What Is Ginger?
Ginger, also known as ginger root, is a rhizome that originated from Southeast Asia. It is commonly used in Asian, Middle Eastern, and Indian cuisines because of its distinct spicy flavor. In ancient Chinese traditional medicine, ginger was the prescribed treatment for ailments from gastrointestinal upsets to sinus problems and even to the common cold.
Facts About Ginger: Did You Know?
- It's a common ingredient that can be used to make simple home remedies for coughs, headaches, menstrual pain, and motion sickness.
- In Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, ginger is said to have a warming effect that promotes digestive fire (agni) and soothes gas troubles.
- It should be stored in a cool, dry place at 40 -45 degrees Fahrenheit.
- To treat colds and respiratory conditions, the combined power of ginger and honey is second to none.
- China is world's leading producer of this herb.
- Ginger root is available throughout the year.
Ginger Can Help With...
1. Sinus Problems.
Sinuses can be aggravated by allergies such as pollen fever, bacteria, and fungal infections. They can also swell up and be a source of irritation when you’re down with the common cold. Ginger root helps relieve and soothe any eye swelling and head pain.
- Brew a warm ginger-spiced tea and sip it slowly for a soothing effect.
- Use a ginger tea compress by dipping and squeezing the towel in ginger-infused warm water. Apply it to your face to aid with the swelling and pain.
2. Stomach Ailments.
Ginger can be a remedy for many different gastrointestinal upsets such as motion sickness and nausea, both during pregnancy and post-operations. It acts as an intestinal spasmolytic as well as a carminative, relieving stomach issues caused by travel sickness. Ginger is also used in Indian medicine (Ayurveda) as an appetite stimulant as well as digestive aid.
A study from the University of Michigan Medical School discovered that ginger supplements reduced colon inflammation, which is one of the signs of colon cancer. Another study by the University of Minnesota found that ginger inhibited the growth of colorectal cancerous cells. Ginger powder also has potent anti-cancer compounds that destroy ovarian cancer cells.
Several studies show that ginger provides therapeutic health benefits to patients with type 2 diabetes. A study from the University of Australia found that Australian-grown ginger is rich in gingerols. It increases glucose absorption in muscle cells without using insulin and helped regulate high blood glucose levels. Another boon of this aromatic rhizome is that it has a low glycemic index. Foods with low glycemic index break down to form glucose slowly and do not cause blood sugar spikes.
5. Fungal Infections.
Yeast infections are caused by candida albicans fungus. The fungus can affect the whole body, but it most commonly appears in the vagina. It's characterized by red swelling, soreness, and rashes. A study published in Phytotheraphy Research discovered that ginger has four powerful antifungal compounds, and it also has potent antibacterial properties that fight yeast infections. You can take supplements to treat yeast infections, but remember to consult your physician to avoid aggravations of certain illnesses that can result from consuming ginger.
6. High Blood Pressure.
Please note that you should not use ginger in place of medical treatment and should always consult your medical practitioner. Ginger has chemical compounds that help lower low-density lipoproteins that cause blockages in blood vessels, which forms plaque in the narrow vessels and leads to high blood pressure. It also helps prevent blood clot formation that could contribute to high blood pressure.
- Add this spicy herb to your meals for a strong and healthy cardiovascular system.
Two-thousand years ago in ancient China, ginger was used to treat inflammation. It contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called gingerols that reduces inflammation and pain. A study published in Osteoarthritis Cartilage concluded that adding ginger to your daily diet may help relieve age-related arthritis.
8. Strong Immune System.
Ginger induces healthy sweating, which is not only good for relieving colds and coughs but also promoting detoxification. Sweat contains a germ-fighting agent that protects the body against infections.
9. Pain Relief.
In Ayurveda, ginger is used to relieve headaches and migraines because it can stifle prostaglandin activity that causes inflammation and pain in blood vessels. It can also reduce swelling and pain in sore muscles and joints. Here are a few ways you can use it for pain relief:
- Make a paste from ginger and massage it into the temples.
- Infuse tea with ginger to soothe your mind.
- Add two drops of ginger essential oil to a bath and relax your aching limbs and muscles.
10. Severe Menstrual Pain.
According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Healing, ginger works as well as ibuprofen to relieve menstrual pain. Sixty percent of women in the study who took 250mg of ginger extract three times a day before a menstrual period experienced pain relief.
A Word of Caution
As with any food, consuming too much of one thing can be detrimental to your health. Try not to consume ginger in excessive quantities, as it may bring out relatively harmful side effects.
- Mouth irritation
Consume ginger in moderation, and always listen to your body.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on November 27, 2013:
Very useful and informative hub on benefits of Ginger! I use it daily in my tea or curries. It has many benefits indeed, as you have mentioned.
Thanks and voted up!