What is Ginger?
Ginger, also known as Zingiber officinale, is a common culinary spice that is derived from the underground stem of the Ginger plant. It has a firm, striated texture with a pungent and hot taste. In addition to its uses in the kitchen, ginger has been used for hundreds of years as a herbal remedy due to two volatile oils called gingerol and shogaol. It is also an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, and vitamin B6.
What are the Benefits of Ginger?
Research has shown that ginger has numerous health benefits including antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-inflammation, and anti-tumor effects. Therefore, it can help treat many everyday problems such as digestive ailments, nausea, motion sickness, stomach cramps, fevers, and colds as well as major illnesses such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and possibly even cancerous tumors.
Uses of Ginger
Ginger acts as an anti-histamine and can aid in the treatment of allergies. Here is a simple Ginger Tea that makes a wonderful natural allergy treatment:
- Peel and finely chop 1/4 inch of fresh ginger.
- Add the ginger to 1.5 cup of water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil.
- Continue boiling until there is approximately 1 cup of water remaining in the saucepan.
- Strain the tea into a cup or mug and enjoy. If you find the taste to be too strong, add honey as a natural sweetener.
Take this tea twice daily until your allergy symptoms are relieved.
The anti-inflammatory properties of Ginger have been found to reduce the inflammation and pain that are associated with Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis when consumed on a regular basis. Therefore, a simply Arthritis remedy is to consume 1/2 inch of peeled and sliced fresh ginger with each meal.
Colds, Flus, and Fever
Ginger is a natural anti-viral and anti-histamine that can help promote healthy sweating, which is often helpful when suffering from a flu or fever. It is also a natural decongestant which makes it suitable for treating a cold or nasal congestion. Ginger Tea is great in these situations (see above), but you can also try the following simple remedy:
- Peel one inch of fresh ginger.
- Grind the ginger and squeeze the juice out of it into a small cup.
- Mix 4 tablespoons of honey into the juice.
- Take half a teaspoon of this mixture twice per day.
Ginger has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels. Therefore, a simple remedy is to take one cup of Ginger Tea in the morning and one in the evening (see above for instructions). Another option is to simply take 1/2 inch of peeled and thinly sliced ginger, and add it to every meal as a seasoning or spice.
Nausea and Vomiting
Studies have shown that ginger is effective at reducing the severity of nausea and vomiting. The active components of ginger (gingerol and shogaol) accomplish this by helping the body produce more digestive enzymes that neutralize the acids in our stomach that often lead to nausea. Therefore, a simple remedy for treating nausea is to drink 1 cup of Ginger Tea (see above for brewing instructions).
What are the Side Effects of Ginger?
Ginger is usually not a common allergenic food and therefore it is not known to have any adverse side effects if it is taken in moderate dosage. However, precautions must be taken if you are taking any medication for blood clotting, diabetes, gallstones, or any other disease of the gallbladder, since the nutritional properties of ginger may interfere with the medicine.
Where and How to Buy Ginger
Fresh ginger can be bought at almost any grocery store or organic food store.
When buying ginger, look for smooth and firm stems with few wrinkles, and be sure to verify that there is no mold growth.
If you don't like the taste of fresh ginger, supplements in tablet or capsule form can be bought in many health food stores. You can also find ginger in dried/powered form or as tinctures or tonics. However, many nutritionists recommend using fresh Ginger since it typically has more healing properties.