The Health Benefits of Ginger PLUS A Ginger Latte Recipe

Words: Dumi Mparutsa

Everyone goes on about the health benefits of ginger and with good reason. It’s a miracle root that has many body boosting benefits, as well as tasting good too. It can be quite a polarising flavour though; as a kid, I neither hated nor loved it – I was always kind of on the fence, never picking a side nor trusting it. My first memories of the stuff were ginger biscuits, which always had a strong, somewhat overpowering spicy kick to them that I wasn’t sure about, yet adding ginger to tea with honey and lemon made it delicious.

It wasn’t until three years ago that I started to really engage, appreciate and grow my own weird relationship with it. Now, I happily put in my tea, chew it in the morning and rave about its health properties whenever the chance arises. Let’s explore the origins of ginger, discover its health benefits and find out why so many people across the globe love it.

The Plant 

Ginger is a flowering plant that grows above and below ground. The focus here is what happens below the ground though, as the flowering plant produces an important rhizome (modified vegetable stem) that contains numerous health properties. Ginger root, or ginger, as it is commonly known, made its first appearance in a tropical rain forest in Southern Asia. Initially, the root was used for medicinal purposes treating people with ailments such as chronic inflammation.

The Spice Route 

Ginger rose to popularity when it was ground, (one of its many forms) and used as a spice. Back in the day, prior to refrigeration, spice was a commodity with enormous value, as it provided those people who acquired it, the opportunity to cure/preserve their meat during that time.

It was traded alongside precious metals like gold, silver and copper. Traders travelling along the Spice Route ensured that ginger would make its way to Europe, via India, the Spice Garden, as well as the Middle East.

Health Benefits of Ginger

Today, we still tend use ginger for medicinal purposes particularly during winter, a.k.a flu season, as its active ingredient, gingerol, aids the recovery process by speeding it up and it helps boost the immune system once it gets to work. It is also great natural way to help with nausea and acts as an anti-inflammatory as well. If you’re feeling under the weather you should try one of these warm drinks to help you beat the cold.

Peppermint Tea Hot Toddy With Ginger

A refreshing take on the classic hot toddy. Switch out your normal tea bag for a peppermint flavoured one. It adds a different flavour and the combination of honey, lemon and ginger compliment, as well as enhance the flavour of the whiskey. Drinking a mug of this is like getting a warm bear hug from a best friend that you haven’t seen in a long time.

Lemon Ginger Detox Drink

Lemons, like ginger, are known to have numerous healing properties. Those properties are more potent if the entire lemon is used though, as there is more Vitamin C found in the lemon peel than in the juice. GET THE RECIPE

Ginger Tea Latte

This works really well to warm you up from the inside out. Infuse milk (or a vegan alternative with heaps of ginger and spices to sip on during those nippy winter days. GET THE RECIPE

Ginger for Cooking

The multi-purpose root comes in various forms and with its change in form, it brings a different dynamic to a dish wish where the flavour can enhance and add depth.

It has maintained its popularity in the kitchen where it used for the earthy and spicy flavour it adds to a dish. You simply can’t make a good curry without a base of fresh ginger, it’s an integral part of Asian cooking (like in this Sticky Honey Soy and Ginger Pork) and lends itself well to sweet dishes as well, like in this Custard Delice.

Depending on how extensive your search is, you’ll be able to find ginger at most grocery stores in your area, in six different forms namely, fresh, crystallised, dried, ground, preserved and pickled.

Once you’ve found some ginger in your preferred form, there are a lot of delicious things you can make with it, think warm beverages and hearty meals to help keep you and your loved ones keep warm and fight the flu during this winter. Here are some of our favourite recipes to try.

French Toast and Ginger Relish Recipe

French toast with a bit of facelift courtesy of our savoury yet delicious tomato and ginger relish. GET THE RECIPE

Sticky Ginger Chicken

Crispy chicken coated in a ginger sauce so sweet and sticky that you’ll want to keep this all to yourself. GET THE RECIPE

Baked Plums with Spiced Ginger Biscuit Crumble

What better way to end a dinner with a dessert that’s light, refreshing and fruity. GET THE RECIPE

Chilled and Fresh Ginger Soup

Treat your guests to a lovely first course packed full of flavour. GET THE RECIPE

Check out this list of other warming winter spices to help get you through the rest of this season.

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