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10 Health Benefits of Ginger, the Ancient Cure-all Root of Asia

Updated on July 21, 2016

Ginger, also known as ginger root is a rhizome, from Zingiber officinale, originating from Southeast Asia. It is an herb that is used in many Asian, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines to add a distinct spicy flavour to food. The rhizomes from older plants were used in Ancient Chinese traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments from gastrointestinal upsets to sinus problems, down to the common cold.

Therapeutic Health Benefits of Ginger

Ginger is blessed with numerous therapeutic health benefits and is a common kitchen ingredient that can be used to make simple home remedies for healing everyday life ailments such as cough, headaches, menstrual pain and motion sickness. Here is a list of the versatile health benefits of ginger.

Interesting Facts about Ginger

  • In Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, ginger is said to have a warming effect, promoting digestive fire (agni) and soothing gas troubles.
  • Ginger should be stored in a cool, dry place at 40 -45 degrees Fahrenheit
  • The combined power of ginger and honey used to treat colds and other respiratory conditions is second to none.
  • The world's leading producer of ginger is China.
  • Ginger root is available all throughout the year.

1. Ginger for sinus problems. Sinuses can be aggravated by allergies such as pollen fever, bacteria and also fungal infections. Sinuses can also swell up and be a source of irritation when you’re down with the common cold. The swelling around eyes and pain in the head can be relieved and soothed with ginger root. Brew a warm ginger spiced tea and sip slowly for a soothing effect or use a ginger tea compress by dipping and squeezing the towel in ginger infused warm water and applying it to the face to aid with the swelling and pain.

2. Ginger for stomach ailments. Ginger can be a remedy for many different gastrointestinal upsets such as motion sickness, nausea caused by pregnancy and post-operation nausea. Ginger also acts as an intestinal spasmolytic as well as a carminative and relieves stomach upsets caused by travel sickness. Ginger is also used in Indian medicine, also known as Ayurveda, as an appetite-stimulant as well as aiding in digestion.

Fresh ginger can be used peeled or with the skin on. Fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator after cleaning and grating for up to 3 - 6 months. Discard if crystallisation occurs.
Fresh ginger can be used peeled or with the skin on. Fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator after cleaning and grating for up to 3 - 6 months. Discard if crystallisation occurs. | Source

3. Ginger for cancer. A study from the University of Michigan Medical School found out how ginger supplements reduced inflammations that were found in the colon. These inflammations are one of the signs of colon cancer. Another study carried out in the University of Minnesota found that ginger inhibits the growth of colorectal cancerous cells. Ginger powder also has potent anti-cancer compounds that destroy ovarian cancer cells.

4. Ginger for diabetes. Various studies show how ginger has therapeutic health benefits to diabetes type 2 patients. A study conducted in University of Australia on Australian grown ginger that is rich in gingerols found out how ginger increased the absorption of glucose into muscle cells without the use of insulin, thereby regulating high blood glucose levels. Another plus point of this aromatic rhizome is that it has a low glycemic index. Foods with low glycemic index slowly break down to form glucose and do not cause spikes in blood sugar.

Ginger tea, also known as Tisane, is made by boiling fresh or dry ginger flakes in water. Often sweetened with honey, this soothing tea relieves nausea, reduces inflammation and fights respiratory problems.
Ginger tea, also known as Tisane, is made by boiling fresh or dry ginger flakes in water. Often sweetened with honey, this soothing tea relieves nausea, reduces inflammation and fights respiratory problems. | Source

5. Ginger for fungal infection. Yeast infections are as a result of the candida albicans fungus and can affect the whole body, but most commonly occur appear in the vagina. It is characterized by red swelling, soreness and rashes. Ginger has potent antibacterial and antifungal properties that fight off yeast infections. A study published in the Phytotheraphy Research found out four powerful antifungal compounds in ginger. Ginger supplements can be taken to treat yeast infections, but remember to consult your physician before consuming them to avoid aggravations of certain illnesses resulting from interacting with ginger.

6. Ginger for high blood pressure. Before we look at the health benefits of ginger for high blood pressure, take note that you should not use ginger in place of medical treatment. Always consult your medical practitioner. Ginger has chemical compounds that help lower low density lipoproteins that cause blockages in blood vessels by forming plaque in the narrow vessels leading to high blood pressure. Ginger also helps prevent formation of blood clots that restrict the flow of blood from the heart hence leading to high blood pressure. Add this spicy aromatic herb to your daily meals for a strong and healthy cardiovascular system.

7. Ginger for inflammation. Even 2000 years back in ancient China, ginger has been used to treat inflammations. Ginger contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called gingerols that reduce inflammations and pain. A study published in the Osteoarthritis Cartilage shows that adding ginger to your daily diet may help relieve age related arthritis problems.

8. Ginger for strong immune system. Ginger induces healthy sweating which is not only good for relieving colds and cough but also, promotes detoxification. Research shows that sweat contains a certain germ-fighting agent that is produced by the sweat glands, which protects the body against infections.

Did you know that dry ginger is up to 6 times more potent than fresh ginger?
Did you know that dry ginger is up to 6 times more potent than fresh ginger? | Source

9. Ginger for pain relief. In Ayurveda, ginger is known to be useful for relieving headaches and migraines. This is because of its ability to stifle the action of prostaglandins that cause inflammation and pain in blood vessels. The ginger is made into a paste and massaged into the temples or taken as a ginger tea infusion to soothe the mind. Ginger is also commonly used to reduce swelling and pain in sore muscles and joints. Add two drops of ginger essential oil to your warm bathwater and relax your aching limbs and muscles.

10. Ginger for severe menstrual pain. According to a 2009 study published in the journal of alternative and complementary healing, ginger works as well as ibuprofen for relieving menstrual pain. It showed that 250mg of ginger extract taken about three times a day before the onset of the menstrual period relieved the pain of about 60 per cent of women in the study.

Caution

Too much of any food is bad for your health. Resist from excessively consuming ginger as it may bring out relatively harmful side effects, among which are,

  • Heartburn
  • Irritation of the mouth
  • Diarrhoea

Consume in moderation, and always listen to your body.

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    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      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!

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