The Incredible Health Benefits Of Ginger

health benefits of ginger

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Ginger is a very versatile spice and has many uses in traditional medicine, in addition to its uses in cooking. It is a good source of potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine;) and has been used for centuries in the treatment of digestive issues, coughing, headache, sinus congestion, colds and flu, fevers, poor appetite and inflammatory diseases like arthritis and rheumatism. There is a long history of medicinal and culinary use in China, India, Thailand, Japan, and many other Asian countries; and after its introduction to the west, it was added to the pharmacopeia and diet of Europe as well.

Current science supports ginger’s use in morning sickness, motion sickness, post-surgical nausea and vomiting, arthritis, and ulcerative colitis; and studies are continuing in all these areas. In addition, research is being done in the use of ginger for heart disease; specifically its blood thinning and cholesterol reducing properties. Other studies have shown that ginger oil can prevent skin cancer in mice; and that the gingerols in ginger can kill ovarian cancer cells.

CAUTION: Do not use ginger if you’re allergic to it. If a rash develops, check with your doctor. Ginger is known to interact with Warfarin and other blood-thinning medications, Digitalis, and diabetes medications, and should never be taken with them without a doctor’s supervision. In addition, anyone with gallstones should avoid ginger, since it increases bile production, and can cause more stones to form.

There are many ways to use ginger medicinally, such as in teas, prepared capsules or tablets, in compresses (topically,) in tinctures (extracted in an alcohol such as vodka,) as essential oil (NOT for internal use,) or as juice.

Ginger for inflammation: Inflammation is a factor in many diseases, and is actually necessary to encourage healing after an injury. However, if the inflammatory response doesn’t turn itself off once the injury has healed, inflammation can become chronic. Ginger inhibits two enzymes that play a major role in chronic inflammation, cyclooxgenase (COX) and 5-lipoxygenase (LOX). Although anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and other NSAIDS inhibit COX, they have no effect on LOX, treating only half of the problem. Taking ginger internally; as tea, capsules or pills, or tinctures; reduces the inflammation associated with many diseases like arthritis and ulcerative colitis.

Ginger for pain: Ginger also has analgesic properties, above and beyond the pain relief it provides by reducing inflammation. It has been used for treating headaches, both internally and as a paste of powdered ginger and water applied to the temples. Ginger tea can also reduce the pain and nausea associated with migraines (if taken early enough in the process, it can actually stop a migraine for some people.) A warm ginger compress can ease the pain of bruises, strains, and sprains when used several times a day over a period of a week to ten days, and is simple to make. Fresh ginger appears to work a bit better, but powdered ginger is effective as well, and is more likely to be in your spice cabinet. For a compress:

  • place either 1/2 cup of fresh grated ginger or 5 to 10 pinches of powdered ginger, 1 tablespoon of powdered cinnamon and two cups of water in a small saucepan; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and allow it to steep for another 15 minutes, then soak a washcloth in the resulting tea and apply to the injured area until cool.
  • Resoak the washcloth and reapply several times.
This is most effective if it’s done two or three times a day. (For severe pain, it can be alternated with an icepack, with 4 minutes of the hot compress followed by 1 minute of the icepack.)

Ginger for nausea: Ginger is helpful for nausea from almost any cause. The most effective treatment is with a tea made from fresh ginger root, taking capsules or pills, or by eating candied or pickled ginger. (The tea will be easier to keep down than the solid forms if the nausea is accompanied by vomiting.)

Ginger for sexual dysfunction: Ginger is believed to be an aphrodisiac by some. The theory has been that ginger stimulates the circulation, and since poor circulation can inhibit arousal, ginger is helpful. Recent studies in Egypt, Africa, and Iran indicate that ginger actually normalizes testosterone levels in rats (there haven’t been any human trials as yet) which is a much more likely reason for this possible effect.

Ginger for coughs: Ginger has both antispasmodic and antitussive (cough reducing) properties, and has been used to ease coughing from all causes for centuries. It helps to thin bronchial mucus and move it out of the lungs; and its antibacterial, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties are very helpful in the treatment of upper respiratory infections.

Ginger for burns: Fresh ginger juice applied to a burn will relieve pain, even on open blisters; reduce blistering and inflammation; and provide antibacterial protection against infection.

For even more information about this wonderful, versatile spice, check out this fantastic article: Ginger for Flavor, Health and Beauty

And if you enjoyed this article and would like to read about the incredible health benefits and uses of a number of other herbs, spices, drinks and foods, have a read of the articles below.

The Health Benefits Of Oolong Tea
The Health Benefits Of Wheat Germ Oil
The Health Benefits Of Manuka Honey
The Top 5 Uses Of Coconut Oil

 

Comments

  1. maria decker says:

    are there any other remedies for morning sickness? I have never been able to handle ginger. I would like to try something natural instead of having to take zofran to stay alive the first 4 months .

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