Ginger is the underground stem of the ginger plant. India and China produce most of the ginger.

The active components of the ginger are the volatile oils and pungent phenolic compounds, such as, gingerols and shogaols. The volatile oils are of 3% and it is the gives volatile oil that the fragrance to ginger.

Ginger is mainly used as a spice in Asian and other countries. In Western countries, ginger is used only in sweet food. But in other countries, the uses are diverse, from sweets to several food preparations. Ginger tea, ginger pickles, spicy seafood or mutton, ginger ale, an aerated sweet beverage and spicier ginger beer are well known ginger products.

In India, ginger spice tea is well known and ginger is used in vegetarian as well as in non-vegetarian foods. In Tamil Nadu it is used to make a candy, called ‘inji murappa’.

Ginger root is widely used as a digestive aid for mild stomach upset and is also recommended by doctors and other health professionals to help prevent or treat nausea and vomiting pregnancy, cancer chemotherapy and motion sickness. Ginger is also a good support in inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and can even be used in heart disease or cancer.

It is safe for children over two years old because of side effects. Normally four grams per day are used for an adult. The dose is calculated for a person weighing 70 kg. Children may weigh 20 to 25 kg and the amount of ginger must be adjusted to their weight. If you want to use ginger for a child below two years old, consult your doctor always. The dose makes the poison.

Allergic reactions have been reported rarely. If you experience a side effect, talk to your doctor immediately. Here the interactions with other medicines should be taken into consideration.

What are the interactions of ginger with other medicines?

Do not use ginger if you take the following medicines:

- any heart medicine
- any medicine including insulin to control blood sugar values
- any medicines to thin the blood such as aspirin or warfarin or heparin

If you take any other medicines consult your doctor or herbal specialist.

Who should not take ginger?

You must consult your doctor before you take ginger if you have the following health problems:

- have gallstones and any other disease of the gallbladder
- have any heart problems or if you take medicines for these
- have diabetes and take medicine to control your blood sugar levels
- have blood clotting or bleeding disorders
- Do not take ginger without first consulting your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant
- Do not take ginger without first consulting your doctor if you are breastfeeding a baby

Why should not be given to children before two years?

There are no scientific studies about this and therefore, we must be careful. Your grandmother can have the fine feeling to use it from her experience with many children but, we cannot expect this from a modern lady who knows better in several other things! Remember always, the dose only makes the poison.