Discovering the ginger

Discovering the ginger

Oh pianta che provieni dall’oriente il cui rizoma è usato come eupeptico, in farmacia, in cucina e nei liquori e ovviamente nel Natale,
sapete poi cosa vuol dire eupeptico significa che ti fa digerire, perciò dopo il cenone di Natale diciamoci l’un l’altro “eupepsia”.
E non venite a dirci che lo zenzero era già in voga prima di stavolta, vogliamo ci sia riconosciuto il merito dello zenzero, Natale allo zenzero, Presepe allo zenzero, tanti auguroni allo zenzero

(pretty much: “Oh plant that comes from the east whose rhizome is used as a eupeptic, in the pharmacy, in the kitchen and in the liquors and of course in Christmas,
you then know what eupeptic means it makes you digest, so after the Christmas dinner let’s tell each other “eupepsia”.
And don’t tell us that ginger was already in vogue before this time. We want to be credited with ginger, Ginger Christmas, ginger nativity scene, so many ginger wishers….”).

They sang like this in 2004 the “Elio e le storie tese”, and who knows if it is due to them the increase in the use of this spice in Italy.

Discovering the ginger

What’s certain is that in recent years more and more scientific studies have been carried out on the properties of this tuber.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe, family: Zingiberaceae) is a typical Southeast Asian plant where it is the most common spice.
In the kitchen the root of this plant is used as a spice with a pungent aroma that adds a special flavor to our food.
But its properties do not stop there, in fact, its use also gives beneficial properties to our dishes.

Its wide use in the areas where the plant originates is also due to this, in fact, Asian populations have always used it to treat different diseases and now we know why it is considered a remedy for many evils. More than 60 active ingredients can be isolated from ginger, but the most characteristic are essentially 3 zingerone, gingerolo and shogaol.
All these are anti-antioxidants with a power similar to ascorbic acid, and of the three the most interesting is zingerone which is present, in the tuber, in greater quantities than the others and cooking or drying involves increasing its bioavailability, also because gingerol and shogaol as temperatures increase they are converted to zingerone.


The properties of these active ingredients are varied, the best known and the antimicrobial, like all spices, followed by  antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, in fact they manage to neutralize the free radicals that are normally formed in food and in our body and also go directly to inhibit the enzymes that produce these radicals.
In doing so they also reduce the levels of inflammation of our organism by preventing diseases such as Alzheimer’s, arteriosclerosis and arthritis.

Other properties produced mainly by zingerone are the antidiarrheal effect due to the inhibition of enterotoxins produced by Escherichia Coli. The antiemetic effect for which ginger has the ability to reduce the sense of nausea and vomiting. The anticoagulant effect important to prevent the formation of blood cloths that can cause embolism, heart attack or stroke.
Less certain properties, but for which there is a lot of study interest, are those anticancer. In fact, it has been seen that it could help prevent the formation of certain types of cancer, even if the mechanism has not yet been clarified and the lipolytic property for which it would seem that ginger stimulates the reduction of adipocytes thus entailing the loss of fat mass, but also in this case the mechanism by which this would happen is not known. From all these effects he could deduce that ginger is a panacea against all evils, but unfortunately this is not the case.

It is true that it can prevent many pathologies as we have seen, but an abuse of this spice especially under certain conditions can lead to more side effects than benefits, so we see the contraindications of ginger and when it is better not to take it.

Discovering the ginger

Although it is useful in case of nauseas, consult your doctor before using ginger in pregnancy. Avoid taking in case of allergy to one or more components present.
Ginger allergy is noticeable with the appearance of redness on the skin and rashes.
It is also good not to abuse ginger. The massive use of ginger, in fact, can provoke gastritis, ulcers and intestinal swelling instead of curing them.
Avoid the use of ginger at the same time as anti-inflammatory and hypotensive drugs.
Given its fluidifying effect of blood, it is always recommended to consult your doctor before using ginger in case you take anti aggregating and anticoagulant drugs (Coumadin, Cardioaspirin, etc.)

Discovering the ginger


Dr. Andrea Riva

Contact us


Related Articles