Dried Ginger

Other Names of Dried Ginger: Root ginger

Useful Parts of the Plant: Underground rhizome; leaves

Ginger refers to the underground bulb belonging to the plant. Its flesh can be white, yellow or even red and is covered by a thick brownish skin. It has been used for centuries as a condiment in many Asian cultures, imparting a tangy and pungent taste to food. The mature root is dried and powdered and used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments. Studies have shown that dried ginger possesses many therapeutic properties. It has a potent antioxidant effect as well as an anti-inflammatory effect.

Nutritional Information and Properties of Dried Ginger

Ginger has high mineral content, being a good source of potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese and vitamin B6. They also contain certain compounds like gingerols, shogaols and zingerone, volatile oils that give it its characteristic odor and flavor. These oils have been known to increase gastrointestinal tract motility in laboratory animals and also have antibacterial, antipyretic, analgesic and sedative properties. Studies have also shown that gingerols can kill ovarian cancer cells. When ginger is dried or cooked, shogaols and zingerone are produced from the gingerols, which give it its pungent taste.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses of Dried Ginger

  • Dried ginger has been used in traditional medicine to relieve gastrointestinal distress. It is known to be effective in eliminating gas in the intestines as well as acts in a way to help in the relaxation of the tract.
  • Recent studies have also shown that ginger also is very beneficial in the prevention of the symptoms related to motion sickness, being even more effective than other medications purchased from medical stores.
  • It reduces symptoms closely related to motion sickness which includes nausea and cold sweats, dizziness and vomiting. This action has proven very beneficial in treating 'morning sickness' in pregnant women. Unlike anti-emetic drugs which may cause birth defects, the use of ginger is considered very safe and the dosage too needs to be very small.
  • Gingerols in dried ginger have very powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Clinical studies have shown that many people suffering from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis experienced decrease in their level of pain after consuming ginger regularly. They also experience improved joint mobility in affected areas. A recent study over a twelve month period found that in cases of arthritis of the knee, people who consumed ginger also experienced significantly lesser pain than the others on movement. A measurement of the knee circumference showed a decrease of almost 10% by the twelfth week due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Gingerols may also prevent the growth and spread of colorectal cancer cells. Experiments have shown that they may also kill ovarian cancer cells by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) and auto phagocytosis (self-digestion).
  • Ginger can promote sweating which can help lower body temperature, helpful when treating colds and flus. This process also helps the body get rid of toxins. It has such a rich concentration of active compounds that very little is required to receive its beneficial effects.
  • Ginger tea can be made by adding a pinch of dried ginger to a cup of boiling water. This will help treat digestive disorders. Alternatively, the powder can be added to a cup of tea to make it more palatable.

When purchasing dried ginger powde, remember that organically grown ginger is the better option as it will have fewer chemicals and you will also have the assurance that it has not been radiated. Dried ginger powder should be kept in a tightly sealed container in a cool dark place. It can also be refrigerated to increase its shelf life.

It is on the FDA's 'safe' list, though it does interact with some drugs like warfarin and shouldn't be consumed by people suffering from gallstones.