What is Ginger?
Ginger is an aromatic, pungent and spicy herb (part of the Zingiberaceae family, as are cardamom, turmeric and galangal) that has tremendous therapeutic qualities. The underground stem (rhizome) can be used fresh, powdered, dried, or as an oil or juice.
Ginger: Medicinal Properties
The ancient medical science, Ayurveda, gives ginger the status of a virtual medicine chest. Not surprising as ginger has a long tradition in herbal medicine of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress – as an excellent carminative (a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance which relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract).
Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects.
Health Benefits of Ginger
Continue reading to understand 15 amazing health benefits of this wonder herb:
- Anti-coagulant: It helps make blood platelets less sticky reducing the risk of atherosclerosis and also reduces blood pressure in hypertensive patients. Ginger extract has proved to decrease the mean arterial blood pressure.
- Aphrodisiac: Ginger tea, after a not-too-heavy meal, every night, has long been used in the treatment of impotency, premature ejaculation and in increasing sperm count.
- Arthritis Care: Its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties effectively reduce pain and swelling in patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee, rheumatoid arthritis and general muscle discomfort. To help relieve muscle and joint ache, add some ginger essential oil into your bath.
- Migraine Cure: The unique ability of ginger to inhibit prostaglandin synthesis helps relieve pain and inflammation in blood vessels thereby providing relief from migraine.
- Cold and Flu Relief: This herb acts as an antihistamine and decongestant, two cold-easing effects that can help with symptoms of persistent cough and sore throat. The antihistamine property also helps treat allergies, inhibit airway contraction and help stimulate the secretion of mucus.
- Diabetes Care: Ginger reduces urine protein levels, controls thirst and urine output, and reverses proteinuria-kidney damage due to too much protein in the urine. It also protects the nerves in diabetics and lower blood fat levels, helps increase blood circulation, and lowers both blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Nausea Relief: Garlic has been an ancient remedy to ease nausea, motion and sea sickness. In women suffering from morning sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy, ginger alleviated the symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Useful for nausea treatment post surgery, especially after chemotherapy.
- Stomach Care: Ginger appears to accumulate in the gastrointestinal tract and its carminative (gas expulsion) property provides relief from bloating and gas and helps reduce flatulence. Ginger improves absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients, helps break down the proteins in your food, and protects your stomach against ulcers by promoting mucus secretion. Ginger is a vital ingredient in antacid, laxative and anti-gas medications.
- Anti Cancer: Ginger root has a very high level of antioxidants, excellent defenders against cell damage and associated disease caused by free radicals. Has shown great promise in cancer prevention and treatment of lymphoma, breast, liver, skin, bladder and colorectal cancers. Its ability to decrease cancer cell proliferation (inducing cell death (apoptosis) or autophagy (they digested/attacked themselves)) prevents the cancer cells from building up resistance to cancer treatment.
- Eases Menstrual Pain: Ginger is a potent remedy for reducing the symptoms of cramps and pains in primary dysmenorrhea (period pains).
- Prevents Liver Damage: Acetaminophen (“Tylenol” in the USA and “paracetamol” elsewhere) – a popular painkiller and antipyretic (reduces fever) creates the risk of chemically-driven liver damage (hepatotoxicity), especially among patients with liver disorders. Ginger’s therapeutic ingredients prevent hepatic injuries, alleviating oxidative stress in a manner comparable to that of vitamin E.
- Asthma Care: Purified components of ginger can work synergistically with ß-agonists (isoproterenol- an asthma medication) to relax ASM (airway smooth muscle). Ginger component 6-shogaol had the greatest impact in enhancing the effects of isoproterenol.
- Relieves Muscle Pain: Daily ginger supplementation reduces exercise-induced muscle pain and soreness due to its anti inflammatory properties.
- Fights Fatigue: Drink a hot concoction of ginger and cinnamon to relieve fatigue when recovering from fever and after exhaustive workouts.
- Nutrient Source: This herb contains essential oils, protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin C, choline, folate, inositol, manganese, panthotenic acid, silicon, and a small amount of vitamin B3.