BY using ginger regularly, two of the biggest killers in Guyana—diabetes and heart disease- may be kept at bay. This is according to health-conscious businessman, Michael Jupiter, who explained that the herb has anti-blood clotting ability.
Jupiter is the founder of ‘Juice Power’, a small business that promotes healthy consumption at Lot 343 Middle Street, South Cummingsburg, Georgetown and ginger juice has been one of his top selling products from the time he introduced it to the market some 25 years ago.
It was during the Christmas season when the businessman added the new product to his existing line of juices to target customers who enjoyed the traditional ginger beer and black cake, and from that day to now, ginger juice has been one of the products available at his business daily.
He has been into the juice business for 33 years. “I lived in Venezuela for some years and they had these juice bars where they had fruits already cut up, so you just pick what you want and they blend it up right in front of you, and back in the days, Guyana didn’t have that,” the businessman said.
Jupiter said that he thought about the idea and after some time, he made a strategic decision to invest in a similar business. He first purchased a blender and juice mixer and came home and opened his business. “We had a humble start with no advertisements and then we expanded,” he said. Today, the businessman sells almost 60 varieties of fruit and vegetable juices.
The businessman employs eight permanent staff and other part-time workers. With a large client base, Jupiter says while it would be more financially rewarding for him to plant his own spices, vegetables and fruits, he prefers to remain in juice production. This allows small-scale farmers to benefit financially.
Ginger is produced on a small-scale in Guyana and is part of the government’s Agricultural Diversification Programme. For the year 2016, a total of 24,013 tons of ginger were produced. The majority of ginger found on the local market is produced in Region One—the spices capital of Guyana. Some ginger producing communities include: Hosororo, Arukamai, Kamwatta,Wauna, and St. Anslem.
The National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) has been providing technical support to farmers and conducting trials to expand ginger production. For instance: routine cultural and agronomic practices are being carried out on experimental plots at NAREI.
While increasing ginger production for the purpose of value addition would have financial benefits, there are many health benefits as well. Ginger is considered a virtual medicine chest. Various studies done internationally have proven that ginger is highly effective for treating a number of health problems.
The herb has antinausea, antispasmodic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, antitussive (cough suppressant) and antiviral properties that can do wonders for your health. Ginger is also a good source of Vitamins A, C, E, and B-complex, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, iron, zinc, calcium and beta-carotene.
The carminative properties present in ginger can be used to calm an upset stomach; it boosts the immune system so it is used as a natural treatment for colds and flu, reduces menstrual pain, reduces arthritis pain and treats morning sickness.