Ginger or Zinziber officinale belonging to Zinziberaceae family commonly known as Adrak is a daily used spice for a small symptom like indigestion, dysmennorhoea to motion sickness. Its name ‘ vishwabheshaj ‘ or ‘ vishwaaushadha ‘ in sanskrit explains its usefullness, meaning medicine which is helpful in almost all diseases. Ginger is mainly used in two forms fresh form and dry form; the prior is commonly known as ‘Adrak’ in hindi and the later is called ‘ Sounth ‘ in hindi and ‘ Suntha ‘ in marathi. Here we shall discuss medicinal uses of both the forms of ginger.
Part used : The rhizome of the plant is used for medicinal purposes.
Fresh ginger :
A piece of fresh ginger is either chewed or just held in mouth,or taken with sugar in cases of nausea or vomitting. In agnimandya, anorexia & indigestion small piece of ginger with salt & lime is chewed just before meals. Motion sickness, a common symptom during travelling can be treated with a ginger piece & lime juice or a preparation known as ‘Ardrak paak’ made with sugar,clove,cardamom & grated ginger. In cough & cold a tsp of ginger juice is taken with honey, it relieves the congested cough, as well gives comfort in irritation of throat. Ginger tea gives good relief in cold, cough, headache & congestion.It is also used in abdominal pain, bloating of stomach. Ginger stimulates heart thereby increases circulation and thus strengthens heart muscles & controls related diseases.
Dry ginger (Shunthi):
When applied externally shunthi decreases coldness of the body, swelling & also relieves pain, hence a thin paste is applied on swollen joints in arthritis. During cough and cold along with headache shunti is applied along with water/milk on forehead. In cases of excessive sweating shunthi powder is rubbed over the specific body part.
Shunthi when used internally, due to its hot potency and pungent taste helps in improving the digestive fire and aampachan, so used in diarrhoea, fever, & rheumatoid arthritis (Aamvata). Shunthi is used with different medicines for different symptoms –
- Shunthi + Deodar (decoction) – Fever.
- Shunthi + Guduchi (decoction) – Saam vata at joints.
- Shunthi + Gokshur (decoction) – Decreases joint pain in arthritis.
- Shunthi + Castor oil seeds + sugar (decoction) – Aamvata.
- Shunthi + Castor oil seeds + Asofoetida + sauvarchal salt (decoction) – decreases pain.
- Shunthi + Haritaki (decoction)/black salt and honey – Anorexia. Anorexia is a condition where an individual has lack or loss of appetite for food.
- Shunthi + Fresh buttermilk – Piles.
- Shunthi + oil + honey – Hoarsness of voice.
- Shunthi + oil + jaggery – Dry cough.
- Shunthi + Vidang – worms.
It is also used in asthma, bloating of stomach & abdominal pain. It stimulates circulatory system , nervous system & increases blood circulation thus relieving pain; and treating swelling, urticaria & weakened heart. Burnt black shunthi powder is used in bloating.
Shunthi is a good Aphrodisiac it is given in the post delivery period known as ‘ soubhagya shunthi paak ‘ to avoid vitiation of vata and also increases strength.
Due to excessive hot nature of ginger, fresh ginger should not be used in hot climate, high fever, bleeding disorders, urinary complaints. Excess use of fresh ginger may cause retrosternal burning in some individuals.
Medicinal preparations :
Panchasama churna, samasharkara churna, soubhagya shunthipaak, vyoshadi ghrit, ardrak khanda, etc.