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Sonth: Uses, Benefits and Side effects by Dr. Smita Barode

By Dr Smita Barode +2 more

Introduction: 

We often see our grandmother recommending us to have sonth when we fall sick. Mainly during the cough and cold, we will have tea prepared with sonth. Sonth is nothing but dried ginger. The scientific name of ginger is Zingiber officinale and it belongs to the family Zingiberaceae. Ginger is a large tuberous perennial plant available in almost all tropical and subtropical nations. Ginger is collected in December or January when the plants have finished flowering and are withered. After removing rhizomes, aerial stems, fibrous roots and buds were removed. The rhizome is thoroughly washed in running water to remove clay and the rhizome is peeled on a flat surface and between the fingers. Ginger is the primary seasoning ingredient and contains essential oils which enhance the taste. Further, it is used as a seasoning agent in confectionery, soft drinks and beverages. It is also used in pharmaceutical preparations because it is known to have medicinal properties.1,2 Let us look at some of the health benefits of sonth. 

Nutritional Value of Sonth: 

The nutritional value of shade-dried ginger is: 

sonth

Nutritional Component Value 
Moisture 3.7% 
Crude Fibre 5.4% 
Protein 5.8% 
Fat 0.9% 
Ascorbic acid 3.8 mg/100 g 
β-carotene 0.81 mg/100 g 
Copper 0.75 mg/100 g 
Calcium 69.2 mg/100 g 
Iron 1.8 mg/100 g 

Table 1: Nutritional Value of Sonth2 

Properties of Sonth: 

Several studies have shown that sonth may have the following properties: 

  • It may act as an antimicrobial agent.3 
  • It may act as an anticancer agent.4 
  • It may be an antioxidant.4 
  • It may reduce inflammation.5 
  • It may lower blood sugar levels.6 
  • It may reduce headaches.7 
  • It may relieve cough.8 
  • It may decrease pain.9 

Potential Uses of Sonth for Overall Health 

I highly recommend the consumption of sonth in case of a blocked nose. Sonth might be your ally in aiding sinusitis causing a blocked nose. According to studies, sonth may be administered using fumigation to eliminate germs, bacteria and viruses from the sinus area and relieve the inflammation and clear the blockage to facilitate proper breathing through the nose.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Some of the potential uses of sonth are: 

1. Potential use of sonth for bacterial infections 

A study by Malu et al. in 2008 showed that sonth may be used against bacteria. The study was conducted on bacteria like bacillus, staphylococcus epidermidis and streptococcus viridans. Bioactive compounds in sonth, like sesquiterpenoids and zingiberene, may inhibit the growth of bacteria.3 However, further studies are required to check if sonth can be beneficial against bacterial infections. Therefore, you must consult your doctor in case of bacterial infections. 

2. Potential use of sonth for cancer 

A study by Sakulnarmrat et al. in 2015 showed that sonth might be beneficial in the case of stomach, colon and breast cancer. Sonth may contain several bioactive compounds like shogaols and gingerol (Phenolic compounds), which may induce apoptosis (kill the cancer-causing cells).4 Cancer is a dangerous disease and you must consult your doctor if you suspect any symptoms of cancer instead of self-medicating. 

3. Potential use of sonth as an antioxidant 

A study by Sakulnarmrat et al. in 2015 showed that sonth might have antioxidant potential due to bioactive compounds like gingerol and shogaol (Phenols). It may deactivate the free radicals (harmful molecules present in the body) and protect them from various damages.4 Further studies are required to check the antioxidant activity of sonth. 

4. Potential use of sonth for stomach disorders 

A study by Zhang et al. in 2020 showed that bioactive compounds like gingerol in sonth might help in the case of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Gingerol may inhibit the release of inflammatory mediators (molecules responsible for inflammation) and reduce pain caused during IBD.5 However, further studies are required to check if sonth may be helpful for stomach disorders. Therefore, you must consult your doctor if you experience pain or any discomfort in your stomach. 

5. Potential use of sonth for lowering blood glucose levels 

A study by Roufogalis et al. in 2014 showed that sonth might be used in the case of type 2 diabetes due to bioactive compounds like gingerol. This bioactive compound may control lipids and blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. It may additionally lower blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance.6 However, further studies are required to check if sonth can be beneficial in the case of diabetes. Therefore, you must check your blood sugar levels regularly and consult your doctor in case of abnormal blood glucose levels. 

6. Potential use of sonth for headache 

A study by Helli et al. in 2022 showed that sonth could be used for headaches during migraines. Sonth may reduce the severity and duration of headaches during migraines.7 However, further studies are required to check if sonth benefits headaches. Therefore, you must consult your doctor if you have a severe headache for a prolonged period. 

7. Potential use of sonth for cough 

A study by Bera et al. in 2016 on a guinea pig showed that polysaccharides present in sonth might be responsible for reducing cough. A decoction of hot water and ginger powder may be used as a herbal remedy for cough.8 However, further studies on humans are required to confirm if sonth is beneficial in case of cough. Therefore, you must consult your doctor if you have a cough for a prolonged period.  

8. Potential use of sonth for reducing pain and inflammation 

 A study by Pagani et al. in 2020 showed that sonth might have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (reducing pain) activity. Sonth may inhibit the release of inflammatory mediators (molecules responsible for inflammation and reducing pain). However, further studies are required to check if sonth may help relieve pain and inflammation. Therefore, you must consult your doctor if you suspect inflammation or feel pain for a prolonged period. 

Though studies show the benefits of sonth in different conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of sonth on human health. 

From the trunk of Ayurveda, Sonth is nothing short of a magical product that may work wonders by slowing down the ageing process with its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immunity-boosting properties. Cheers to a youthful and vibrant life with the power of sonth!

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

How to Use Sonth? 

Sonth can be prepared in the following way: 

  • Rhizomes of ginger are thoroughly washed and the roots are removed. 
  • Rhizome preparation for drying includes either peeling, splitting or slicing. Preparation involves submerging whole coated rhizomes in boiling water for approximately ten minutes before drying. This is how black ginger is prepared. 
  • Rhizomes lose 60–70 per cent of their weight in moisture during sun drying, resulting in a final moisture content of 7–12 per cent. 10 

You must consult a doctor before taking sonth in large quantities or any herbal supplements. Likewise, do not discontinue or replace an ongoing modern medical treatment with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor. 

Side Effects of Sonth: 

The side effects of sonth, according to the case study by Shetty et al. in 2005, are: 

  • It may cause gastrointestinal discomfort. 
  • It may cause nausea. 
  • It may cause an upset in the stomach.11 

If you notice any reaction after consuming sonth, seek immediate medical attention. First, consult your ayurvedic physician who has prescribed it to you; they will be able to identify the cause and treat it effectively. 

Also Read: Is Ginger Ale Good For You? Evaluating Health Facts and Myths

Precautions to Take with Sonth: 

The following precautions can be taken before consuming sonth: 

General precautions should be taken while having sonth as any other general medicine. Pregnant women and lactating mothers should take special care. You must consult your doctor before having sonth. Precaution should be taken before giving sonth to the elderly or children. In such cases, you must have sonth only if your doctor prescribes it. 

Also Read: Why Does My Poop Smell So Bad? Unpacking Digestive Health Concerns

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

There is not enough scientific information about the interactions of sonth with other medicines. However, people should not assume that there are no interactions at all. Therefore, it is always better to follow the advice of an Ayurvedic doctor. They will prescribe you the best way to take it as a herb. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

How to make sonth from ginger? 

Sonth can be prepared from ginger in the following ways. Rhizomes of ginger are thoroughly washed and the roots are removed. Rhizome preparation for drying includes either peeling, splitting or slicing. Preparation involves submerging whole coated rhizomes in boiling water for approximately ten minutes before drying. This is how black ginger is prepared. Rhizomes lose 60–70 per cent of their weight in moisture during sun drying, resulting in a final moisture content of 7–12 per cent. 10 

What are the health benefits of sonth ginger powder? 

Sonth can be used as an antioxidant. It may be used against bacterial infections, stomach disorders, headaches and coughs. It can kill and inhibit the growth of cancer-causing cells. Additionally, sonth may reduce pain and inflammation. It may also lower blood glucose levels.3-9 However, you must consult your doctor if you have any symptoms of the mentioned conditions instead of self-medicating. 

What are the side effects of sonth? 

Sonth may cause gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea and upset stomach (dyspepsia)11 If you notice any reaction to consuming sonth, seek immediate medical attention.  

Which bioactive compounds are present in sonth? 

Sonth may contain bioactive compounds like polyphenols, ascorbic acid, zingiberene, sesquiterpenoids, shogaols, gingerol and many more.2-4 

How is sonth beneficial in the case of diabetes? 

Sonth may lower blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance.6 However, you must check your blood sugar levels regularly and consult your doctor in case of abnormal blood glucose levels. 

Disclaimer: The information included on this website is for educational purposes and is not intended to be an alternative for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. For the unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to confirm the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation. 

References: 

  1. Sharma Y. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)-an elixir of life a review. The Pharma Innovation. 2017 Nov 1;6(11, Part A):22. Available from: https://www.thepharmajournal.com/archives/2017/vol6issue11/PartA/6-10-50-234.pdf 
  1. Sangwan A, Kawatra A, Sehgal S. Nutritional composition of the ginger powder prepared using various drying methods. Journal of Food Science and Technology. 2014 Sep;51(9):2260-2. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4152547/ 
  1. Malu SP, Obochi GO, Tawo EN, Nyong BE. Antibacterial activity and medicinal properties of ginger (Zingiber officinale). Global Journal of pure and applied Sciences. 2009;15(3-4). Available from: https://www.ajol.info/index.php/gjpas/article/download/48561/34914 
  1. Sakulnarmrat K, Srzednicki G, Konczak I. Antioxidant, enzyme inhibitory and antiproliferative activity of polyphenolic‐rich fraction of commercial dry ginger powder. International Journal of Food Science & Technology. 2015 Oct;50(10):2229-35. Available from: https://ifst.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ijfs.12889 
  1. Zhang C, Huang Y, Li P, Chen X, Liu F, Hou Q. Ginger relieves intestinal hypersensitivity of diarrhea predominant irritable bowel syndrome by inhibiting proinflammatory reaction. BMC complementary medicine and therapies. 2020 Dec;20(1):1-0. Available from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12906-020-03059-3 
  1. Roufogalis BD. Zingiber officinale (Ginger): a future outlook on its potential in prevention and treatment of diabetes and prediabetic states. New Journal of Science. 2014 Sep 23;2014. Available from: https://downloads.hindawi.com/archive/2014/674684.pdf 
  1. Helli B, Anjirizadeh F, Mehramiri A, Shalilahmadi D, Latifi SM. The Effect of Ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) Consumption in Headache Prophylaxis in Patients with Migraine: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Jundishapur Journal of Natural Pharmaceutical Products. 2021 Dec 31(In Press). Available from: https://brieflands.com/articles/jjnpp-120449.html 
  1. Bera K, Nosalova G, Sivova V, Ray B. Structural elements and cough suppressing activity of polysaccharides from Zingiber officinale rhizome. Phytotherapy Research. 2016 Jan;30(1):105-11. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.5508 
  1. Pagano E, Souto EB, Durazzo A, Sharifi‐Rad J, Lucarini M, Souto SB, Salehi B, Zam W, Montanaro V, Lucariello G, Izzo AA. Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) as a nutraceutical: Focus on the metabolic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Phytotherapy Research. 2021 May;35(5):2403-17. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.6964 
  1. Vasala PA. Ginger. InHandbook of herbs and spices 2012 Jan 1 (pp. 319-335). Woodhead Publishing. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780857090393500189 
  1. Setty AR, Sigal LH. Herbal medications commonly used in the practice of rheumatology: mechanisms of action, efficacy and side effects. InSeminars in arthritis and rheumatism 2005 Jun 1 (Vol. 34, No. 6, pp. 773-784). WB Saunders. Available from: https://www.academia.edu/download/66571106/_herbs_20in_20rheumatology.pdf 
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