Ginger / Luya Herbal Medicine

10 + Amazing Health Benefits of Ginger or Luya that You must Know.

Garlic or Ginger / Luya (Zingiber officinale L.) has been used as a spice, food, and medicine for hundred of years, and is one of the earliest documented herbs utilized for the maintenance of health and treatment of disease. Luya or ginger is claimed to have many medicinal value, from antibacterial, anti- inflamatory to anti nausea and treatment of sore throat. Let us discover how you can take advantage of the many health benefits this remarkable root crop can bring.

Ginger / Luya

Scientific name: Zingiber officinale

Also Known as:
Angay (Pamp.) kunik (Ibn.) Curcuma xanthorrhiza Naves Dilaw (Tag.) Lampuyang (P. Bis.) Dulaw (S.L. Bis.) Lawag (Sub.) Kalabaga (Bis.) Luyang-dilaw (Tag.) Kalawag (Mbo., Bis.) Pangar (Pamp.) Kalauag (Mbo., Bis.) Pangas (Pamp.) Kinamboy (Bis.) Parak (Kuy.) Kinamboi (Bis.) Salampawyan (Bag.) Kulalo (Bis.) Salampauyan (Bag.) Kulyaw (Ilk.) Turmeric Kunig (Ilk.) Yu-chin (Chin.) Long tumeric (Engl.)

Luya, Luyang Dilaw or Ginger, It is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale. It lends its name to its genus and family (Zingiberaceae). Other notable members of this plant family are turmeic, cardamom, and galangal.. Luya or Ginger has been used throughout recorded history for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

Luya, luyang dilaw or ginger is an erect, smooth plant with thickened and aromatic rootstocks. Luya or ginger has Leafy stems that are 0.4 to 1 meter high. Ginger Leaves are distichous, lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 15-25 cm long, and 2 cm wide or less. Luya scape from rootstock is erect, 15-25 cm high, covered with imbricate bracts. Calyx is 1 cm long. Corolla is greenish-yellow with a tube less than 2 cm long .

The taste of luyang dilaw or ginger is distinct, brought about by the zingerone and shogoal substances that it has, giving the plant its pungent properties. As herbal medicine, Luyang Dilaw has long been used as a cold, cough, fever, and sore throat remedy.

Ginger / Luya Medicinal Uses

Ginger / Luya in Traditional and Folkloric Medicine

luynag dilawLuya or ginger has been used as herbal medicine in many cultures for hundreds of years, Luya or ginger is claimed to have many medicinal value, from antibacterial, anti- inflamatory to anti nausea and treatment of sore throat.

Luya or ginger is popularly used for sore throat prevention and treatment. Luya is also widely used as herbal medicine to prevent or treat nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness and also being used for treatment of nausea associated in cancer chemotherapy. Luya or ginger is also used as support against inflamatory associated with arthritis and rhematisms.. Luya or ginger is also used as digestive aid for mild stomach upset, to lower cholesterol level, anti viral and anti bacterial properties and for the treatment of cancer.

Science Based Health Benefits from Ginger / Luya

Ginger / Luya Mechanism of action in disease prevention

Ginger or luya have been used since antiquity in the various traditional systems of medicine , a few of these health benefits are listed below as confirmed by evidence based studies.

Ginger is used to relieve headache, migraine and fever.

Ginger is reported in Ayurvedic and Tibb systems of medicine to be useful in neurological disorders. It is proposed that administration of ginger may exert abortive and prophylactic effects in migraine headache without any side-effects. The Journal of Ethnopharmacology (Jul 1990)

Ginger oil as antibacterial and used to treat infections.

Natural spices of garlic and ginger possess effective anti-bacterial activity against multi-drug clinical pathogens and can be used for prevention of drug resistant microbial diseases and further evaluation is necessary. Source:  Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (Aug 2012)

Ginger is a good herbal cure for cancer namely, cancer of the colon, ovary or intestines.

A study published in American Journal of Cancer Research (Sep 2013) reported that ginger root extracts containing the gingerols inhibit the growth of H. pylori CagA+ strains in vitro that is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen and a definite cause of gastric cancer in humans and this activity may also contribute to its chemopreventative effects .

Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Zingiber Officinale in Type 2 Diabetic Patients

The study oral ginger supplementation ameliorated inflammation through reduction in levels of TNF-α and hs-CRP concentrations in blood samples of the patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Regarding negligible side effects of ginger, it may be a good remedy for diabetic patients to diminish the risk of some secondary chronic complications. Source: Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin (2013 Dec)

Anti-oxidative stress effects

 The overall evaluation of one study concludes that both spices ginger and cumin have good antioxidant potential, particularly fresh ginger. Methanol extracts of all the samples were found to have better antioxidant action than the n-hexane extracts. There was also a good correlation between the total phenolic content and antioxidant activities of the non-volatile extracts. Source: Antioxidant activities, total phenolics and flavonoids content in two varieties of Malaysia young Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) Molecules. 2010

Being anti inflammatory, it has health benefits for Arthritis, Rheumatism, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, back pain and other body pains.

An experiment investigated the anti-inflammatory effect of the ginger constituent 12-dehydrogingerdione on lipopolysaccharide-stimulated Raw 264.7 cells, Results have shown that 12-DHGD treatment inhibited the LPS-stimulated increase in iNOS and COX-2 mRNA levels and  is found to be  a potent inhibitor of proinflammatory mediator production in Raw 264.7 macrophage cells. Source: Phytotherapy Research. (2013 Aug);

Anti Coagulation activity of Ginger extract: Not sufficiently established.

One clinical study published as "Effect of ginkgo and ginger on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of warfarin in healthy subjects. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2005" investigated the interaction between ginger and warfarin, This study found no significant change to patient INR when ginger was administered for seven days. This is partially corroborated by the results of a study of Wistar rats in which a proprietary ginger formulation, in combination with warfarin, had no additive effect on whole blood clotting time. 

Ginger / Luya Preparations, Usage and Side Effects

Ginger / Luya Preparation, Availability and Usage

Ginger or luya is largely used as condiment to spice food. It is best when mixed in soups where its taste may be pronounced.
Ginger or luya can be taken fresh, dried, preserved, pickled, crystalized, powdered, grounded and even candied.
Ginger or Luya is best and most potent in tincture form.
Ginger tea or Luyang dilaw tea is the more common preparation. Boil a spoonful of sliced ginger to every cup of water. Let it simmer for 10 minutes and best consumed while warm. Recommended to take 1 cup 3 times a day.

Luya or Ginger Tincture. Tincture is a more concentrated form than tea and may last longer for storage (3-6 months). Luya or ginger tincture is made by following the below steps;

  1. Prepare by chopping luya or ginger (200 grms - dried or 300 grams - fresh) for every liter of desired preparation.
  2. You may use as preparation vinegar, glycerol, distilled water or rum for alcohol based tincture (never use isopropyl, rubbing or any industrial grade alcohol)
  3. Mix the luya or ginger with your preparation in a sterilized glass jar and seal it properly.
  4. Keep the jar in a dark area for about 2 weeks, shaking the glass jar every day.
  5. Filter with cheesecloth the luya or ginger liquid and transfer the tincture in a colored glass container.
  6. Luya or ginger tincture may be taken 1 teaspoon 1- 3 times a day. diluted as tea or juice.

Luya or Ginger aromatic oil may be taken internally as mixed with foods, applied locally to affected area such as in rheumatism and arthritis or may be used as aromatic scents. Luya or ginger oil may be prepared as follows;

  1. Prepare by chopping washed luya or ginger. Then let it dry.
  2. Slightly bruise the dried luya or ginger and put it into a sterilized glass jar.
  3. Heat to warm (do not boil) light oil then pour into a sterilized glass jar, sure that the luya or ginger shreds are totally submerged. You may use olive, peanut, sunflower, safflower oil.
  4. Let it cool away from direct sunlight then seal the jar tightly with a cork or a sealing cap.
  5. Let it sit for 1 week in cool, clean place.
  6. Filter with cheesecloth the luya or ginger shreds to make the preparation a clear oil.
  7. Luya or ginger oil must be used for internal consumption within 2 months.

Where can I get Ginger or Luya?

Ginger or luya is a root crop that is largely available in the spices section of most grocery stores and supermatkets. They are also available in powdered form, ready to make tea. In some health stores and chinese herb shops, ginger tincture, tablets and capsules may be available.

Ginger / Luya Warnings and Side Effects

  • Luya or ginger consumption in food amount is generally accepted as safe even for pregnant women and children.  
  • Avoid excessive intake of ginger or use of ginger oil and tinctures when pregnant.
  • Excessive use of ginger may lead to high blood pressure and stomach irritation.
  • Ginger or luya has blood thinning property, avoid use when you are suffering from bleeding disorder.
  • Ginger may trigger allergic reactions to sensitive people.
  • If you are diabetic and is under medications, avoid excessive use of ginger. Ginger may lower your blood sugar below normal levels.

Special Warning:
Ginger or Luya may react with anticoagulant medications.

Ginger / Luya Herbal Medicine: Useful References

Auer W, Eiber A, Hertkorn E, Hoehfeld E, Koehrle U, Lorenz A, Mader F, Merx W, Otto G, Schmid-Otto B, et al. Hypertension and hyperlipidaemia: garlic helps in mild cases. Br J Clin Pract Suppl. 1990;69:3–6. [PubMed]

Avicenna A. In: Al Qanoon Fil Tib. Sharafkandi, S, translator. IV. Tehran, Iran: Soroosh Press; 1988. pp. 122–178.

Aviello G, Abenavoli L, Borrelli F, Capasso R, Izzo AA, Lembo F, Romano B, Capasso F. Garlic: empiricism or science? . Nat Prod Commun. 2009;4:1785–1796. [PubMed]

Bakhshi M, Taheri JB, Shabestari SB, Tanik A, Pahlevan R. Comparison of therapeutic effect of aqueous extract of garlic and nystatin mouthwash in denture stomatitis. Gerodontology. 2012;29:e680–684. [PubMed]

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Article last reviewed: 10.07.2016