Last night I made some ginger tea in a jar. I sliced a lemon, an orange and a piece of ginger 4 inches long and 1 inch wide, I put them in a jar and added some honey and sugar. Today the mixture has let go of its delicious juices. I plan to leave it for a while to “brew”, then use the juice as a basis for a hot drink.
I know it looks ugly, but it already tastes amazing – and its taste will only become better after a few days of sitting in a jar. But the taste is not the only reason I intend to drink tea with this concoction in it.
Ginger’s miraculous properties were not confirmed by science (yet)
Ginger has been used in traditional medicine for ages – it is said to help digestion, reduce nausea and help prevent (or fight) the flu and the common cold. Its main bioactive component is gingerol, related to capsaicin and piperine (which gives ginger its bite), that has been found to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Although widely used in folk medicine, ginger has been studied insufficiently by science. Its effects on inflammation and nausea have been the subject of some – limited – studies, but science still owes us a large-scale, serious review.
Proven health effects
Although it hasn’t been officially crowned a “superfood”, ginger has several proven health benefits.
It has been found to reduce muscle pain in the long run, and may also reduce soreness (this is one of the effects I intend to test). But it also seems to help control blood sugar for diabetics, to help digestion in cases of chronic indigestion (dyspepsia), reduce menstrual pain, lower cholesterol and possibly even help with the prevention of cancer.
And it has also been found to inhibit the growth of different bacteria, being especially effective against those causing various gum diseases.
Fresh or powdered
For the best effects you’ll want to go with fresh – but it’s not mandatory. While some of the nutrients in ginger are altered during the drying and powdering process, there is still enough goodness in the powder to make it count. Drying and grinding ginger reduces the amount of gingerol but increases the proportion of other beneficial compounds, also with beneficial effects.