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Differences Between Fresh and Dried Ginger Roots

Fresh and dried ginger roots are both popular in cooking and medicinal use. While they may seem similar, they have different traits. Find out the differences and how you can add them to your diet.

A person holding a ginger root freshly harvested from the ground. 

Both fresh and dried ginger roots have their advantages in different recipes. Fresh ginger comes in two forms – young and mature. Dried ginger, meanwhile, is fresh ginger that’s soaked overnight and sun-dried for about a week. 

Young ginger has thin, pale skin and mild flavour. Mature ginger has a thicker skin, which needs to be peeled off before use, and a spicy taste profile.

Here are the differences between ginger root types and ways to include them seamlessly in your diet.

What Makes Ginger, Ginger? 

Recent studies have found that fresh ginger contains higher amounts of gingerols, and dried ginger higher in shogaols. 

Gingerols are chemical compounds that activate your tongue’s spice receptors. They come in the form of pungent yellow oil. Shogaols have a similar structure to gingerols, but only forms if you store ginger in a dry or excessively hot environment. 

More importantly, these compounds help: 

  • Reduce inflammation 
  • Reduce menstrual pain 
  • Prevent fungal infections 
  • Lower your cholesterol levels and blood sugars 
  • Lower your risk of cancer 
  • Lower your risk of stomach diseases 
  • Improve brain function and protect against Alzheimer’s disease 
  • Protect nerve cells against injury or death 
  • Protect your cells against damage caused by free radicals 

Do Fresh and Dried Ginger Root Treat the Same Problems? 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), fresh ginger is believed to have different healing properties compared to dried ginger. Both ginger types are therapeutic to the Spleen, stomach, and Lungs, but dried ginger has the added benefit of boosting Kidney health.

“Fresh ginger can get rid of Wind and Cold and stop you from coughing and vomiting. Dried ginger boosts yang energy and meridian circulation, and remove fluid overload in the Lungs.”

Real Health Medical Senior Physician Brandon Yew

Is Ginger Warming or Cooling?

A woman wrapped in a blanket sipping a beverage from a mug she holds with both hands while sitting on a sofa.
Drinking a cup of warm ginger tea can help reduce a fever. 

Interestingly, fresh ginger may reduce a fever by lowering your body temperature by facilitating the dissipation of body Heat from your skin, while dried ginger has the opposite effect of increasing body temperature by boosting yang energy internally. These characteristics make both dry and fresh ginger valuable in natural medicine.

How do You Use Fresh and Dried Ginger Roots? 

Fresh ginger and honey is a medicinal concoction that comes with a side of deliciousness. All you need to do is steep both ingredients together for up to four days. Stir the mix often, as it’ll help the ginger essence infuse in the honey.

Use it to top desserts or as a natural sweetener for teas but be sure to store it in the fridge afterwards to prevent further fermentation.

Similarly, fresh ginger is used to produce herbal remedies for a cold and flu, such as Jing Fang Bai Du San (荆防败毒散), Zhi Sou San (止嗽散), and Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San (藿香正气散). If you’re pressed for time, use pre-mixed brown sugar cubes containing mature ginger and longan.

Dried ginger tea is a simple pick-me-up that warms your body and soothes your soul. Bring water to a boil before pouring it over one heaping teaspoon (for a mild flavour) and two heaping teaspoons (for a strong flavour) of dried ginger. Let it steep for up to ten minutes.

TCM features dried ginger in formulas like Si Ni Tang (四逆汤), Gan Cao Gan Jiang Tang (甘草干姜汤) and Xiao Qing Long Tang (小青龙汤). These remedies are especially good for restoring yang energy levels and supporting the circulation of fluids and vital substances in the body.

Herbal Alternatives to Fresh and Dried Ginger Roots

Close-up of multiple galangal roots stacked on top of each other.
If you find the aroma and flavour of dried ginger to be overpowering, try replacing it with galangal root.

You may find the aroma and taste of ginger overpowering but fret not. Substituting fresh or dried ginger with other ingredients can introduce you to new taste profiles while still reaping the same health benefits. 

Fresh ginger can be replaced with spring onions (cong bai, 葱白), basil leaves (zi su ye, 紫苏叶), and Chinese Mosla (xiang ru, 香薷).

Cinnamon (rou gui, 肉桂), Evodia (wu zhu yu, 吴茱萸), cumin (xiao hui xiang, 小茴香), and galangal (gao liang jiang, 高良姜), meanwhile, are suitable alternatives to dried ginger.

Ultimately, both types of ginger offer unique health benefits. Before choosing between fresh or dried, consider their differences in therapeutic effects, potency, aroma, flavour, and texture.

Keep in mind that ginger may not be suitable for everyone. It’s best to check with a licensed TCM practitioner to determine which body constitutions pair well with ginger and its alternative ingredients.

If you would like to share your recipes that use fresh or dried ginger root, leave us a comment below.

References

  1. The Spruce Eats. 2022. What Is Ginger? [online] [Accessed 14 February 2023] 
  2. TarlaDalal.com. 2021. Dried ginger. [online] [Accessed 14 February 2023] 
  3. Botany Culture. 2020. Fresh Vs. Dried Ginger – Is One Better Than The Other? [online] [Accessed 14 February 2023] 
  4. Wikipedia. Gingerol. [online] [Accessed 14 February 2023] 
  5. Wikipedia. Shogaol. [online] [Accessed 14 February 2023] 
  6. Vahdam. 2022. Fresh Ginger Vs Powder: Which is Best for You? [online] [Accessed 14 February 2023] 
  7. Wild Roots Apothecary. 2018. The Fire of Ginger: Herbal Remedies with Ginger. [online] [Accessed 14 February 2023] 
  8. Sencha Tea Bar. How to Make Ginger Tea Even Better With 6 Recipe Variations. [online] [Accessed 14 February 2023] 

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Reviews (1)

Nov 28 2023

Like because it is informative n Chinese translation of names r given. Alternative ingredients r given as replacing ginger
Hope to get more of tis kind of remedies. Thank you very much. From patient yo yo

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