Ginger is considered both a herb and a spice. It originated in China (and I am so grateful for that), though it is consumed worldwide as medicinal and culinary ingredient. This is an interesting thing I learnt some time ago and would like to share here –
Spices usually originate from tropical climates like India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, while herbs grow in temperature regions like England, France and Italy. Makes sense, doesn’t it? No wonder we get lavendar, basil, thyme, rosemary from the European region.
Well, let’s get back to the topic. I chose to talk about Ginger today because of the onset of monsoon. Ginger is a godsend in the rainy season, and let me tell you why.
Sunshine plays a vital role in the digestive capacity of our body. Due to lack of sunshine during the monsoon, our digestive system is at its weakest. Now, you know why we observe fasts during the 4 months of rains (chaumasa) or at least fast during Shravana month (believe me it has got nothing to do with any God but the fact that it is the month that receives the highest rainfall). So, we observe fasts to rest our stomach.
But, there is one more thing that we can do during the monsoon to support our digestive system, and that is consume ginger. Ginger takes care of indigestion, heart burn and abdominal discomfort.
Here are some more benefits of ginger:
- Helps treat nausea and is useful in morning sickness and even sea sickness
- Fights fungal infections
- Eases menstrual pains
- Relieves joint and muscle pain
- Regulates blood sugar
- Lowers cholesterol
- Fights bacterial infections
How to consume ginger:
Add lots of ginger in your tea and cooking. Now in rainy season, we get fresh or new ginger which lacks in pungency and many don’t prefer it in their tea for the same reason. In that case, you can do what my mother does. She buys a big batch of ginger in the summer, just before rains start and bury it in her garden. As and when she needs it, she digs it up and uses it. You can even use dried and grounded ginger root (sooth) powder in your tea.
I add grated or thinly sliced ginger in all my lentils (dals) and grounded ginger in my gravies. It adds quite a punch.
This is something I do with new ginger in the monsoon. I cut ginger into thin julienne, add diced green chillies and throw them into a glass jar. Squeeze lemon and add salt. Shake it properly and put it in the fridge. Eat this instant pickle with your meals.
I add grated ginger to my green tea or just have grated infused in water. It does make you feel warm and cosy on a cold rainy day.
If you are suffering from gas, bloating or menstrual pain, take a big piece of ginger, sprinkle salt on it and put it in your mouth. Chew on it slowly to release its juices.
Have ginger and enjoy your monsoon!