Ginger is said to have originated in Asia and is widely used in a variety of Vietnamese dishes, as well as for jam and candy.
It is thought to possess hot properties and is often mixed with garlic to warm the spleen and stomach, and to aid digestion.
Ginger is also a spice considered to have a wide variety of medicinal properties. In Oriental medicine, fresh ginger can stop a cough, help with vomiting caused by chemotherapy, lower blood pressure, and treat colds and stomach problems.
Herbalists Dinh Cong Bay and Nguyen Minh Duc recommend some recipes using ginger that can help with various ailments.
To treat stomachache, diarrhea and chills:
Dry 20g fresh ginger in a pan over a medium flame until it turns yellow. Chew and then drink hot rice-water.
To prevent low blood pressure, muscle pain, or profuse sweating:
Wash and peel a small piece of ginger, then pound and put in a glass of warm sugar water to drink.
To treat chills, fever, headache, cough, to clear a blocked nose and to help with a runny nose:
Wash and peel 20g fresh ginger and 15g spring onions, and cook with 500ml water for ten minutes. Drink while it's still hot.
Wash and peel 100g fresh ginger and 100g garlic. Slice and then place in a 500ml jar of vinegar. Cover with a lid and leave for 30 days. Drink 10ml every day after a meal.
CHOOSE YOUR SPICE
When buying ginger for the above recipes, choose one that has a good shape with smooth and shiny skin. Break a piece off to check the inside; if it is yellow and smells good, buy it. To keep ginger for periods of up to six months, line a container with a layer of wet sand, place the ginger on top and cover with more sand. Bear in mind, however, that if the sand is too dry, the ginger will dry. If the sand is too wet, the ginger will rot.
You should eat or use ginger in the morning and midday, not in the evening or later.
To help with travel sick:
Wash and pound 20g fresh ginger and mix with 100ml hot water. The beverage can be mixed with sugar or cooked sugar-cane juice.
To avoid feeling travel sick, chew some pieces of fresh ginger or drink the beverage mentioned above before boarding a train or a bus.
To help with loss of appetite or indigestion:
Grind a small piece of ginger with three citronellas and one chili. Put the mixture in a bowl. Beat an egg and put in the bowl. Whip the mixture, and season with spices. Then fry and eat. This dish also has warming properties. If you suffer from loss of appetite, eat the dish for three consecutive days.
To get rid of a fever or vomiting:
Dry one third of a bowl of glutinous rice in a pan under medium fire until it turns yellow. Crush one ginger. Cook the glutinous rice with ginger to make porridge. Serve hot at any time.
To improve blood circulation:
Crush 30g fresh ginger. Put it in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil then cool. When the water has cooled, pour onto a face towel, squeeze and then clean your body, paying particular attention to the chest and stomach areas. This remedy can also help people suffering from chronic dysentery.