Ginger Packs a Punch!

Ginger has been used as a natural remedy for many ailments for centuries. Today researchers around the world can hardly keep up with all the findings around the wonders of ginger.

If you’ve been dabbling with ginger, maybe you’ve wondered if fresh is better than ground (since in the world of food, the common theme IS fresh is better than processed)? Turns out, fresh gingerroot is not better than ground.

It’s true that ginger’s nutrient profile does undergo some changes during the drying and bottling process, but it still offers plenty of health benefits and is definitely worth adding to your diet (in any form). And while the method used to create ground ginger from fresh ginger reduces the amount of gingerol (one of the ingredients that contributes to its health properties), other compounds, such as shogaols, increase. Research shows these compounds have impressive medicinal benefits and may be even more potent than gingerol.

And of course, ground ginger is more convenient to cook with, meaning you’ll be more likely to use more of it. Try adding it to smoothies, marinades, dressings, healthy muffin recipes and even oatmeal. So the point: ginger packs a punch, whether ground or fresh. So try to use both.

Speaking of that punch, ginger contains chromium, magnesium, and zinc, all of which are key ingredients in maintaining healthy blood flow. But there’s more. Consider these other ginger health benefits, whether using ground or fresh:

Ginger is being applauded as a powerful weapon in the treatment of ovarian cancer. A study conducted at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that ginger powder induces cell death in all ovarian cancer cells to which it was applied.

Ginger research shows it fights colon cancer. A study at the University of Minnesota found that ginger may slow the growth of colorectal cancer cells.

Numerous studies have concluded that ginger is just as effective as vitamin B6 in the treatment of morning sickness.

Ginger has also been shown to be an effective remedy for the nausea associated with motion sickness.

Studies show that ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and is a powerful natural painkiller.

Ginger has long been a traditional natural heartburn remedy. It is most often taken in the form of tea for this purpose.

Research shows ginger is an effective natural treatment for colds and the flu. Many people also find ginger to be helpful in the case of food poisoning, which isn’t surprising given the positive effects ginger has upon the digestive tract.

Ginger’s been also been shown to help asthma by coating the airways.

Ginger is proven to provide migraine relief, due to its ability to prevent prostaglandins from causing pain and inflammation in blood vessels.

Abundant research is showing that ginger also reduces incidence of diabetic nephropathy (which leads to eventual kidney damage).

A recent study funded by the National Cancer Institute found that ginger helps reduce the nausea from chemotherapy by 40%.

In Chinese medicine, sginger tea with brown sugar is used in the treatment of menstrual cramps.

Speaking of tea, it’s easy to make. Just boil 2 cups of water and stir in 2 tablespoons of grated gingerroot. Let it steep for a few minutes and then drink this straight or add lemon juice and/or your favorite sweetener to taste. Ginger tea with honey is especially soothing when you have a sore throat or feel a cold or the flu coming on.

We all have recipes that call for ground ginger—everything from pumpkin pie, to muffins, to spice cakes. Aunt Annie used to add it to her pancake batter for a nice change. But one of my very favorite, and most convenient ways to get a punch of ginger is to nibble on a ginger chew.

I’ve tried a few different brands, but my favorite is Gin-Gins. If you haven’t discovered ginger candy, you might want to look for it. It’s easiest to find either online or at your local natural foods store.

I’ll close with a recipe for making your own ginger chews with less sugar than store brands. You just add honey. And even experiment by lemon, etc. You’ll need some waxed paper and a candy thermometer.

Homemade Ginger Chews


2 cups pure water
3 to 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger root (depending on how hot you want your candy)
1/2 cup sugar (brown sugar works, too)
1/2 cup pure honey (no need for raw honey here)

Grate ginger root and add to water in a saucepan and simmer until half the liquid has evaporated (about 30 minutes). Strain and compost ginger. Reserve 1 cup of ginger decoction.
Grease a small glass dish (use 7×4 inch) with coconut oil. Cut some parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan and cover it with coconut oil too.
Pour ginger decoction in a large clean saucepan. Add in sugar and honey over high heat until it reaches 260 degrees or passes a water drop test which is the preferred method (see Note).
When temperature is reached or syrup has passed a water test, pour candy into pan. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Turn dish over and remove parchment paper from the bottom of the candy. Using a sharp knife run under HOT water or coated in coconut oil, cut the candy into small strips (1/2 x 1 inch). Wrap in extra parchment paper for storage. Are shelf stable 4-6 weeks… longer if stored in the refrigerator. If your candy gets stuck in your pan, you’ll have to use a spoon and scoop out bits of sticky candy to mold and wrap. Your chews will be exactly the same… it will just take a bit of extra work.
NOTES: When you reach stage 3 (around 250 degrees) start doing the water drop test. Get a cup of VERY cold water and drop a small amount of syrup in. Use a spoon to retrieve your candy. You’ll be able to feel if it’s too soft or just right. Remember… you want it chewy… not runny or hard.

Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.

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    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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