Ginger is an everyday power spice. It is used widely in ayurveda because it is so effective even when used by itself. An ayurvedic sutra, or verse, indicates that everyone should eat fresh ginger just before lunch and dinner to whet the appetite and promote digestion.
Ginger helps balance Vata and Kapha doshas (mind-body types) and aggravates Pitta. Traditional ayurvedic texts recommend ginger to help with joint pain, motion sickness and clearing the microcirculatory channels to facilitate better absorption of nutrients and elimination of wastes. Ginger improves assimilation and transportation of nutrients to targeted body tissues. According to ayurveda, ginger also: aids a healthy response to allergens, supports respiratory health and helps with occasional congestion; supports blood circulation, promoting cardiovascular health; helps with occasional upset stomach, gas and menstrual cramps; and aids indigestion by mimicking digestive enzymes used to process protein in the body.
Modern science, by way of worldwide research, ratifies ginger’s effectiveness in coping with motion or airsickness, promoting digestion, and helping with joint discomfort, particularly in the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis. Because its heating quality helps to loosen congestion, ginger root is often found in many products for immunity and the respiratory system.
Cook with ginger
Dried, ground ginger is a warming spice, contributing the pungent taste. It imparts zest to vegetable and lentil dishes. Add with other spices during cooking, or sauté in ghee and add to dishes. It has a very concentrated flavor and a little goes a long way. Dried ginger can be found in Ayurvedic Spice Mixes, and it combines well with many ayurvedic spices, including turmeric, fennel, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cayenne.
A good way to eat raw ginger is to dip two or three thin slices of ginger in a little salt and lime juice before a main meal. If you find that ginger’s pungent taste renders it difficult to eat raw or on its own, add a few thin slices to your legumes or vegetables as they cook. Another option is to sauté grated ginger in a tablespoon of ghee, adding the mixture to warm milk (add sweetener if you like), desserts or other dishes.