‘Zanjabeel’, زنجبيل in Arabic, is the spicy-sweet warming flavour of ginger – a Quranic reference to Heavenly drinks and hardcore health improvement.
The Qur’an mentions ginger as one of the drinks of Paradise. The modern name, “ginger,” comes from the Arabic root, “zindshebil,” and as centuries have passed, we have discovered the amazing and miraculous healing properties ginger offers.
The use of ginger by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) as well as the many medical discoveries dating back to ancient times justifiably places ginger in the noble ranks of “heavenly herbs.”
‘Zanjabeel’, زنجبيل in Arabic, is the bitter, sweet and warming flavour of ginger – a Quranic reference to Heavenly drinks and hardcore health improvement. Zanjabeel, is said to have been derived from the Sanskrit word of Sringeber, and is a very old medicinal plant that grows underground. Botanically, it is known as zingiber officinale.
GINGER IN THE QURAN
Allah says ginger will be one of the drinks that will refresh the believers in paradise:
And they will be given to drink there of a cup mixed with Zanjabil (ginger). (Qur’an, 76:17)
وَيُسْقَوْنَ فِيهَا كَأْساً كَانَ مِزَاجُهَا زَنجَبِيلاً
EATING GINGER IS A SUNNAH
During the time of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the Byzantine Emperor sent a jar of pickled ginger to the Prophet ﷺ as a gift. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ ate from it and gave a piece to each of his Companions.
Many of the health benefits of ginger were also recorded in the book, The Prophetic Medicine by Ibn Qayyim El-Jawziyyah.
A RICH HISTORY
Thirteenth-century exegesis of the Qur’an (Tafseer Mazhari) states that the Arabs had a great liking for ginger and they used it as medicine and as a drink. Ginger has been grown and utilized since ancient times in India where physicians considered ginger to be an important medicine. Ginger was given names by those of that time period such as the “Great remedy” and “Panacea”, meaning a solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases.
Ginger was a valuable article of trade used during medieval times and the Renaissance, and considered a close second to the black peppercorn. In the Middle ages, it was said that one pound of ginger was equal to that of an entire sheep! This spice was loved so much in Europe that it was a common staple and had it’s place beside the salt and pepper at the dinner table.
GINGER AS MEDICINE
It was reported that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said,
“Allah has sent down both the disease and the cure, and He has appointed a cure for every disease, so treat yourselves medically, but use nothing unlawful.” (Abu Dawud)
Ginger has been a valued spice in many parts of the world, since before recorded history, and was later recorded in Sanskrit, Chinese, Greek, Roman, and Arabic medical literature, was recommended by Hippocrates in cooking to calm and benefit the stomach and is popular in Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine.
Ginger is one of the best known treatments and is the classic medicine for dealing with many digestive disorders. Ginger promotes Haraarate Gharazi (digestive and metabolic fire), which promotes digestive heat burning toxins, removes and lowers cholesterol deposits, as well as boosts the metabolism.
Ginger contains special enzymes responsible for catalyzing the proteins in your food, thus aids the digestion process and prevents cramps, this explains why ancient Greeks used to eat ginger after a large meal. Ginger is also particularly helpful when suffering from constipation.
Nausea and vomiting can be a problem when travelling (motion or seasickness), morning sickness during pregnancy, or while undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Ginger is known to relax and soothe the intestinal tract and alleviates symptoms of gastrointestinal stress.
In a study that measured it’s effectiveness as an anti-emetic (to stop vomiting) Ginger was put up against Dramamine, the most commonly used over the counter medication for motion-induced nausea. Ginger was not only more effective than the drug, but also showed no side effects compared to the drug.
FOOD FOR THE BRAIN
As a mood enhancer, ginger’s cineole content may help contribute to stress relief and it is said that dried ginger may improve poor memory (using 1 gram and powder in warm milk).
Research shows that ginger can reverse the damaging side effects (headaches, migraines, eye damage, fatigue, drowsiness, depression, numbness, muscle spasms, nausea, rashes, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, etc) that Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), a common food additive, has on vital dopamine, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters responsible for proper brain function.
- For Muscles and Joints
Ginger warms and comforts the body, increases blood flow to cleanse toxins and promotes healing. A ginger bath accompanied by ginger tea is a good remedy for arthritis, rheumatism, osteoporosis, and gout.
- Conquering Colds and Flu
Due to the mizaj (hot mixture) of ginger, and the plants’ anti-viral, anti-toxic, and anti-fungal properties, it is an excellent defender in any cold or phlegmatic condition, whether a cold or flu.
|Whole, ground, crystallised: the various forms of ginger|
Ginger promotes heat, reduces fevers, induces sweating and destroys germs and poisons. The intake of ginger helps stimulate the secretion of mucus, quiets coughs and soothes any scratchiness in the throat when taken as a decoction or tea.
- Good for the Heart
Ginger is an excellent stimulating medicine for circulation and heart conditions. Not only does it improve the quality of the contraction by preventing blood-clots from forming, but it also reduces the risk of clogged or hardened arteries because it helps to relax muscles around the blood vessels.
Since ginger lowers cholesterol, stabilizes blood pressure and heart functions, helps to prevent clotting, it can greatly reduce the risk of heart attacks, heart disease, and strokes.
Recent studies show that ginger might also have a role in lowering LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol that comes from saturated and trans fats) because the spice can help reduce the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed, that overall creates a happier heart.
- Natural Pain Relief
Ginger is a natural pain reliever so it can reduce toothaches and discomfort from infection in the upper respiratory tract, making it very useful for pneumonia patients.
Ginger is a popular remedy for soothing fibromyalgia pain as well as pain related to bruised or pulled muscles, as ginger is a natural aspirin minus the side effects. An herbal bath is most effective.
- For Relief during Pregnancy
Midwives usually advise their patients to put generous portions of ginger in their food as it helps to stimulate blood circulation and ‘warms’ up the body. It is a Chinese belief that ginger is a vital aid for new mothers on their ‘road to recovery’ after childbirth.
Interestingly, the spice also has a natural liking for the uterus, supported by a study performed at Aga Khan University Medical College. Ginger was shown to possess uterine smooth muscle relaxant activity, which can be helpful for those who suffer from painful cramping and uterine and menstrual spasms.
Prophetic medicine says to use ginger, lemon, and salt to neutralize the harmful effects of grease when cooking. It is also said that cooking with ginger removes bacteria from meat. Since ginger contains Vitamin C, zinc, and magnesium it is an excellent addition in many dishes and is perfect when combined with garlic.
Fresh ginger is an essential ingredient in Asian cooking, especially for meat curries and soups. Ginger can be pickled and made into chutneys, while tender young ginger can be eaten as a salad. Ginger can also be candied with sugar or sliced thinly and pickled. Powdered ginger is a great addition for cakes, sweets and drinks.
Like most spices, ginger must be used in moderation or else it gives an overpowering taste. In Malay cooking, the amount of ginger used in a dish is usually described as being ‘as big as a thumb’.
THANKING ALLAH FOR GINGER
All praise belongs to Allah Almighty for His wonderful creations! While ginger has many notable medicinal properties that contribute to the total health and wellness, the reward for believers in paradise far exceeds the earthly gains we receive. While preparing our teas and recipes, let us take time to stop and say Bismillah (with the name of God) and consider the fountains of water laced with pure ginger, along with all heavenly foods that Allah has so graciously promised believers in Jannah.