Ginger is one of the most commonly used condiments in daily cooking today. Ayurveda recognized the medicinal properties of ginger many centuries ago and included it in India’s daily cuisine.
Ginger is used in both its wet and dry form. Wet ginger is called “Aardrak/Aardrika” in Sanskrit and dry ginger is called “Shunthi/Sonth”. In regular/daily cooking, mostly fresh/wet ginger is used; and in specific recipes, dry ginger powder is used.
From the perspective of its properties/energy/strength, known as “Virya” in Sanskrit, ginger is “Ushna”, which means hot/heaty. Dry ginger powder is more heaty than fresh/wet ginger. Due to its heaty effect, ginger can enhance/strengthen Pitta dosha (fire element), balance Kapha dosha (water element), regulate Vata dosha (air element), and eliminate “Ama” (toxins) from the body. Therefore, ginger can help to speed up metabolism, maintain/sustain energy levels with minimal fluctuation, and can also enhance emotional and mental stability.
Ginger not only helps to increase appetite by boosting and strengthening the fire element, Pitta, but it can also help to enhance “Ruchi” (taste/interest) for having food. How?
Sometimes a person may feel hungry initially but when starting to eat, he/she does not feel interested to continue eating even though the food may be palatable, i.e. he/she does not relish the food.
Ayurveda says that this condition is caused because of a lack of “Ruchi” (taste) caused by poor co-ordination between the Paachaka Pitta (digestive fire) and Udaana Vaayu (air which flows in and above the throat region);
This lack of co-ordination is mainly caused by blockages in the channels due to accumulation of “Ama” (toxic matter/plaque). With its heaty effect, ginger can clear the blockages from the channels by removing the toxic matter, which can then be eliminated from the body through urine, stool and sweat.
As a result of this, real “Ruchi” (interest) develops and one can then relish the food that one consumes. And when food is properly relished, digestion and absorption also improves because there will be sufficient production of digestive juices/enzymes in the digestive system. This can certainly benefit the individual, promoting good mental health and emotional well-being.
One of the simplest way to increase appetite and enhance “Ruchi” is to mix 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger with 3 pinches of black/rock salt in the morning and keep it covered for 3 – 4 hours, and then consume this mixture just before lunch.
Ayurveda praises ginger for its beneficial effects in the following way: “Bhojanaagrey sadaa pathyam lavanaardrak bhakshanam”; which means – one with poor appetite should always consume ginger mixed with salt (black/rock salt) before lunch for increasing the appetite and arousing interest in food.
Ayurveda says, it is very important that our digestive and excretory systems works optimally in order to have good and balanced health, because we are not only what we eat, rather, we are what we digest. If food is digested properly, only then will the seven “Dhaatus” (Sustainers – tissues which sustain our body structure and maintain good health) will be formed properly.
In addition to its beneficial effect on our digestive and excretory systems, ginger can also be used to improve blood circulation, maintain normal body temperature, improve skin health, reduce headache/ migraine, earache and toothache, correct menstrual disorders, and improve the quality of the vital fluid (semen for men and cervical fluid in women). Ginger can also help to correct and prevent several mental disorders and neurological problems, eg. ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), brain fog, delusion, dementia, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, etc.
Caution/Note : Pitta predominant individuals and those who have a primary Vata dosha (constitution) should avoid taking dry ginger powder. If really needed, then they should mix it with ghee (clarified butter), butter or virgin coconut oil, before consuming. Those with a predominantly Kapha dosha (constitution) should take it with raw/unprocessed honey.
DISCLAIMER : This information is intended for educational purposes only & does not constitute expert medical advice, nor is it meant to replace medical recommendations by a medical practitioner. Always consult a qualified Ayurveda Doctor/Health Professional/Yoga Guru for your specific medical needs before taking any herbal health supplements and/or practicing Yoga.