese medicine, it is considered to be "hot", causing a “fire” in the body. It also stimulates the reproductive organs. In the tropical Asia, where it grows, it is used as an aphrodisiac.

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Unfortunately - despite many health-promoting properties, ginger should not be used by pregnant women or nursing mothers and people suffering from chronic diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.