Whether for diabetes, osteoarthritis or as a blood thinner – ginger is said to be a miracle cure for many health issues. Is it really like that?
In tea, soup, curry or candied – ginger doesn’t just play a secondary role in the diet. No wonder: the tuber gives dishes a special aroma. In addition, it is also said to have a positive effect on health .
This is due to their diverse ingredients. “Ginger has been proven to contain over 100 different substances,” says Prof. Johannes Georg Wechsler. The Munich specialist in internal medicine and nutritional medicine is President of the Federal Association of German Nutritional Medicine Doctors (BDEM).
Ginger tea: home remedy for colds
The substances are said to have an anti-inflammatory, decongestant and even pain-relieving effect. Ginger tea is a popular home remedy to cure annoying colds or coughs. The pleasant thing is the pungent substances in the tuber, which are dissolved in hot water – you quickly feel warm when you drink it. Wechsler recommends drinking a liter of ginger tea a day for eight days if you have a cold . “It is important to use boiling water in which slices of a ginger bulb are placed.”
Important: “You don’t necessarily have to peel an organically grown ginger bulb,” explains Daniela Krehl. She is a food and nutrition consultant at the Bavarian Consumer Center. The situation is different if the ginger was imported, for example from China . “In this case, the peels may contain harmful substances such as pesticides, which is why the ginger must be peeled,” says Wechsler.
Little scientific knowledge about the effect
Quite a few people swear by taking ginger to combat obesity. The tuber is said to promote fat digestion and stomach acid production. Nobody gets slim from ginger alone. “If you have cravings, it can help, for example, to chew on a piece of ginger; it reduces your appetite,” says Krehl. In addition to vitamins B and C, the yellow root also provides important minerals – it contains iron , magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium and phosphorus.
There are also many myths surrounding the plant, which have often not been scientifically proven. The plant is said to have an antispasmodic effect or to promote labor in pregnant women. “But there is no reliable scientific evidence on this,” says Wechsler.
Too much ginger is unhealthy
So are we making much ado about nothing when it comes to ginger? According to the nutritionist, it doesn’t have to be seen as negative: “Ginger has been used in medicine for 2,000 years and there are no known serious side effects,” he says. However, anyone who consumes ginger should not exceed a daily dose of four to five grams. “Otherwise, heartburn or digestive problems could result,” warns Krehl.
Ginger should also not be consumed continuously, but ideally only in phases. “The spiciness of the ingredients stimulates the stomach tremendously, which attacks the gastric mucosa,” explains Wechsler. This could lead to gastrointestinal problems in the medium term.Anyone who takes medication must also be careful. Ginger can cause unwanted interactions here. Therefore, consumers should seek advice about ginger from a doctor or pharmacy.