Ginger Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses

Ginger is a wonder herb that is used as an aromatic spice and medicine for hundreds of year. This spice is the underground rhizomes stem of a creeping perennial plant Zingiber officinale. It is native to Southeast Asia and now commercially cultivated in nearly every tropical and subtropical country in the world. In India, ginger is mainly cultivated in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra.

Ginger is used both in dried and fresh form. Dried ginger is known as Sunthi or sonth in Hindi. Many Ayurvedic medicines contains it as an ingredient. One such famous and well known medicine is Trikatu. Trikatu means three pungent, and contains Sunthi or dry ginger powder with peppers (black and long pepper).

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Plantae Division: Angiospermae Class: Monocotyledoneae Order: Scitamineae Family: Zingiberaceae Genus: Zingiber Species: officinale

Latin name: Zingiber officinale Rosc. Family: Zingiberaceae

Vernacular names

Fresh ginger:Sanskrit: Aardraka, Aadrika, Shrngibera Bengali: Ada English: Ginger Gujrati: Adu Hindi: Adarakha Kannada: Alla, Hasishunti Malayalam: Inchi Marathi: Ardrak, Ale Punjabi: Adi, Adrak Tamil: Injee, Allam, lakottai, Inji Telugu: Allamu, Allam Urdu: Adrak

Dried ginger: Sanskrit: Shunthi, Aushadha, Muhaushadha, Nagara, Vishvaa, Vishvabheshaja, Vishvaushadh Assamese: Adasuth, Aadar Shuth Bengali: Suntha, Sunthi Gujrati: Sunth, Sundh, Suntha Hindi: Sonth Kannada: Shunthi Kashmiri: Shonth Malayalam: Chukku Marathi: Sunth Oriya: Sunthi Punjabi: Sund Tamil: Sukku, Chukku Telugu: Sonthi, Sunti Urdu: Sonth, Zanjabeel

Ginger Constituents

Fresh ginger: Volatile Oil containing Cineole zingiberol, and sesquiterpene like zingiberene, bisobolene and sesqui phellandrene, gingerosol in the oleo-resin.

Dried ginger or Sunthi/Sonth: Essential oil, pungent constituents (gingerol and shogaol), resinous matter and starch.

Ayurvedic Properties and Action of Ginger

Ginger is warming in nature. Its oral intake reduces vata/wind, kapha/mucous and increases pitta/bile. It works on all tissues of body. It stimulates digestive system and kindles digestive fire. It has expectorant action. Its ayurvedic properties and action are given below.

Fresh ginger:

  1. Rasa (Taste): Katu (pungent)
  2. Guna (Characteristics): Guru/Heavy, Ruksha/Dry, Tikshna/Sharp
  3. Virya (Potency): Ushna/Hot
  4. Vipaka (Post Digestive Effect): Madhura/Sweet

Dried ginger or Sonth:

  1. Rasa (Taste): Katu (pungent)
  2. Guna (Characteristics): Laghu/Light, Snigdha/Unctuous
  3. Virya (Potency): Ushna/Hot
  4. Vipaka (Post Digestive Effect): Madhura/Sweet
  5. Karma (Action): Deepana (stimulates digestive), Pachana (digestive), Hrdya (good for heart), Anulomana (creates movement) etc.

Benefits of Ginger

Ginger is a useful remedy to treat many common digestive and respiratory ailments. Ginger tea is an excellent remedy for common cold, cough and flu. It has inflammation reducing and pain relieving property due to which it gives relief in joint pain, arthritis, rheumatism and similar condition. It is a handy remedy to treat nausea, vomiting, motion sickness and morning sickness. Ginger stimulates blood circulation and aids in detoxification. Chewing a piece of ginger, sprinkled with black salt, after meals solves many digestion related complaints (indigestion, gas, digestive weakness etc).

Medicinal uses of Ginger

Ginger works as medicine due to presence of various phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are the various biologically active compounds found in plants. Gingerols and shogaols found in ginger have analgesic, antipyretic, antiprostaglandin, hepatoprotective, and hypotensive properties. The other constituents of Ginger include zingibain, bisabolenel, oleoresins, starch, essential oils (zingiberene, zingiberole, camphene, cineol, borneol), mucilage, and protein. Due to presence of such active compounds ginger stimulates digestion, assimilation, relieves gas, increases muscular activity in the digestive tract and gives relief in respiratory ailments. It also significantly reduces nausea and vomiting. Ginger is an antioxidant that protects body cells and improves body immunity to fight infections.

Ginger is available in fresh and dried form. Dried form is more warming compared to fresh form. In treatment of nausea, vomiting, digestive complaints dried form should be used. Fresh form is more suitable for respiratory ailments such as cold, cough and flu.

Cold, cough and flu:

Ginger is very good remedy for cold, cough and flu condition. It acts as expectorant, relieves phlegm and infections.

Drinking ginger tea gives relief in cold and cough.

Ginger juice (5 ml) with honey (5 ml) is a useful remedy for cough and cold. It should be taken 2-3 times a day. This can also be taken as preventive measure for fever, cold cough, and flu.


Boil 5 gram dry ginger powder in 1 glass water. Cook till volume reduces to half. Filter and drink.

Improving appetite

Ginger improves appetite. For this purpose, 2 gram dried powder of ginger or Sunthi should be taken with ghee or hot water in morning.

Chewing piece of ginger or eating ginger pickle is also helpful.

Pharyngitis, loss of voice due to shouting, rhinitis, tonsillitis

In such cases, ginger piece should be chewed with clove and some salt.


Ginger stimulates digestive enzymes secretion. It also relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract and helps in removal of toxins from body. Drinking ginger tea in condition of excessive gas, indigestion and flatulence is very helpful. Sunthi can be taken in dose of 2-4 grams a day to cure indigestion.

In case of indigestion due to heavy meal, mix ginger juice (1/2 tablespoon) with mint and lemon juice (both 1 tablespoon) and take.

Or soak freshly cut thin pieces of ginger in lemon juice. Add some salt and chew few pieces after meal.

Digestive weakness

Ginger has stimulatory effect on digestion. In case of sluggish digestion mix, 5 ml ginger juice with 5 ml onion juice and drink.

Loss of appetite

Ginger is appetite stimulant. Eating ginger mixed with salt for a week helps to remove toxins from body and increasing appetite.


If taken regularly it helps to reduce the occurrence of migraine attacks.

Pain during Menstruation

Ginger reduces the pain during periods. For this ginger tea with brown sugar can be taken.


Ginger lowers lipid, cholesterol and blood glucose level. All these properties are even confirmed by modern science. The juice of ginger reduces serum glucose levels in experimental animals.

For diabetic patient including ginger in daily diet reduces the chance of kidney damage. Ginger juice can also be taken in recommended dose.

Nausea and vomiting, motion sickness

Ginger has anti-vomiting action and is very effective in relieving the severity of nausea and vomiting. It should be taken in dose of one gram.


When suffering from constipation mix ginger juice with ajwain and lemon juice and drink.

Premature ejaculation, impotency, spermatorrhoea

The common home remedy is to take ginger juice 5 ml, with one boiled egg and honey daily once a day, at night for one month.

Dose of ginger

The recommended dose of ginger is 3-9 g for fresh ginger;2-5 g for dried powder, to be taken 1 to 3 times a day.

Few important points

  1. There are few conditions in which ginger is contraindicated. Such conditions are gallstones, acidity, peptic ulcer, ulcers, and in a persons with aggravated pitta.
  2. Ginger may amplify blood-thinning drug activities. It may cause reaction when taken in combination with anticoagulant medicines such as aspirin.
  3. Ginger has strong antiplatelet (decrease platelet aggregation and inhibit thrombus formation) activity, so experts recommend it should not be used by people with blood clotting disorders.
  4. Ginger intake should be avoided in low platelet counts. During pregnancy, it should not be taken in excess.
  5. So use it cautiously.
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