For generations, home remedies have been trusted as an immediate step of action to treat any health-related problems or symptoms in children. While home remedies may be safe for your child, a few may be too potent for him to metabolize. Hence, it is always advisable to practice a home remedy that has been tested and proven effective according to scientific studies. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is one of the most commonly consumed dietary condiments in the world, used for treating numerous ailments. It is recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a food additive that is 'generally recognized as safe'.
Nutrient content in ginger
According to the Indian Food Composition Tables, 2017, fresh ginger contains 81.3% moisture, 2.2% protein, 0.9% fat, 1.2% minerals, 5.4% fibre and 9% carbohydrates. The minerals significantly present in ginger are potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and iron. It also contains vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, vitamin A and C. The nutrient composition of ginger varies with its variety (fresh or dry), agronomic conditions, processing, cooking and storage conditions.
Scientific studies indicate that the following health benefits can be attributed to ginger and its constituents.
Video: DIY home-made ginger kashayam for indigestion
Ginger promotes secretion of saliva and gastric juices improving your child’s appetite and digestion. The active components present in ginger stimulate digestion and absorption. They relieve constipation and flatulence by increasing muscular activity in the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract. Ginger is an anti-emetic agent (prevents nausea and vomiting), and is especially useful during travel sickness in children. Ginger can treat eating disorders in your child by having a positive impact on food intake and nutrient metabolism.
Ginger has strong antibacterial and, to some extent, antifungal properties too. In vitro studies have shown that active constituents of ginger inhibit the multiplication of harmful bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococci, Streptococci and Salmonella.
To read all about the benefits of curry leaves, click here.
Cardiovascular and respiratory effects
Ginger is a strong circulatory stimulant. It causes a stimulatory effect on the heart muscle by diluting blood and improving blood circulation. The improved circulation is believed to increase the cellular metabolic activity, thus contributing to its anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic (relief of muscle cramps) effects. It also protects against respiratory infections. When the first signs of flu start to appear in your child, a hot cup of ginger infused drink (tea or herbal infusion) can help clear nasal congestion and also stimulate the liver to remove toxins from the bloodstream. Ginger is an antiseptic expectorant that relieves your child from coughs.
Combining ginger with other herbs/spices
Ginger can be combined with other herbs and spices in your child’s meal in correct proportions. As most of our native culinary herbs and spices have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial activities, when they are combined with ginger, your child may acquire a synergistic effect. The only interaction mentioned in most scientific studies is that ginger should not be combined with blood thinning medications (anti-coagulants).
Though ginger is a commonly used dietary component, the average daily recommended dosage for children is still argumentative. The University of Maryland Medical Center advises that ginger should not be used by children under 2 years of age. For children over 2 years of age, ginger can be used to treat nausea, digestive cramping and headaches. High doses of ginger may cause mild heartburn, diarrhoea, and irritation of the mouth. Overall, ginger is considered to be a safe herbal remedy with only a few adverse/side effects, which can be managed when consumed in lower doses. Including ginger in your child’s daily diet will certainly be a healthy plan of action to prevent inflammatory and digestive disorders. Try this time-tested, home-brewed drink the next time your child catches a cold:
Ginger kashayam recipe
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon powdered black pepper
½ teaspoon brown sugar (demerara) or honey
Chop ginger into small pieces. Grind along with pepper powder and a little water.
If you are using brown sugar, add it to a cup of water along with the paste and boil for 5 minutes.
Turn off heat and allow it to steep for 10 minutes.
Strain, add the honey (if you are using it) and serve.
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