Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ginger Herbal Medicine

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is widely used in the Philippines as a spice and also an herbal medicine.

Ginger has been revered in Indian and Chinese civilizations for over 5000 years for its powerful health imparting properties. In fact, Indian ginger is said to have the most potent medicinal properties.

Ginger plants can grow to about 1 meter tall. Ginger rhizomes are the most important part and most widely used for foods and medicine. Although they grow underground, they are swollen stems, not roots like what we are thought to believe. Ginger plants also have flowers which are purple with a cream blemish based. These flowers sprout directly from the rhizomes.

Fruits - red in color. Each has three chambers containing several small black seeds. Ginger plants that are cultivated in commercial plantations don't usually bear fruit.

When cooking, ginger gives an aromatic and exquisite taste to foods. Most Filipinos drink “salabat” or ginger tea, which has been known to stimulate digestion. It also has a good effect on the circulatory system as it makes the platelets less sticky. It can also be used as mouth freshener, or when you are in a voice lesson, or a singer, ginger can help you improve your golden voice.

Other health benefits of ginger:

  • · Effective for reducing the severity of nausea even in cases of pregnancy.
  • · Ginger tea can help relieve menstrual cramps.
  • · It has anti-inflammatory properties that can lessen the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • · Can be used to treat flu and colds

· Ginger is contraindicated in people suffering from gallstones as the herb promotes the release of bile from the gallbladder.

Oregano – Not Just Adding Spice, Also a Known Medicinal Plant

Most people thought that oregano is just a spice that adds tastes to their pasta, pizza and other foods to satisfy their delicate tastes. But for me, it’s the other way around. Here in the Philippines, oregano is well known for its herbal powers. It can cure colds, headaches and other illness. It’s just this year when I discovered that oregano can be a spice to some foods. In Europe, its most widely used as spice because Europeans love pasta and pizza.

Oregano as a spice

A number of species of Oregano are native to the Mediterranean, all of which are traded as spices. Fresh Mediterranean or European oregano is sometimes available in gourmet produce sections of supermarkets and in Italian or Greek markets. Choose bright-green, fresh-looking bunches with no sign of wilting or yellowing.

Here in the Philippines, you can buy dried oreganos on the supermarkets at their spices section.

Oregano as a medicinal herb

Oreganos come from a plant family of lamiaceae, a mint family with a scientific name of origanum vulgare. They have a very aromatic warm and slightly bitter quality. They have also been known as a herbal medicine for its strong anti-oxidant properties. They are also known for their antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antiviral properties. They are also rich with vitamin A and vitamin C.

Oreganos can help prevent arthritis, heal wounds, insect bites, and insect stings. It can relieve upset stomach and can cure urinary tract problems. You can boil 1 cup of fresh oregano leaves in 3 cups of water for about 10 minutes. You can drink this concoction to cure colds. You can also drink the concoction daily for your arthritis.