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Saturday, June 30, 2012


             Ginger is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale, consumed as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It lends its name to its genus and family (Zingiberaceae). Other notable members of this plant family are turmeric, cardamom, and galangal.
Ginger cultivation began in South Asia and has since spread to East Africa and the Caribbean. It is sometimes called ginger root to distinguish it from other things that share the name ginger.

Medical properties and research:

Preliminary research indicates that nine compounds found in ginger may bind to human serotonin receptors, which may explain ginger's extensive effects on the GI tract and suggesting a mechanism for its effects on anxiety.

Ginger has been found to be more effective than placebo in multiple studies for treating nausea caused by seasickness, morning sickness and chemotherapy though ginger was not found superior to placebo for pre-emptively treating post-operative nausea. These studies also show superiority of odansetron over ginger in the treatment of chemotherapy related nausea. Ginger is safe for use during pregnancy.The television program Mythbusters performed an antidotal experiment using one of their staff who suffered from severe motion sickness. Multiple treatments were administered; ginger as well as over-the-counter motion sickness aids were found to be effective over placebo.

Ginger compounds are active against a form of diarrhea which is the leading cause of infant death in developing countries. Zingerone is likely to be the active constituent against enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin-induced diarrhea.

Ginger has been claimed to decrease the pain from arthritis, though studies have been inconsistent. It may also have blood thinning and cholesterol lowering properties that may make it useful for treating heart disease.

Advanced glycation end-products are possibly associated in the development of several pathophysiologies, including diabetic cataract for which ginger was effective in preliminary studies, apparently by acting through antiglycating mechanisms.

Nutritional information:

100g of Ginger contains the following nutritional information according to the USDA:

Calories 80 g
Fat 0.75 g
Carbohydrates 17.77 g
Fibers g 2 g
Protein 1.82 g
Cholesterol 0 g

Folk medicine:

The traditional medical form of ginger historically was called Jamaica ginger; it was classified as a stimulant and carminative and used frequently for dyspepsia, gastroparesis, slow motility symptoms, constipation, and colic. It was also frequently employed to disguise the taste of medicines.

Tea brewed from ginger is a common folk remedy for colds. Ginger ale and ginger beer are also drunk as stomach settlers in countries where the beverages are made.
In Burma, ginger and a local sweetener made from palm tree juice (htan nyat) are boiled together and taken to prevent the flu.
In China, ginger is included in several traditional preparations. A drink made with sliced ginger cooked in water with brown sugar or a cola is used as a folk medicine for the common cold. "Ginger eggs" (scrambled eggs with finely diced ginger root) is a common home remedy for coughing.[citation needed] The Chinese also make a kind of dried ginger candy that is fermented in plum juice and sugared, which is also commonly consumed to suppress coughing. Ginger has also been historically used to treat inflammation, which several scientific studies support, though one arthritis trial showed ginger to be no better than a placebo or ibuprofen for treatment of osteoarthritis.
In Congo, ginger is crushed and mixed with mango tree sap to make tangawisi juice, which is considered a panacea.
In India, ginger is applied as a paste to the temples to relieve headache, and consumed when suffering from the common cold. Ginger with lemon and black salt is also used for nausea.
In Indonesia, ginger (jahe in Indonesian) is used as a herbal preparation to reduce fatigue, reducing "winds" in the blood, prevent and cure rheumatism and control poor dietary habits.
In Nepal, ginger is called aduwa, अदुवा and is widely grown and used throughout the country as a spice for vegetables, used medically to treat cold and also sometimes used to flavor tea.
In the Philippines, ginger is known as luya and is used as a throat lozenge in traditional medicine to relieve sore throat. It is also brewed into a tea known as salabat.
In the United States, ginger is used to prevent motion and morning sickness. It is recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration and is sold as an unregulated dietary supplement. Ginger water was also used to avoid heat cramps in the United States.
In Peru, ginger is sliced in hot water as an infusion for stomach aches as infusión de Kión.

Culinary use:

Ginger produces a hot, fragrant kitchen spice.

Young ginger rhizomes are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste. They are often pickled in vinegar or sherry as a snack or just cooked as an ingredient in many dishes. They can also be steeped in boiling water to make ginger tea, to which honey is often added; sliced orange or lemon fruit may also be added. Ginger can also be made into candy.

Mature ginger roots are fibrous and nearly dry. The juice from old ginger roots is extremely potent and is often used as a spice in Indian recipes, and is a quintessential ingredient of Chinese, Korean, Japanese and many South Asian cuisines for flavoring dishes such as seafood or goat meat and vegetarian cuisine.

Ginger acts as a useful food preservative.

Fresh ginger can be substituted for ground ginger at a ratio of 6 to 1, although the flavors of fresh and dried ginger are somewhat different. Powdered dry ginger root is typically used as a flavoring for recipes such as gingerbread, cookies, crackers and cakes, ginger ale, and ginger beer.

Candied ginger is the root cooked in sugar until soft, and is a type of confectionery.

Fresh ginger may be peeled before eating. For longer-term storage, the ginger can be placed in a plastic bag and refrigerated or frozen.


cumin; sometimes spelled cummin; Cuminum cyminum) is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native from the east Mediterranean to India. Its seeds (each one contained within a fruit, which is dried) are used in the cuisines of many different cultures, in both whole and ground form.


Cumin is the second most popular spice in the world after black pepper.[unreliable source?] Cumin seeds are used as a spice for their distinctive aroma, popular in Nepalese, Indian, Pakistani, North African, Middle Eastern, Sri Lankan, Cuban, northern Mexican cuisines, central Asian Uzbek cuisine, and the western Chinese cuisines of Sichuan and Xinjiang. Cumin can be found in some Dutch cheeses, such as Leyden cheese, and in some traditional breads from France. It is commonly used in traditional Brazilian cuisine. Cumin can be an ingredient in chili powder (often Texan or Mexican-style), and is found in achiote blends, adobos, sofrito, garam masala, curry powder, and bahaarat.

Cumin can be used ground or as whole seeds. Cumin was also used heavily in ancient Roman cuisine. It helps to add an earthy and warming feeling to cooking, making it a staple in certain stews and soups, as well as curries and chili.

Nutritional value:

Although cumin seeds contain a relatively large percentage of iron, extremely large quantities of cumin would need to be consumed for it to serve as a significant dietary source (see nutrition data).

1tbsp of cumin spices contains the following nutritional information according to the USDA:

Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Fibers 0.6 g
Protein 0.25 g
Carbohydrates 4.24 g
Sugars 2.25 g
Dietary 10.5 g
Fat 22.27 g
saturated 1.535 g
Protein 17.81 g
Water 8.06 g
Vitamin A 64 μg (8%)
Riboflavin(vit. B2) 0.327 mg (27%)
Niacin (vit. B3) 4.579 mg (31%)
Vitamin B6 0.435 mg (33%)
Folate (vit. B9) 10 μg (3%)
Vitamin B12 0 μg (0%)
Vitamin C 7.7 mg (9%)
Vitamin E 3.33 mg (22%)
Vitamin K 5.4 μg (5%)
Calcium 931 mg (93%)
Iron 66.36 mg (510%)
Magnesium 366 mg (103%)
Phosphorus 499 mg (71%)
Potassium 1788 mg (38%)
Sodium 168 mg (11%)
Zinc 4.8 mg (51%)
Calories 22

Black pepper

        Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately 5 millimetres (0.20 in) in diameter, dark red when fully mature, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed. Peppercorns, and the powdered pepper derived from grinding them, may be described simply as pepper, or more precisely as black pepper (cooked and dried unripe fruit), green pepper (dried unripe   fruit) and white pepper (dried ripe seeds).

            is native to India and is extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions. Currently Vietnam is the world's largest producer and exporter of pepper, producing 34% of the world's Piper nigrum crop as of 2008.

           Dried ground pepper has been used since antiquity for both its flavour and as a medicine. Black pepper is the world's most traded spice. It is one of the most common spices added to European cuisine and its descendants. The spiciness of black pepper is due to the chemical piperine. It is ubiquitous in the industrialized world, often paired with table salt.

medicine uses:

           Like many eastern spices, pepper was historically both a seasoning and a medicine. Long pepper, being stronger, was often the preferred medication, but both were used.

           Black Pepper (or perhaps long pepper) was believed to cure illness such as constipation, diarrhea, earache, gangrene, heart disease, hernia, hoarseness, indigestion, insect bites, insomnia, joint pain, liver problems, lung disease, oral abscesses, sunburn, tooth decay, and toothaches. Various sources from the 5th century onward also recommend pepper to treat eye problems, often by applying salves or poultices made with pepper directly to the eye. There is no current medical evidence that any of these treatments has any benefit; pepper applied directly to the eye would be quite uncomfortable and possibly damaging.Nevertheless, Black pepper either powdered or its decoction is widely used in traditional Indian medicine and as a home remedy for relief from sore throat, throat congestion, cough etc.

           Pepper is known to cause sneezing. Some sources say that piperine, a substance present in black pepper, irritates the nostrils, causing the sneezing;Few, if any, controlled studies have been carried out to answer the question. It has been shown that piperine can dramatically increase absorption of selenium, vitamin B, beta-carotene and curcumin as well as other nutrients.

           As a medicine, pepper appears in the Buddhist Samaññaphala Sutta, chapter five, as one of the few medicines allowed to be carried by a monk.

           Pepper contains small amounts of safrole, a mildly carcinogenic compound.Also, it is eliminated from the diet of patients having abdominal surgery and ulcers because of its irritating effect upon the intestines,being replaced by what is referred to as a bland diet. However, extracts from black pepper have been found to have antioxidant propertiesand anti-carcinogenic effects, especially when compared to chili.

          Piperine present in black pepper acts as a thermogenic compound. Piperine enhances the thermogenesis of lipid and accelerates energy metabolism in the body and also increases the serotonin and beta-endorphin production in the brain.

          Piperine and other components from black pepper may also be helpful in treating vitiligo, although when combined with UV radiation should be staggered due to the effect of light on the compound.


           Pepper gets its spicy heat mostly from the piperine compound, which is found both in the outer fruit and in the seed. Black pepper contains between 4.6% and 9.7% piperine by mass, and white pepper slightly more than that.Refined piperine, by weight, is about one percent as hot as the capsaicin in chili peppers.[citation needed] The outer fruit layer, left on black pepper, also contains important odour-contributing terpenes including pinene, sabinene, limonene, caryophyllene, and linalool, which give citrusy, woody, and floral notes. These scents are mostly missing in white pepper, which is stripped of the fruit layer. White pepper can gain some different odours (including musty notes) from its longer fermentation stage.

Pepper in Kolli Hills in India

          Pepper loses flavour and aroma through evaporation, so airtight storage helps preserve pepper's original spiciness longer. Pepper can also lose flavour when exposed to light, which can transform piperine into nearly tasteless isochavicine. Once ground, pepper's aromatics can evaporate quickly; most culinary sources recommend grinding whole peppercorns immediately before use for this reason. Handheld pepper mills or grinders, which mechanically grind or crush whole peppercorns, are used for this, sometimes instead of pepper shakers, dispensers of pre-ground pepper. Spice mills such as pepper mills were found in European kitchens as early as the 14th century, but the mortar and pestle used earlier for crushing pepper have remained a popular method for centuries after as well.