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Ginger - hot tuber, great effect
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) was named the 2018 medicinal plant by the NHV Theophrastus. In its native Asia, ginger has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It has an antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect.
Today there are numerous studies that scientifically confirm the versatile effectiveness of ginger. It relieves nausea and vomiting and is just as effective for motion sickness as synthetic medication. Ginger also stimulates intestinal peristalsis, promotes saliva, gastric juice and bile secretion and prevents a feeling of fullness after eating lavishly. Clinical studies have shown that ginger reduces pain and is therefore useful for rheumatic diseases. Antispasmodic and anti-tumor properties have also been observed. Experience medicine also uses it for colds and coughs, menstrual cramps, back pain and migraines.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is the medicinal plant of the year 2018. This bulbous rootstock is available for purchase in almost every supermarket. Its fame and popularity grew as Asian restaurants gained a foothold in Europe. "On the one hand, the ginger gives dishes an interesting Far Eastern flavor, on the other hand it has a proven broad spectrum of activity in the medical field," explains Konrad Jungnickel. The naturopath is the chairman of the association.
Impressive effects - yesterday and today
Like many medicinal and spice plants, ginger has a long tradition, especially in its native Asia. The Chinese emperor Shen nung is said to have mentioned ginger as strengthening in his work on medicinal plants "Shen nung pen ts' ao king" thousands of years before Christ. The Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479 BC) is known to have never eaten his meals without ginger.
The Greek doctor Dioskurides in the 1st century AD attributed the ginger bulbs to "warming, digestive power". "They stimulate the stomach gently and are good for the stomach."
Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) later prescribed a laxative potion to support the treatment of Podagra, which contained ginger as well as bertram and pepper.
Paracelsus (1493-1541) listed ginger in recipes for internal use, e.g. for fever and as a panacea, as well as externally as a plaster for breaks and blunt injuries.
Adam Lonitzer (1528-1586) also recommended the ginger for better digestion: "Wine / Imber and caraway boiled in it / is good against gastric and intestinal pain / coming from winds / and probably makes you last."
Today there are numerous studies that scientifically confirm the versatile effectiveness of ginger. Antispasmodic and anti-tumor properties have also been observed.
Experience medicine also uses it for colds and coughs, menstrual cramps, back pain and migraines.
The essential oil is not spicy and has a skin-friendly, vitalizing and virus-inhibiting effect on herpes viruses on a physical level, stabilizing and mood-enhancing on a mental level.
Experience medicine from other countries
Ginger is one of the most important plants in traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda). It differentiates between the effects of fresh ginger (e.g. in case of nausea) and dried ginger (e.g. in respiratory diseases). In an old Indian saying, there is no tincture without ginger. It is said to strengthen the healing ability of other plants.
In Malaysia you fight nausea, dizziness and headache by rubbing your forehead and neck with a freshly cut slice of ginger. In Indonesia, ginger and cooked rice are crushed and used as a to relieve joint pain.
In China, the rhizome is known from folk medicine u. a. as a remedy for dropsy, for toothache and as an antidote for fungal poisoning. Chinese medicine is familiar with the ginger rootstock roasted in hot ashes for diarrhea and for hemostasis. In addition, the leaves are considered to aid digestion, the stems as worms.
A remedy for rheumatism is boiled powdered ginger in milk for the nomads of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. This mixture is taken in the evening before going to bed.
Useful for animals
Ginger is also used to treat animals. With ginger tea or sliced ginger z. B. in poultry an infestation of the intestine with parasites can be prevented.
It is also an excellent pain reliever for horses suffering from osteoarthritis. They need a significantly lower dose of ginger per kilogram of body weight than humans, probably because the anti-inflammatory ingredients break down more slowly in their stomachs.
An anecdote tells of another type of use, according to which formerly enterprising horse traders in America are said to have introduced ginger as a suppository to their weakened old horses. This is said to have caused her to straighten her tail, a sign of youthful fire.
The ginger rootstock contains up to 3% essential oil, which can have very different compositions depending on the origin. It is found in the secretion cells under the cork layer. Therefore, ginger should not be peeled, but the cork should only be carefully scraped off with a spoon.
The tuber also contains the spicy substances gingerol and shogaol. The latter only arises from storage and drying of the rhizome. Both spices have therapeutically valuable effects. The ingredient Zingeron is formed through further breakdown of the spicy substances. It no longer tastes spicy and indicates inferior goods through overlay.
To extract the active ingredients, the essential oil is obtained by steam distillation, whereby the water-insoluble pungent substances do not get into the oil. Secondly, alcoholic extraction creates ginger oleoresin, a resinous mixture that combines essential oil and spicy substances. It is used to flavor food, cosmetics and perfumery.
Ginger medicine - homemade
Ready-made preparations with ginger in the form of capsules, essential oil, in liquid combination preparations or as candied ginger are commercially available. If you want to be active yourself, you can make ginger medicine yourself: If you have anorexia, gas, bloating, nausea and motion sickness, you can help. B. ginger tea or tincture.
Tea: Scald a teaspoon of powdered drug or fresh grated ginger with 200 ml of hot water. Let it steep for 5 to 10 minutes, covering the container so that the essential oil does not escape. Drink ½ hour before eating or before starting your trip.
Tincture: Cut 50 g of ginger into thin slices, fill with 200 ml of 50% alcohol, extract for 10 to 20 days with daily shaking, strain, fill in dark bottles and close well. Take 20 to 30 drops of ginger tincture in a glass of lukewarm water ½ hour before eating or before starting your trip.
A ginger layer has a soothing effect on rheumatic diseases, bruises and muscle tension. To do this, pour 3 tablespoons of grated ginger with ½ liter of boiling water. After 5 minutes of pulling in a closed saucepan, soak a cotton cloth in the infusion, wring out and put on, cover with a warming cloth and leave on the body for about 40 minutes. Then apply a nourishing skin oil to the treated area.
A ginger bath or ginger rub can help relieve cramps and muscle or joint pain:
Grate about 50 g of ginger, brew with a liter of boiling water, cover and let steep for ¼ hour and then add to the bath water.
Press out fresh, grated ginger using a garlic press and add 4 times the amount of jojoba or sesame oil to the juice. This mixture has to be shaken vigorously before use so that watery juice and fatty oil mix. The rub should be used up within a few days.
Spice with healing properties
For use as a spice, it is worth testing ginger from different origins because the varieties have different tastes. The ginger from Nigeria is said to be the hottest, the mildest from Australia. The variety that best meets the requirements of the pharmacopoeia is Jamaican ginger, but also Australian and Bengal ginger.
As a spice, it can serve both savory dishes such as soups, meat and fish dishes, and sweet dishes such as B. Pastries and cakes can be added. In the Middle Ages, ginger was so popular that the alley of spice traders in Basel was named "Imbergasse". It has been handed down from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832) that he had ginger served with tea parties and music evenings in addition to the finest dishes such as foie gras, caviar and salmon. Due to its former colonies in East Asia, ginger can be found in many traditional foods and beverages in England, e.g. B in gingerbread (gingerbread), in jam, in Worcestershire sauce or in ginger beer.
The sharpness of the ginger has "something cheeky and challenging" for television chef Alfons Schuhbeck, but that does not mean that it can still be combined with other spices. "Garlic and ginger are the dream couple par excellence in my kitchen," he writes in one of his cookbooks. According to Schuhbeck, this increases the valuable antioxidant effect by 50%.
Different countries - different dishes
Ginger slices are preserved in China and Japan by placing them in brine, rice wine or rice vinegar.
Freshly grated ginger along with onion and garlic result in a paste which - briefly seared - is used as the basis for sauces in northern India. A snack that can be found on almost every street corner in India is the “samosas”, filled dumplings that a. be spiced vigorously with ginger.
In Morocco, ginger, for example, refines the braised dish "Tajine", which is prepared in a jar of the same name made of clay with a lid. It mostly consists of mutton and mixed vegetables.
The relatives of the real ginger
Zingiber officinale belongs to the species-rich family of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). Real ginger close relatives may include: a. the spices turmeric (Curcuma longa), cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) and galangal (Alpinia officinarum), but also tropical ornamental plants such as red ginger (Alpinia purpurata) or yellow butterfly ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum).
A special "ginger garden" was created in the Singapore Botanical Garden. Over 550 species of the Zingiberales order can be admired here. These include e.g. B. also banana and pineapple plants or strelitzia plants.
The plant comes from the tropical climate of Asia - however, it is no longer possible to determine exactly where. The assumptions range from India and Sri Lanka to southeast China to the Bismarck archipelago. Ginger needs a high level of humidity without large temperature fluctuations, moist soil and partial shade. Its original wild form appears to have died out. But overgrown plants are common. The spice and medicinal plant is cultivated in many tropical areas, especially in India and China, but also e.g. B. in Queensland in Australia, in Nigeria and Sierra Leone, in Jamaica and in Peru.
The plant is a perennial with a horizontally creeping, antler-like rhizome. This is called a rhizome and is a thickened shoot axis that serves the plant as a storage or wintering organ. From this grow about one meter high stems (in tropical areas also up to 1.80 meters) with elongated lanceolate leaves, which give the plant a reed-like appearance. The inflorescence, which resembles a cone-like spike, sits on a short leafless shoot. The individual red-yellowish flowers open from this.
Flowering plants are rare. You can reproduce through the seeds formed. However, this vegetation phase up to the "adult" plant takes a very long time. In commercial cultivation, it is propagated vegetatively by dividing the rhizome.
The harvest takes place after 8 to 10 months. For a delicate, non-fibrous ginger, however, harvesting takes place earlier - after 5 to 6 months.
Growing at home is possible
If you want to grow your own ginger here in Central Europe, you can do it in a pot in your apartment - in mild wine-growing regions you can even do it outdoors. In early spring, get a fresh rhizome with as many “eyes” as possible from which the plant will later sprout. It is divided into 5 cm pieces (each piece should have at least one eye), placed in a wide pot with well drained garden soil and thinly covered with soil. In order to create a warm, humid climate, the pot can be covered with a clear film until the plant shoots. The soil should always be moist - ginger cannot tolerate waterlogging. A bright, but not too sunny place and a constant temperature are advantageous. When the leaves start to wither after about 8 months, the ginger can be harvested. For further cultivation you can put a piece back into the pot. The rootstock survives the winter at 10 to 15 ° C without watering. In 2018 the NHV Theophrastus will publish further information about ginger on the website www.nhv-theophrastus.de and in a brochure.
The NHV Theophrastus is committed to disseminating naturopathic ideas to young and old. Since 2003, the association has chosen an "Medicinal Plant of the Year" annually, which is determined by an independent jury. Predecessors of the ginger include lemon balm, anise and daisies.