What are the Different Uses of Ginger Plants?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 26 March 2020
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Ginger plants are commonly used in cooking, traditional medical treatments, and perfumery. The part of ginger plants most often used for any of these purposes is the root, a thick, knobby brown stalk. While cooks typically buy fresh, dried, or pickled ginger for use in recipes, ginger is often used in its dried form for medicinal purposes. Many people take ginger capsules or use pieces of the root to make infusions and teas. Essential oil of ginger is also available for use in aromatherapy.

As ginger has a very distinctive flavor and aroma, it is a prized cooking ingredient and plays an important role in many world cuisines. Many Eastern cuisines use ginger as a flavoring, and pickled ginger is a common condiment in Japanese cuisine. In Western countries, ginger is used in various spice cakes and bread as well as in ginger ale, ginger beer, and ginger teas. The latter two are consumed both for their flavor as well as for medicinal purposes.


Practitioners of traditional and alternative medicine use ginger plants to treat a wide variety of conditions. Ginger is particularly known for its ability to calm upset stomachs and treat nausea, which is why many people will often drink ginger ale when they have the flu or other stomach ailments. There is strong scientific evidence for the use of ginger plants in the treatment of motion sickness. Often taken in capsule form before leaving on a journey, ginger can help prevent the stomach upset associated with traveling. At the same time, ginger does not carry with it the risk of drowsiness, which is a common side effect in many over-the-counter motion sickness remedies.

Other forms of nausea and stomach upset, including the morning sickness experienced by pregnant women, may also be alleviated through the consumption of ginger. While pregnant women should always be cautious and speak to their doctors about the use of any over-the-counter or herbal supplement, there is some evidence that the moderate use of ginger may assist women in managing their nausea. Other studies have been performed on the use of ginger to treat nausea in chemotherapy patients.

Ginger is also used to treat inflammatory disorders, such as joint pain and arthritis. While ginger plants have traditionally been used for this purpose, there has not been a significant amount of scientific research on the actual efficacy of ginger on treating this kind of pain. In addition to its traditional uses in treating digestive and joint problems, some researchers are looking into its ability to improve cardiovascular health and reduce cholesterol.



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