But the spice can also help people who aren't pregnant or nauseous. Preliminary studies suggest that ginger can be useful in keeping cholesterol levels under control. Researchers have found that ginger helps kill the influenza virus, plus it helps the immune system fight infection. The plant may also lower blood pressure, and it may help ease arthritis with its anti-inflammatory properties. In a study undertaken at the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Miami, ginger extract significantly reduced pain in all 124 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. In preliminary studies at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center that were done in test tubes, powdered ginger helped kill ovarian cancer cells as effectively as traditional chemotherapy (though further testing is needed to see how that translates to its effectiveness in the human body).
Ginger has almost as may forms as it does uses. To use fresh ginger, mince or grate the stem after removing the peel. The spice is delicious in marinades, as a flavoring for seafood or tofu, or grated over sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, or winter greens. Ginger juice can be extracted from grated ginger. Dried ground ginger is most commonly used in baked goods, and crystallized ginger—ginger cooked in sugar syrup and coated with sugar crystals—is also great in recipes. Ginger's available in a pickled form, as well.
Fresh or dried, crystallized or juiced, ginger is featured in the following mouth-watering ginger recipes from the Rodale Recipe Finder. Choose one (or more) to try tonight! Your taste buds will thank you.
#1: Apricot-Ginger Buttermilk Scones. These scones made from whole grain pastry flour contain both fresh and crystallized ginger, and go great with a hot cup of tea.
#2: Ginger Tabbouleh. Traditional tabbouleh gets an Asian-inspired makeover in this bulgur-based dish. Try it as a side dish with fish or chicken.
#3: Ginger Chicken with Almonds. Ginger plays a double role here; it’s in both the marinade and the finished stir-fried dish. Alternatively, give these ginger and orange-glazed broiled chicken breasts a try.
#4: Grilled Striped Bass with Lime-Ginger Broth. The shitake mushroom sauce for this grilled fish entrée features both ginger juice and julienned ginger.
#5: Vermont Ginger Cookies. These delicious, cakey cookies are ready in just 20 minutes. Gingerbread fans should also try this classic gingerbread recipe.