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Herb of the month

Inguru (Ginger) - (Zingiber officinale roscoe)

There are several varieties of ginger. The variety grown in India and everywhere in Sri Lanka is used both as fresh ginger and dry ginger. In Sri Lanka, the variety used for ayurvedic purposes is that producing small bulbous roots. The same plant possesses different ayurvedic properties when it is raw and when it is dried.  Ginger is a very useful and easy plant to grow in the home garden and is then readily available to use as an ayurvedic medicine in emergencies and also to use in cooking.

Ginger has many properties and gives relief from kappa (phlegm) and vatha (wind). It improves appetite, relieves pain and soothes the nerves.  It is an ayurvedic practice to take a little ginger taken before meals with salt or sahinda lunu (potassium carbonate) to improve all three doshas - vaatha, pitha and kappa, and taken with bee’s honey or sugar as well as to prevent indigestion.

In ayurveda, ginger is used in several ways; an application on the head of ginger ground in cold water gives relief from headaches. Ginger decoctions give relief from chronic rheumatism while and iriveriya (pleetranthus Zeylanicus) boiled and taken as a drink is a cure for diarrhoea.  Ginger is also very good for children’s diseases and for amoebiosis.

It also cures catarrh, coughs, asthma, fever and swellings. Ginger and sugar crushed together and wrapped in hot ash can be used as a poultice to draw out sharp objects such as thorns.

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