Ginger is a rhizome that has Gingerol as its active ingredient; this is what is responsible for the extraordinary healing powers of ginger. Ancient healing systems for thousands of years have used this powerful rhizome to cure lots of diseases; Ayurveda medicine, Chinese medicine and Greek medicine have all used this roots for centuries and now it is considered as a universal medicine that can cure a lot of illnesses, infections and infections.
Apart from Gingerol, ginger has 115 more chemical components that are of therapeutic effects and they are about 1,300 species of ginger. Some medicinal properties of ginger are anti-nausea/antiemetic, anticlotting, antispasmodic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, analgesic, antitussive, carminative, hypotensive, expectorant, stimulates circulation, relaxes blood vessels and promotes sweating.
History bears record that during the reign of ancient Roman Empire, ginger was a very expensive spice; one pound of ginger was equivalent to the price of a whole sheep. After the fall of the Roman Empire, ginger almost became lost but it was rediscovered and became popular again. The trade of this spice back then was the root of the world’s economy for centuries; wars were fought, dynasties rose and fell just because they wanted to seize ginger.
There are many forms in which ginger can be used or taken and they are:
- Raw ginger: You can take it raw by adding a raw slice of ginger to your smoothies every morning or you can add it generously to your meals when preparing it. You can also grate it, chop it or juice it.
- Pickled ginger: Ginger is pickled in sweet vinegar and it is usually bright pink in colour; it is used along with other vegetables in a spicy mix.
- Ginger tea: You can take ginger tea every morning by boiling fresh grated, chopped or pounded ginger root in a cup of water, and then you add lemon juice and honey and drink it.
- Preserved ginger: Ginger is preserved in sugar-salt solution and it is great for deserts and salads.
- Ginger powder: This can be added to meals, teas, juices and salad dressings. It can also be taken in supplement form as a capsule; the recommended dose is 1,000 milligrams daily. It is good to include this in meals if you don’t want the flavour of ginger to be overpowering; it has long shelf life and if you want to use it for medicinal purpose you will have to use double the amount of what you will use if it were fresh.
- Crystalized ginger: This is also known as candied ginger; it is made by cooking ginger in sugar until it is coated with sugar and crystalized and it is good for deserts.
- Ginger essential: This oil is the most potent form of ginger because it contains the highest levels of Gingerol and it is the number one way to use ginger as medicine. It is also used to make infused cocktails and mock tails’. It can be taken internally or applied topically with carrier oil like coconut or olive oil, three drops of ginger essential oil is the recommended therapeutic dose. Mix it with one teaspoon of carrier oil like olive or coconut oil before applying on the skin to prevent toxicity and side effects and reactions on sensitive skins.
- Dried ginger: This is different from powdered ginger; in this method the ginger is dried but not grounded into powder; it is used in cooking.
There are many health benefits of ginger and more studies are still going on this wonderful herb but we will be taking a look at ten health benefits of ginger.
It prevents chronic diseases: Over 80% of death in the world today is caused by chronic diseases like heart attack and stroke. Regular use of ginger helps to keep these diseases at bay. To reduce the risk of having a stroke or heart attack, it is advisable to add ginger and garlic to your meals regularly. This powerful combination protects the body from diseases, it increases the quality of life and it also increases life span.
It treats morning sickness and many forms of nausea: Ginger is very effective against many forms of nausea especially morning sickness; it helps cancer patients and patients who just underwent surgery to overcome the feeling of nausea after chemotherapy and surgery and it helps pregnant women to overcome morning sickness.
It eliminates bad cholesterol: A study conducted in China proved that ginger remarkably reduced cholesterol markers; it lowers low density lipoprotein cholesterol (the main cause of heart disease) better without side effects and it does it more than atorvastatin, a drug doctors usually prescribe to lower cholesterol. Ginger also reduces triacylglycerides and other very low density lipoprotein cholesterol. Taking ginger regularly will have a profound effect on the levels of your LDL which will help to prevent chronic diseases.
It boosts brain functions and prevents brain diseases: Ginger through its rich amount of antioxidants and bioactive compounds prevents chronic inflammation and oxidative stress which can impair brain functions and cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It enhance brain functions, improves memory and reaction time and it protects against age related decline in the functions of the brain.
It helps in proper absorption of nutrients: Regular intake of ginger supplies the body with nutrient and phytochemicals, these phytochemicals helps the body to properly digest and absorb nutrients. The mainstays to health are proper digestion, transport and absorption of food; digestive problems can cause malnutrition due to improper assimilation of the nutrients in the food. It is also potent against dyspepsia also known as chronic indigestion which is characterized by recurrent pain and discomfort in the upper part of the stomach. Ginger helps to speed up emptying of the bowels which is a major cause of indigestion.
It controls hypertension: Ginger can reduce high blood pressure by stopping blood clots from forming in your arteries; it also lowers bad cholesterol and triacylglycerides.
It fights diabetes: Gingerol fights diabetes and improves insulin sensitivity; it suppresses the accumulation of sorbitol in blood cells and it improves the condition of diabetic patients.
It promotes healthy growth of hair: Drinking the juice regularly can help one to grow long and strong hair; it increases the flow of blood to the hair follicles and its antiseptic nature prevents dandruff.
It fights infections: Ginger is powerful in fighting infections; in a study conducted at Carleton University, 29 plant species were used to treat fungus and ginger won the prize. To fight a fungal infection, mix several drops of pure ginger essential oil with tea tree oil and one teaspoon of coconut oil and apply the mixture on the affected area three times daily. Ginger is also very effective in fighting bacterial infection; it can kill Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes more than conventional medicine; chloramphenicol, tetracycline and ampicillin are not up to the anti-bacterial prowess of ginger extract. It has effect against a wide range of bacteria by inhibiting their growth; it can kill oral bacteria that cause gingivitis and periodontitis and it is even effective against the RSV virus that causes respiratory infection.
It protects one from harmful UV rays: Studies have shown that Ginger has the ability to absorb UV rays thereby protecting the DNA against damage; its rich antioxidant properties protect the body from damages caused by UV light.
It reduces pain and inflammation: Ginger can fight pain and inflammations; it active ingredient Gingerol acts on the vanilloid receptors which are on the sensory nerve endings; it affects the pain pathways directly and relieves inflammation. It helps in easing all kinds of pains including dysmenorrhea, menstrual cramps, muscle cramps and pains, joint pains and body pains.
It helps one maintain a healthy weight: Ginger helps one lose weight and at the same time it maintains optimum weight in healthy individuals; it reduces the feeling of hunger and makes one have a feeling of fullness. It also aids proper digestion of food by activating the digestive juices.
It strengthens the immune system: Ginger boosts the immune system, cleanses the lymphatic systems and removes toxins from the body. It also prevents toxins from accumulating in the body; it strengthens the body against infections and boosts the respiratory systems.
It fights cancer: A medical research was conducted at the University of Minnesota and it proved that ginger prevents cancer. In one of the studies, they worked on mice that had no immune system, and they gave them Gingerol for three weeks and they found out that it delayed the growth of colorectal cancer; it was later reaffirmed with ovarian cancer, it was even found that ginger inhibited the growth of cancer cells. Take ginger tea three times daily if you are battling cancer, it will even help with the side effects of chemotherapy and other cancer treatment and drugs.
It fights arthritis: Osteoarthritis is a common health problem that is characterized by degeneration of the joints and this leads to joint pain and stiffness; in a study those who took ginger extract had a great reduction in knee pain on standing. For quick relief, massage the affected part with this combination, ginger, mastic, and cinnamon and sesame oil.
It supports healthy skin: Ginger has many phytochemicals, antioxidants and other important nutrients that fight skin infections and problems; it prevents the activities of free radicals and slows the process of aging, it prevents acne and clears the scars and regular intake of ginger will give one a glowing skin.
It fights Ulcers: It has been a known fact since the 1980s, that ginger can cure stomach ulcers; it is 6 to 8 times more potent than Prevacid, the drug of choice to treat ulcers, GERD or acid reflux.