The story of ginger goes back to more than 5000 years when ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius discovered its healing powers and it was regarded as a symbol of wealth and fertility by the Romans. By the 13th century, it was dried and shipped to various countries to increase its shelf life. It is believed that a pound of ginger, in those days, was equal to the price of a whole sheep! Undoubtedly, ginger is one of the most powerful spices in the world and has been highly prized for its medicinal and therapeutic qualities.
Back in India, you will find ginger in every kitchen and as part of every regional cuisine. From being a pungent spice to an aromatic garnish and also integral to some cultural traditions, the ginger root boasts of a wide variety of uses. Besides its culinary use, every part of this versatile herb has potent powers. In fact, in Ayurveda, it has been regarded as the healing spice that can prevent motion or air sickness, improve digestion and reduce joint pain. The spicy ginger juice packs a great nutritional punch and can also serve as a valuable natural medicine.
How to extract ginger juice
There are two easy ways to make ginger juice at home. In the first method, you can use a simple grater to grate fresh ginger using the smallest holes. Place a bowl below the grater to collect the grated ginger. Next, put all of the grated ginger in a cheesecloth, wrap it properly and now squeeze it over an empty glass or bowl to collect all the juice. You can use the dry grated ginger later for cooking purposes or brew some with your evening tea.
In the other method, you can use a juicer or a mixer to extract ginger juice. Add small ginger pieces along with some water and blend. Take out the ginger pieces and place them in a cheesecloth. Squeeze out the juice and its ready for use. Since the juice contains the entire essence of ginger, it can be a bit pungent or spicy. You can add it to your detox juices to give it an extra kick or even to your cup of tea along with honey which is great to balance the pungency.
Fresh ginger juice will only last you for a day or perhaps two because it is alkaline in nature and alkaline foods tend to have shorter shelf lives. However, an interesting way to preserve it during summers is to freeze it in an ice tray and them as dunk the zingy cubes in your juice or iced tea whenever needed. Here are some amazing benefits of ginger juice and how to use it as a natural cure for some of the most common health problems.
1. Improves digestion
Ginger juice contains certain volatile oils that can help awaken your taste buds and get the juices flowing. It purifies the mouth and stimulates the production of saliva which aids the digestion process. Having a combination of ginger juice, salt and lime before or after a meal makes it easier to digest your food.
Ginger juice certain volatile oils that can help awaken your taste buds
2. Relieves congestion and cold
Ginger juice has amazing antibacterial properties. Consuming ginger juice with dried pepper can help eliminate mucous and congestion in the lungs. To cure cold, mix equal quantities of ginger juice and honey and drink it warm at least two to three times in a day. Drinking plain ginger juice can also help in clearing a sore throat.
Ginger juice has amazing antibacterial properties
3. Pain reliever
The fresh juice of ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and is known to act is a pain reliever. A very effective remedy for back pain is to mix a spoonful of ginger juice with some olive oil and massage it over your skin. Leave it overnight and you will feel relieved the next morning. It can also help in curing a toothache or a pulsating migraine headache. For a toothache, it is best to keep a small piece of ginger between you cheek and tooth and let the natural juices do the work. For migraine, drink two tablespoons of ginger juice with honey. You can even rub some ginger juice on your stomach to get relieve from a sinus headache.
The fresh juice of ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory properties
4. Controls high blood pressure
In his book, ‘The Healing Herbs,’ renowned health writer Michael Castleman explains that certain chemical compounds in ginger can help in reducing hypertension or high blood pressure. It prevents blood clots from being formed in your arteries and blood vessels and thus, controls blood pressure. According to Castleman, the chemical compounds in ginger can also help lower overall blood cholesterol levels as well as low density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) which can cause heart disease. It is recommended to have a tablespoon of fresh ginger juice twice a day but you must consult your health expert before doing so.
It prevents blood clots from being formed in your arteries
5. Removes bad breath
The Vitamin C in ginger juice helps in killing the bacteria in the mouth that causes bad breath. Mix a spoonful of ginger juice with some lime in warm water and gargle for few minutes.
6. A cure for acne
This is easily understandable as acne is an inflammatory condition and ginger is known got its anti-inflammatory properties. It is a natural and effective treatment for acne and acne scars. You can directly apply a small amount of ginger juice on the affected area and leave it on for 5 minutes. Rinse with cool water and let it dry. The Vitamin C in ginger juice can help in clearing skin blemishes. You can even use the juice to make ginger tea which is great for detoxifying the skin. Brew the ginger juice with tea leaves, add some honey and lemongrass to reap more beauty benefits and drink up.
According to Dermatologist Dr. Deepali Bhardwaj, “Ginger juice can help remove toxins from the skin and supply more iron through the blood that will leave you with a healthy glow. It can also be applied on cuts or wounds to heal them naturally and prevent scarring.”
It is a natural and effective treatment for acne
7. Promotes hair growth
Drinking ginger juice regularly can give you long and strong hair. It may sound repulsive, because of their strong smell, but mixing onion and ginger juice and applying it to your scalp can help your hair grow thick and strong. Make sure you apply it to your scalp properly and leave it for 15 minutes to half an hour. Wash off and dry. Ginger juice conditions your hair and also increase the blood flow to the hair follicles. Moreover, the antiseptic quality of ginger can help prevent dandruff. You can even mix ginger juice with olive oil if you have dry hair. Another very popular hair mask that you can make to promote hair growth is by mixing 4 teaspoons of coconut oil, 3 crushed garlic cloves, 6 teaspoons of coconut milk, 2 teaspoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of ginger juice. Apply to your scalp and rinse after 30 minutes. The sulphur compounds in garlic along with the ginger juice aid hair growth.
Ginger improves blood circulation to the roots
Besides the health benefits of ginger juice mentioned above, you can even use it as a marinade for meat or for flavouring sauces and curries.