Updated: May 27, 2020
Bring the sunshine in with Ginger
English Name: Ginger
Sanskrit Name: Shunti (dry)/ Adraka (fresh)
Botanical name – Zingiber officinale
Bring the sun inside after Winter
As our environment turns gradually wetter and we retain the cold from the last six months of exposure, our internal systems (unless you are a naturally a hot pitta type) will be craving the hot, dry pungency of ginger come March.
An Ayurvedic pantry staple
In the Ayurvedic kitchen, Adraka/Sunti (fresh/dried ginger powder) is a culinary staple. Not only does it taste great but it has a host of medicinal benefits from boosting digestion to preventing and relieving coughs and colds. Ginger is perfect for helping to shed pounds and fight germs come spring.
Adraka is used primarily in digestive disorders as it regulates digestion and bowel habits by increasing the secretion of digestive enzymes and reducing gas formation. It is also excellent for relieving nausea and premature fullness.
As a good anti-inflammatory, shunti also helps with pain, including that of ama vata. When combined with castor oil and applied as a paste, ginger can help those with swollen joints find relief.
This one you may already know if your mum gave you lemon and ginger when you were small! Ginger is also good for fevers (jvara) with chills, why? It digests ama (toxins), supports the immune system and and restores a feeling of warmth.
Good news if you want to get into the mood too, ginger is an aphrodisiac and sexual stimulant and an all-round general body tonic. Ginger beer anyone?
Taste (Rasa): Pungent (Katu), Bitter (tikta)
Qualities (Guna): Light (Laghu), Dry (ruksa), Sharp (tiksna)
Virya (Potency): Moderately hot (a'nusnasita)
Vipaka (Post-digestive effect): Sweet (madhura)
Dosha: Pacifies vata (air/space) and kapha (earth/water) dosha
- Increases appetite (Deepaniya and trptghna)
- Reduces toxic load (Pacaniya))
- Reduces indigestion (Ajirnaghna)
- Reduces coughs and wheezing (svasakasahara)
- prevents and reduces nausea and vomiting (chardihara)
- supports management of rheumatoid (amavatahara)
- aphorodisiac (vajikarana)
- reduces fevers (jvaraghna)
Scientific actions – Anti-inflammatory, carminative, diuretic, anti-flatulent, laxative, stimulates blood flow, febrifuge
Contraindications/when not to use ginger
- Weakness of the body
- Dysuria (difficulty urinating)
- Pyrexia (very high fevers)
- Peptic ulcer
Where can I add ginger to my diet?
Start the day with a little sun
Ginger can be added to breakfasts including porridge (even better with cinnamon and cardamom too) for a sweet Indian style start to the day. If you prefer savoury, try making a rice flake porridge with ginger, coriander, cumin and fennel. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves for more kapha pacifying benefits, asafoetida for vata and a dollop of coconut yoghurt for pitta.
Not everyone loves ginger tea straight up so have it with lemon or even try ginger in your milky tea before you add milk, its actually really delicious and feels a bit like having a gingerbread latte :)
Pack a punch and get toasty
If you kapha or vata prakriti/vikriti adding ginger to your lunch and dinner when you can is a great way to stay warm and keep up your agni. I find if I eat cold things like salad adding ginger to my dressing is a great way to restore some warmth. Using ginger and garlic as a base for curries, soups and sauces is great idea too.
Awesome Ginger Recipes