Thursday, November 27, 2008

Medicinal Power of Ginger

Ayurveda is a subject widely spoken of in Sri Lanka today. Ayur means long life, and veda means science, the science of long life. It would therefore apply to all medical systems, although it has come to mean the Eastern system only.

Sinhala medicine has a long history and probably dates as far back as the origin of the Hela or the 'Sinhalese nation itself. In the last two centuries however during foreign domination our ancient system of ayurveda might have been lost forever, but for the efforts of a devoted few who received Pirivena education.

The native physicians did not have a great variety of ready-made or prepared medicines. They had a few Guli, Kalka, Arista and Asawa, but these they used with the juice of a variety of herbs grown in their own home gardens to treat different diseases. Therefore we see that it is really the herbs in various combinations that do the good work.

Ginger is one of more common home-grown plant. Ginger is known as Mahausadi in Ayurvedic circles. Besides, it has 20 epithets when in the raw form and 24 when dry. The Dravya Guna Niganduwa, the Encyclopaedia of tropical plants and drugs used in Ayurvedic medicine describes it as acrid and digestive and, as an ingredient in medicine for costiveness, nausea, cough, colic and palpitation of the heart.

But dry ginger should not be used by those who are suffering from skin diseases, anemia, kidney complaints and high fever. A person suffering from acute diarrhea and vomiting is generally liable to catch a chill. A piece of ginger, a piece of equal size of the bark of the murunga tree and a few bulbs of garlic all crushed and rubbed on the palms and soles of the foot and also a little of it tied on to the two big toes would warm him up. For diarrhea and colic, the liquid extracted by crushing together raw ginger, Iriveriya and Undupiyali and mixed with a tablespoon of lime juice and bee's honey is good. Into this is dipped a red hot piece of iron. The dose is one tablespoon at a time three times a day. This should bring quick relief.

Dry ginger is the chief ingredient in the treatment of amoebiosis. Dry ginger, stems of Karapinchcha and Tamarind leaves, the rind of a raw lime are taken in equal quantities and roasted as for coffee. A tablespoon of this powder is mixed with a tablespoon of coffee powder and brewed in half a cup of boiling water. When cold, add bee's honey to sweeten. This should be taken three times a day for the best results.