Friday, July 20, 2007

Miracle of Ginger... Part I

Ginger rhizomes owe their popularity as much to their medicinal virtues as their food uses. For more than 5,000 years people have valued their 'hot' and 'warming' qualities. Today the rhizomes are commonly used in Asian medicine to treat rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, sore throats, to improve circulation and reduce fat deposits in the arteries. Ayurvedic practitioners, use ginger rhizomes as a cure for cholera, anorexia and 'inflamed liver'. Many of these traditional medicinal properties are supported by recent scientific research.

Medicines containing ginger come in a variety of forms. The fresh or dried rhizome can be made into teas and tinctures, or powdered and put into capsules. Pastoral communities in the southern India state of Tamil Nadu use ginger as a folk medicine to treat cattle suffering from gastric upset. They feed the ginger rhizome to cattle in the form of a herbal paste mixed with black pepper, asafoetida (Ferula species) and sweet flag (Acorus calamus).

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