Ginger Benefits and Side Effects

Ginger is a flowering plant whose rhizome, its root is widely used as a spice or a folk medicine. It is a herbaceous perennial which grows annual stems about a meter tall bearing narrow green leaves and yellow flowers. This crop is in the family Zingiberaceae, to which also belong turmeric, cardamom, and galangal. It was originated in the tropical rain forest in Southern Asia. Although this crop no longer grows wild, it is thought to have originated on the Indian subcontinent because its plants grown in India show the largest amount of genetic variation. This crop was exported to Europe via India in the first century AD as a result of the lucrative spice trade and was used extensively by the Romans.

Nutritional Facts of Ginger

ElementsAmount in 100 (gm/%)
Calories80 Cal
Vitamin B612%

Uses of Ginger

Ginger produces a hot, fragrant kitchen spice. Its young rhizomes are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste. They are often pickled in vinegar or sherry as a snack or cooked as an ingredient in many dishes. They can be steeped in boiling water to make it tisane to which honey is often added; sliced orange or lemon fruit may be added. It can be made into candy, or its wine, which has been made commercially since 1740.

Its mature rhizomes are fibrous and nearly dry. The juice from its roots is often used as a seasoning in Indian recipes and is a common ingredient of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and many South Asian cuisines for flavoring dishes such as seafood, meat, and vegetarian diet.

Fresh ginger can be substituted for ground ginger at a ratio of six to one, although the flavors of fresh and dried ginger are somewhat different. Powdered dry ginger root is typically used as a flavoring for recipes such as gingerbread, cookies, crackers and cakes, ginger ale, and ginger beer.

Candied ginger, or crystallized ginger, is the root cooked in sugar until soft, and is a type of confectionary.

Fresh ginger may be peeled before eating. For longer-term storage, the ginger can be placed in a plastic bag and refrigerated or frozen.

In Indian cuisine, ginger is a key ingredient, especially in thicker gravies, as well as in many other dishes, both vegetarian and meat-based. Ginger also has a role in traditional ayurvedic medicine. It is an ingredient in traditional Indian drinks, both cold and hot, including spiced masala chai. Fresh ginger is one of the main spices used for making pulse and lentil curries and other vegetable preparations. Fresh ginger together with peeled garlic cloves is crushed or ground to form its garlic masala. Fresh, as well as dried, it is used to spice tea and coffee, especially in winter. In south India, ‘sambharam’ is a summer yogurt drink made with it as a key ingredient, along with green chillies, salt and curry leaves. Its powder is used in food preparations intended primarily for pregnant or nursing women, the most popular one being katlu, which is a mixture of gum resin, ghee, nuts, and sugar. It is also consumed in candied and pickled form.

In Japan, It is pickled to make beni shoga and gari or grated and used raw on tofu or noodles. It is made into a candy called shoga. In the traditional Korean kimchi, It is either finely minced or just juiced to avoid the fibrous texture and added to the ingredients of the spicy paste just before the fermenting process.

In Burma, It is called gyin. It is widely used in cooking and as a main ingredient in traditional medicines. It is consumed as a salad dish called gyin-thot, which consists of shredded ginger preserved in oil, with a variety of nuts and seeds.

In Thailand, it is used to make a its garlic paste in cooking.

In Indonesia, a beverage called wedang jahe is made from it and palm sugar. Indonesians also use ground ginger root, called jahe, as a common ingredient in local recipes.

In Malaysia, it is called halia and used in many kinds of dishes, especially soups.

Called luya in the Philippines, it is a common ingredient in local dishes and is brewed as a tea called salabat.

In Vietnam, the fresh leaves, finely chopped, can be added to shrimp-and-yam soup as a top garnish and spice to add a much subtler flavor of ginger than the chopped root.

In China, sliced or whole ginger root is often paired with savory dishes such as fish, and chopped ginger root is commonly paired with meat, when it is cooked. Candied ginger is sometimes a component of Chinese candy boxes, and a herbal tea can be prepared from it.

In the Carribeans, it is a popular spice for cooking and for making drinks such as sorreal, a drink made during the Christmas season. Jamaicans make its beer both as a carbonated beverage and also fresh in their homes. Its tea is often made from fresh ginger, as well as the famous regional specialty Jamaican ginger cake.

On the island of Corfu, Greece, a traditional drink called tsitsibira, a type of its beer, is made. The people of Corfu and the rest of the Ionian islands adopted the drink from the British, during the period of the United Stated of Ionian Islands.

In Arabic, it is called zanjabil and in some parts of the Middle East. The Hebrew name for the spice, zangevil, is a variation on the name.

In Western Cuisine, it is traditionally used mainly in sweet foods such as ginger ale, bread, snaps, parkin, biscuits, and speculaas. A ginger-flavored liqueur called Canton is produced in Jarnac, France. Its Wine is a ginger-flavored wine produced in the United Kingdom, traditionally sold in a green glass bottle. It is also used as a spice added to hot coffee and tea.

Health Benefits of Ginger

Digestive issues

The phenolic compounds in ginger are known to help relieve gastrointestinal irritation, stimulate saliva and bile production and suppress gastric contractions and movement of food and fluids through the GI tract.


Chewing raw ginger or drinking ginger tea is a common home remedy for nausea during cancer treatment. Pregnant women experiencing morning sickness can safely use it to relieve nausea and vomiting, often in the form of its lozenges or candies. During cold weather, drinking its tea is good way to keep warm. It is diaphoretic, which means that it promotes sweating, working to warm the body from within. As such, in the wake of a cold, Its tea is particularly useful. To make ginger tea at home, slice 20-40 g of fresh ginger and steep in a cup of hot water. Adding a slice of lemon or a drop of honey adds flavor and additional benefits, including vitamin C and antibacterial properties.

Pain reduction

A study involving 74 volunteers carried out at the University of Georgia found that daily ginger supplementation reduced exercise-induced muscle pain by 25%. It has also been found to reduce the symptoms of dysmenorrhea (severe pain during a menstrual cycle). In one study, 83% of women taking its capsules reported improvements in pain symptoms compared to 47% of those on placebo.


It has been used for centuries to reduce inflammation and treat inflammatory conditions. A study published in Cancer Prevention Research journal found that its root supplement administered to volunteer participants reduced inflammation markers in the colon within a month. Researchers on the study explained that by decreasing inflammation, the risk of colon cancer is also likely to decrease. It has also shown promise in clinical trials for treating inflammation associated with osteoarthritis.