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Ginger powder is derived from dried ginger roots and is a common kitchen ingredient, called sonth in India. It lacks the pungent taste of fresh ginger and is thus commonly used as a food seasoning. If you are a fan of the earthy and sour taste of ginger powder, you must be wondering about its benefits for health.

This spice possesses medicinal properties and has long been in use in traditional and herbal medicine for the management of several conditions affecting health. To confirm this traditional use, numerous studies have been done to examine the effects of ginger powder on your health and the results have been promising.

It has been found that the supplementation of ginger powder is beneficial for individuals affected with type 2 diabetes as it helps to manage blood glucose levels. Its antioxidant properties help to reduce oxidative stress and damage and is thus helpful in reducing the risk of various diseases and disorders, which will be discussed in this article. So, let’s begin exploring this wondrous spice.

  1. Ginger powder (sonth) benefits
  2. How to make ginger powder and its uses
  3. Side effects of ginger powder (sonth)

Ginger powder has various benefits for your health, which are:

  • As an antioxidant: Ginger powder is loaded with several antioxidant compounds, which not only help to reduce the risk of chronic disorders but also help to prevent tissue injury.
  • For pain control: Ginger powder can be used for the management of pain and inflammation and yields a better response than the drug ibuprofen.
  • For arthritis: Since ginger powder aids in pain control and reduces the chances of swelling, it can be utilised in the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, which are conditions affecting the joint.
  • For diabetes: The intake of a 1 mg capsule of ginger powder helped in lowering fasting blood glucose levels and also prevented insulin resistance. It may thus be helpful in controlling diabetes.
  • For the heart: Sonth aids in the management of high cholesterol as it helps in lowering LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and increasing the levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein), which is a good type of cholesterol. By improving your lipid profile, it helps to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular disorders.
  • For the brain: Since sonth is rich in antioxidants, it can help in improving cognitive functioning and memory, especially in women. Its use is thus suggested as a brain tonic.

Ginger powder as an antioxidant

Antioxidants are substances which help to reduce oxidative stress and damage in the body caused due to the aggressive actions of free radicals. While natural foods like fruits and vegetables also contain these compounds, the anti-oxidising potential of certain herbs and spices is commendable. Ginger powder is one such spice, which is generously loaded with antioxidants having rich phytochemistry.

The antioxidant potential of this powder has been studied by both in-vitro and in-vivo studies and a significant reduction in superoxide and hydroxyl free radicals has been found. A similar antioxidant action to ascorbic acid has been determined. The antioxidant potential of ginger powder is not only effective in reducing the risk of several chronic diseases but also aids in preventing liver injury. So, it can be established that the inclusion of ginger powder in your daily diet can improve your overall health.

Ginger powder for reducing pain and inflammation

Ginger powder has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties as put forward by several research studies. It helps to reduce the synthesis of proinflammatory cytokines and thus finds its application in the management of several inflammatory disorders. The inclusion of ginger also has a protective role in reducing cytotoxicity. Due to these benefits, ginger powder is helpful in reducing muscle pain and inflammation induced by physical activity and exercise. These effects can also be helpful in reducing pain and swelling seen after a surgical procedure, which are the most common clinical symptoms following surgery. These are managed with the help of pharmacological interventions.

Studies conducted on ginger powder suggested its possible post-surgical application to manage these symptoms. It was found that the use of ginger powder yielded a better response than ibuprofen, which is conventionally used for pain control. These results were more pronounced with respect to reduction of pain. Thus, ginger powder has been suggested as a natural alternative to this drug in surgical settings. While this result is being explored, you can safely add this spice to provide a more delectable taste to your food and this will also cater to a reduction of pain. However, it is inadvisable to use this supplement without your doctor’s recommendation following a surgical procedure.

Ginger powder for diabetics

Diabetes is an elevation of blood glucose levels beyond the normal range. Since diabetes has the potential to affect almost all the systems of the body and is known to cause several complications, it is always recommended to keep blood glucose levels in check. While this may strenuous for diabetics, it must be pleasing to know that the supplementation of certain herbs and spices like ginger powder can be helpful.

Researchers have found that the consumption of ginger powder helped to lower fasting blood sugar in individuals affected with diabetes. An improvement in insulin resistance was also noticed in these individuals who further had better HbA1c results. These favourable effects on blood sugar levels were observable after a duration of 8 weeks when research participants were administered 3 ginger powder capsules each day. These capsules contained 1 mg of ginger powder and were well-tolerated by diabetics participating in this study. Yet, you need to consult your Ayurvedic doctor before using these capsules in any dosage. However, you can safely make the use of this powder as a food seasoning without much of a worry.

Ginger powder for osteoarthritis management

Osteoarthritis refers to joint pain and stiffness arising from the damage to the bony structure and cartilaginous tissue. The intensity of this pain is often severe, affecting the quality of life of those affected. Since the condition is inflammatory, an improvement in symptoms can be facilitated by the supplementation of ginger powder.

It has been demonstrated that ginger powder helps to reduce inflammatory markers in individuals affected with osteoarthritis. When compared with placebo, individuals who were receiving a daily capsule of ginger powder exhibited a reduction in symptoms. Further, a downfall in the levels of nitric oxide and C-reactive protein was observed, which are inflammatory markers. The most profound effect was noticeable in individuals with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Due to the promising results of this clinical study, researchers have recommended dosage of 1 gram per day of ginger powder in individuals affected with osteoarthritis. You can make the use of this powder is this determined dosage but are advised to consult an Ayurvedic doctor if you want to opt for capsules.

Ginger powder for rheumatoid arthritis management

The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger powder also suggest its beneficial use in the management of rheumatoid arthritis. When ginger powder supplements were administered in individuals affected by this autoimmune condition, a considerable reduction in pain, swelling and discomfort was noted. Also, it helped to reduce muscle pain and inflammation. So, the use of ginger powder as a dietary supplement has been suggested for individuals affected with rheumatoid arthritis for a variable duration of 3 months to 2 years, depending upon its effects.

Ginger powder for high cholesterol management

Cholesterol is an important substance required for the synthesis of several hormones in the body. But, too much cholesterol beyond the desirable range can have an ill-impact on your health, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disorders. While regular physical activity and dietary changes are essential to lower blood cholesterol levels, it has been ascertained that the inclusion of certain dietary supplements like ginger powder can aid in this control.

Specific evidence for ginger powder has been found with the help of clinical studies where this supplementation assisted the reduction of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and triglycerides in the blood. At the same time, ginger powder also catered to increase the levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein), which is a good type of cholesterol. When compared with placebo, significant improvement in lipid profile was evident in individuals receiving ginger powder, which indicates that it can be a helpful addition to your diet.

(Read more: High cholesterol management)

Ginger powder for the heart

It’s only understood that a food supplement which lowers cholesterol levels and manages blood sugar levels will help to lower your risk of cardiovascular disorders by modifying these risk factors.

Studies have found that the supplementation of ginger powder in the diet helps to reduce the risk of clot formation in the walls of the vessel, particularly that of the aorta and the coronary artery. This reduced the risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disorders. These effects were possible due to its lipid metabolising and fibrinolytic actions in the body. Also, the antioxidant effect of ginger powder incurs a cardioprotective role and suggest it as a healthy inclusion in your diet.

(Read more: Heart disease treatment)

Ginger powder for the brain

Ginger powder has been traditionally used as a remedy for improving brain function and memory, but, is there any recent scientific evidence to prove that? Well, sonth never seems to disappoint. The consumption of ginger powder has been evidenced to improve cognitive function and attention in middle-aged women, who have a higher risk of developing some form of cognitive impairment and dysfunction. This puts them at a greater risk of neurodegenerative disorders with advancing age.

Since ginger powder helps in improving brain function, its possible role as a brain tonic has been suggested by researchers. Although the possible mechanism of this positive relationship has not been established, it can certainly be determined that this inclusion is beneficial. This protective role can slightly be attributed to its antioxidant actions which caters to reduce oxidative damage to the brain thereby enhancing function. It may also be helpful in reducing your risk of neurodegenerative disorders.

Other benefits of ginger powder or sonth

Other than the above-described benefits, ginger powder also has some other actions, which include:

  • Prevention of cancer: Ginger has anti-proliferative and anti-tumour effects since it induces apoptosis (cell death) and aids in the arrest of the cell cycle. Actions against breast cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, liver cancer and gastric cancer have been found.
  • Antiemetic: The use of ginger powder may be helpful in the reduction of nausea and vomiting.
  • Cold sensitivity: The usage of ginger powder may help in managing excessive sensitivity towards cold.
  • Overall health: Ginger powder may help in reducing mortality and improving the overall quality of life.

Ginger powder can be prepared in the following manner:

  • Take a fresh ginger root and clean it thoroughly to remove all dirt
  • Soak it in water for a few minutes and then dry
  • Cut the ginger root into small pieces; the smaller it is, the easier it will dry
  • Now, spread the pieces on a plate and allow it to dry, whether in a room, under the sun or in a heating device
  • Next, take these dried pieces and put them in a blender to obtain a fine powder
  • Sieve the powder and let it cool
  • Store in an airtight container and use when required

You can use ginger powder as a food dressing or can even utilise it in the form of chutneys or dips. It will add a fresh taste to your food.

While you are preparing ginger powder, the method of drying you use has an impact on its nutritional profile. Studies have found that drying ginger in the shade ensures the maximum nutritional status of the powder. This is followed by a solar oven and microwave method of drying.

Although ginger powder is safe for consumption, it can have the following side effects:

  • Digestive issues like diarrhoea due to excessive consumption.
  • Since it has an anti-diabetic effect, it has the potential to lower blood sugar level below the range of normal and cause hypoglycemia.
  • Excessive usage may cause excessive menstrual bleeding in women and the safety of its use during pregnancy has not been determined.
  • It can also cause mouth and throat irritation in some.
  • Acidity and heartburn can be some other side-effects of overuse. So, it is important that you use ginger powder in safe amounts. For the exact dosage for a specific use, it is recommended to talk to your doctor.

References

  1. Nafiseh Shokri Mashhadi, Reza Ghiasvand, Gholamreza Askari, Mitra Hariri, Leila Darvishi and Mohammad Reza Mofid. Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence. 2013 Apr; 4(Suppl 1): S36–S42. PMID: 23717767
  2. Farshid Rayati, Fatemeh Hajmanouchehri, and Elnaz Najafi. Comparison of anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of Ginger powder and Ibuprofen in postsurgical pain model: A randomized, double-blind, case–control clinical trial. 2017 Jan-Feb; 14(1): 1–7. PMID: 28348610
  3. Mozaffari-Khosravi H, Talaei B, Jalali BA, Najarzadeh A, Mozayan MR. The effect of ginger powder supplementation on insulin resistance and glycemic indices in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.. 2014 Feb;22(1):9-16. PMID: 24559810
  4. Naderi Z, Mozaffari-Khosravi H, Dehghan A, Nadjarzadeh A, Huseini HF. Effect of ginger powder supplementation on nitric oxide and C-reactive protein in elderly knee osteoarthritis patients: A 12-week double-blind randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial.. 2015 Jan 28;6(3):199-203. PMID: 27419081
  5. Bode AM, Dong Z. The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 7
  6. Saenghong N, Wattanathorn J, Muchimapura S, Tongun T, Piyavhatkul N, Banchonglikitkul C, Kajsongkram T. Zingiber officinale Improves Cognitive Function of the Middle-Aged Healthy Women. 2012;2012:383062. PMID: 22235230
  7. Jintanaporn Wattanathorn, Jinatta Jittiwat, Terdthai Tongun, Supaporn Muchimapura and Kornkanok Ingkaninan. Zingiber officinale Mitigates Brain Damage and Improves Memory Impairment in Focal Cerebral Ischemic Rat. 2011; 2011: 429505. PMID: 21197427
  8. Keiichiro Sugimoto, Hiroaki Takeuchi, Kazuya Nakagawa and Yasuhiro Matsuoka. Hyperthermic Effect of Ginger (Zingiber officinale) Extract-Containing Beverage on Peripheral Skin Surface Temperature in Women. 2018; 2018: 3207623. PMID: 30402121
  9. A. Sangwan, A. Kawatra, and S. Sehgal. Nutritional composition of ginger powder prepared using various drying methods. 2014 Sep; 51(9): 2260–2262. PMID: 25190894
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