I enjoy using ginger for my bird’s food not just for its flavor, but for its other qualities. It has a bright, pungent aroma and taste that works so well with other ingredients.

Ginger pairs well with other flavors mainly in soups, stews and it is an excellent flavor choice for salads as well as their dressings.

What is Ginger?

Ginger is well known in Vietnam and Thailand as one of their go-to spices just as people in the west use salt and pepper. However, ginger also made its way to the United States during the Colonial period, and until the last decade or two, it was primarily used in its dried form in cookies, cakes and puddings.

Today ginger is widely available at its freshest at local grocery stores, and more and more people are using it when making salad dressings, with seafood and when making ice cream.

The rhizome or root of ginger’s botanical name as Zingiber officinale. Its taxonomical family name is Zingiberaceae, and it is closely related to turmeric and cardamom. The root is the most commonly used part of the plant.

Ginger root can be used either fresh, dried and powdered. It can be dried in its entirety and used to flavor soups and stews that require a long slow cooking process. You will find slices of pickled ginger alongside sushi and sashimi in Japanese sushi restaurants.

Ginger is an old and reliable vegetable with roots in Southeastern Asia. However, it has spread to other areas of the world. People grow it in Jamaica, India, and Indonesia as well as Australia.

In parts of the world, it is considered a medicinal food. However, some substances that are considered “medicinal” in Asia yet have not been proven to be beneficial when tested in a laboratory.

Ginger is an exception to this. It has been found to have some significant benefits that will not only work for you but your flock of parrots as well.

Health Benefits of Ginger

The active ingredient in this flavorful root is gingerol, specifically 6-gingerol. Gingerol is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that is highly effective for many physical ailments, but it’s most well known for its anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory properties. In some studies, it has been found to be more effective than some over-the-counter medications in alleviating motion sickness and seasickness.

However, where gingerol comes into play for older parrots is the anti-inflammatory properties that work against arthritis.

The US National Library of Medicine published a paper titled, “Anti-Inflammatory Effects of the Essential Oils of Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) in Experimental Rheumatoid Arthritis” and stated the following, “Consistent with these uses, potent anti-arthritic effects of gingerol-containing extracts were previously demonstrated by our laboratory using an experimental model of rheumatoid arthritis, streptococcal cell wall (SCW)-induced arthritis.”

In another paper published by the National Institute of Health titled “Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence,” it concluded, “The health-promoting perspectives of ginger are well known. It can treat a wide range of diseases via immunonutrition and anti-inflammatory responses. As a result of (the) anti-inflammatory effect of ginger, it can reduce muscle pain after intense physical activity.”

These anti-inflammatory properties were highlighted in a University of Miami study on NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. This study compared the use of highly concentrated ginger extract to a placebo in 247 subjects. The results revealed that the ginger extract reduced joint knee pain as well as stiffness by 40 percent when compared to the placebo.

There have been numerous clinical studies done on human patients who suffer discomfort from osteoarthritis. Not only did it decrease pain, but it also seems to reduce swelling. They have even been doing studies on its effect on muscle pain and have found promising results there. All in all, there seems to be a very high interest in the world of science on the medicinal effects of ginger.

How to Give Your Parrot Ginger

When preparing Chop or other foods for my flock, I always try and take color, texture and flavor into consideration. The more care I put into ensuring proper flavoring, composition and size of the dice of the vegetables, the better my African greys seem to like what I prepare. And I love seeing those tails go up with their attention entirely focused on their food while they eat.

When using ginger, I prefer to use the fresh root. It has a far better flavor and has a sturdy texture my African greys seem to savor.

I am the editor in chief of Bird Talk Magazine, a California native, journalist, vegan and the proud owner of Forest and River, two German Shephards, and a turquoise green-cheeked conure named Blue.

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