Ginger. The Zest of Life.

Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE ginger. 

It’s something about the combination of spicy and sweet, but also about its awesome health properties. The rhizome or underground stem has been used as medicine in Asia and India over 2000 years. It can be used fresh, dried and in powder form, or as a juice or oil.

Ginger has countless uses. Mentioned below are those with the most historic and research backing. 

Stomach Discomfort: it can help soothe the intestinal tract by eliminating intestinal gas and relaxing your stomach. That’s why it’s commonly used for motion/morning sickness, colic, upset stomach, chemo-induced nausea, and loss of appetite. It has also been used as a mild-laxative. 

Anti-Inflammatory: ginger has antioxidant effect due to a compound called 6-gingerol, which is thought to help decrease joint pain in rheumatoid arthritis and pain in osteoarthritis as well as improve mobility if they consume it regularly.  

Immune Boosting: ginger has been known to keep a cold at bay, help with upper respiratory infections, and cough.  Researchers have found that it also has potent germ-fighting agents that help fight infection. 

Detoxifying: Aids in a good, healthy sweat. 

Morning Sickness Prevention: Studies have shown reduction in nausea and vomiting in some pregnant women. Note: It’s a must to share all herb-taking information with your doctor. 

Weight-management? The newest research suggests that ginger could play a role in weight management showing enhanced thermogenesis (faster burning of calories) and reduced feelings of hunger with ginger consumption. This is interesting, yet not completely solidified. Even though, 1 heaping teaspoon of fresh ginger is only 4 calories! 

HOW MUCH? The amount of adequate intake is unclear since the amount of active compounds vary. Yet, it is clear that both combined and continuous uptake produce increased benefits. Some guidelines based on Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database are:  

For nausea/gas/indigestion: 2-4 grams of fresh root daily (1 tsp) or maximum of 1 g of powdered root (2 ginger capsules or ¼ of a teaspoon) 

For morning sickness and arthritis pain: 250 mg 4 times daily (1 gram a day maximum). Talk to your doctor before taking ginger.

WHERE TO BUY? Fresh ginger root is available year round in the produce section. If possible, choose fresh ginger over dried since the flavor is better and contains higher amount of active ingredients. Make sure it is firm, smooth and free of mold. If you buy powdered form, store in the fridge for an extended shelf life. 

HOW TO PREPARE? Remove the skin with a paring knife or peeler. You can slice it any way you want. I’ve found that cutting it in smaller pieces strengthens the flavor. 

HOW TO MAKE GINGER WATER:  Boil 2 to 3 liters of water. In the mean time, remove and cut 3-5 inches of fresh ginger. Add to boiling water and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Cover pot for a stronger taste. Wait 5 to 10 minutes for it to cool.

Use ginger water for:

  • Tea. Add 1 tsp of your choice of sweetener, or not! (You can also buy Ginger Yogi Tea, delish!)
  • Ginger lemonade. Simply combine ginger water with lemon juice and a little Agave nectar. 

Use cooked ginger pieces in:

  • Rice, stir-fry, soups, pureed sweet potatoes, or sautéed veggies. 

Use both to make White Ginger Sangria. 

1-Make ginger water and strain most of the water until the pot is only left with a little water and ginger pieces. 

2-Muddle (fancy word for combine) the ginger with 1 tablespoon of sugar. 

3-Mix 1 bottle of white wine, 1 liter of ginger water, muddled ginger, 1 apple and 1 orange and let sit overnight. Before serving, add sparking water for fizzy effect. 

Even though ginger is generally recognized as safe (GRAS), talk to your doctor if you are taking blood-thinning, diabetes or high blood pressure meds. 

Medline Plus 


University of Maryland Medical Center