Ginger is a very common food ingredient in India. It’s known as adrak(fresh ginger) and sonth(dried ginger) in Hindi. Here we look at dry ginger, the benefits, and uses of dry ginger, and a recipe for ginger powder tea.
According to the Amarakosha (an ancient Indian Sanskrit dictionary), fresh ginger is called adrak or shringavera. Dry ginger is called nagaraor vishwa bheshaj. It is cultivated throughout India.
Dry ginger powder is known by many different names throughout India. It is called sonth in Hindi, sonti in Telugu, soonth in Gujarati, suntha in Marathi and sunti in Kannada.
Dry ginger powder is extracted from dried ginger roots. It is fine in texture, off-white or slightly brownish in color, has a strong aroma, and a pungent flavor.
Dry ginger or sonth is also one of the most widely used herbs in the Ayurveda since time immemorial!
Ginger powder is very easy to store and has a long shelf life (about one year). Ginger powder or sunthi is also a key ingredient in various cuisines throughout India and Southeast Asia.
Dry ginger powder adds flavor and aroma to food. Also known as the “baker’s choice”, dry ginger powder (sunthi) has always been used for baking delicious gingerbread throughout Europe and other western countries.
Interestingly, dry ginger or sonth is also one of the most widely used herbs in the Ayurveda since time immemorial!
Detailed descriptions of using dry ginger powder(sunthi) have been found in various Ayurvedic medical texts.
See Also: What Ginger Water Can Do For You
In Kaideva Nighantu (Ayurvedic medical text), it is mentioned that sunthi is katu (pungent) in taste and ushna (hot) in potency which makes it an appetizer and digestive.
It is also an aphrodisiac, treats respiratory disorders, cough, nausea and vomiting, hiccups, constipation, and is beneficial in Vata and Pitta dosha disorders.
In Rajanighantu, it is mentioned that it is an appetizer and cardiac tonic. It treats inflammation and diseases of the throat. Adrak/wet ginger, on the other hand, is ruksha (dry) and ushna (hot) in potency.
Ginger is a well-known remedy that is useful for treating many common digestive and respiratory ailments.
Dry ginger is unctuous, hot, and has some oiliness. Dry ginger is absorbent and bowel binding and thus useful in conditions like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). It also relieves constipation.
Dry ginger is suitable for long time use without any adverse effects. However, you must check in with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner if you plan on taking ginger for its medicinal properties.
Effect of dry ginger can be seen in stomach, intestine, and at the tissue level as well.
The following are the general indications for using sunthi2.
Ginger tea is an excellent remedy for common cold, cough, and seasonal flu. It has inflammation-reducing and pain-relieving properties as well which help with conditions like joint pain, arthritis, and rheumatism.
Dry ginger is a very natural and easily available remedy for treating nausea, vomiting, motion sickness, and morning sickness. Ginger stimulates blood circulation and aids in detoxification.
Bronchitis:Boil 5 g dry ginger powder in 1 cup water. Cook till volume reduces to half. Filter and drink.
Improving Appetite: 2 g dried ginger powder taken with ghee or warm water in the morning.
Indigestion: Ginger stimulates the secretion of digestive enzymes. It also relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract. Drinking ginger tea can be very helpful for relieving excessive gas, indigestion, and flatulence. Sunthi can be taken in a dose of 2-4 g a day for treating indigestion.
Painful Menstruation: Ginger reduces pain during periods. Drink ginger tea with brown sugar.
Diabetes: Ginger lowers lipid, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels. These properties have been confirmed in various clinical studies. Ginger juice is shown to reduces serum glucose levels in animals. For diabetic patients, including ginger in their daily diet reduces the chance of kidney damage associated with diabetes.
Jaundice: Take a teaspoon of powdered dry ginger with some jaggery twice a day for better bowel movements.
Hemorrhoids: Make small balls with dry ginger powder and jaggery. Have one twice daily to reduce the mass of the hemorrhoids and easier bowel movements.
Colicky Pain: Equal parts of dry ginger, sesame seeds, and jaggery should be made into a paste. Drink with milk twice daily (SarangadharaSamhita)
Common Cold And Asthma:Ginger tea can be prepared with both fresh ginger (adrak) and dry ginger powder. Ginger tea reduces inflammation and congestion in the respiratory passage and relieves body ache associated with these respiratory conditions.
Insect Bites: The topical application dry ginger paste mixed with yogurt is effective for insect bites.
Parts Used: Rhizome (wet and dry)3
Fresh Ginger: 3-9 g or 5-10 ml juice
Dried powder- 2-5 g
Frequency of administration – To be taken 1-3 times a day
Boil all the above ingredients in a glass of water till half remains. Strain in a cup let it cool down a little. When it is ready to sip you can add 1 teaspoon of honey or even jaggery. This can be had twice or thrice a day.
Usually, herbs which are grahi (absorbent) are not useful in constipation but ginger is an exception. Usually all the herbs with pungent taste increase Vata except ginger and long pipper.
See Also: Anti-Inflammatory Ginger-Turmeric Tea
There are few conditions in which ginger is contraindicated. So, use it very cautiously.
These conditions include gallstones, acidity, peptic ulcer, and in persons with aggravated Pitta and Pitta-related disorders.
Ginger may amplify the action of blood thinners. It may cause a reaction when taken in combination with anticoagulants such as aspirin.
Ginger has strong antiplatelet (decrease platelet aggregation and inhibit thrombus formation) activity, so experts recommend it should not be used by people with blood clotting disorders.
Ginger intake should be avoided in low platelet counts. It should not be taken in excess during pregnancy as well.
Ginger oil is also known to suppress inflammation in arthritis. Sunthi has been proved to have anti-platelet aggregation property. A dose of 10 g of sunthi daily for a long period reduces platelet aggregation.
Sunthihas anti-inflammatory It is specifically used in amavata(metabolic disorders) where the predominance of ama(metabolic waste) in the pathology of arthritis is observed.
Patient receiving 3 – 7 g of powdered dry ginger daily for about 2 months showed a significant reduction in pain and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
Sunthi is considered as effective as acetylsalicylic acid in reducing carrageenin induced edema.
Dry ginger may act in a similar manner as NSAIDs which interfere with prostaglandin biosynthesis. It is found that 6- gingerol and 6-shagol have analgesic and antipyretic properties.
Sunthi also reduces platelet thromboxane synthesis. This effect is seen by the consumption of 5 g/day sunthi powder.
Dry ginger is known to have antimicrobial and antifungal activity. It is effective against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Sunthi exhibits anti-rhinovirus activity in the plaque reduction test.
Rhinovirus is the virus associated with common cold. This effect is especially due to beta-sesquiphellondrene.
Sunthi being ushna and tikshna, it should not be used in pandu (anemia), mutrakricha (dysuria) raktapitta (bleeding disorders) vrana (ulcer) jwar (pyrexia) and in the summer season and autumn.
It is to be taken with caution in pregnancy, lactation, abnormal bleeding and allergy to ginger.
Dry ginger can interact with anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen. It can also interact with aspirin, warfarin, heparin and other drugs that affect bleeding tendencies or platelet count.
Consult your primary healthcare provider and a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before using ginger. It can interact with medications and is contraindicated for certain conditions.
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