9 Key Health Benefits of Ginger
Most of us are familiar with ginger as an ingredient for cooking. It is an essential addition to Asian dishes and it is a warming, even spicy, ingredient in things like holiday pies and cookies.
Ginger not only tastes great, but it has a long history of use as a medicinal herb to support improved health.
What is Ginger?
Ginger (Zingiberis Officinalis) is a flowering plant native to Asia. Its first recorded uses medicinally date back about 5,000 years.
The part of the plant used in cooking and medicinally is the rhizome. (A rhizome is a root that grows sideways and sends out shoots.)
Ginger root is a powerful antioxidant and it also has essential oils and vitamins and minerals.
Medicinal Benefits of Ginger
Ginger has been successfully used medicinally for thousands of years, which is a testament to its effectiveness. Recently, there have been studies conducted which also validate its usefulness for better health.
Following are some ways ginger is used as an herb, including some surprising uses you may not have suspected.
1. Motion Sickness and Nausea
Ginger is well known for its ability to reduce motion sickness. There have been several studies on the effectiveness of ginger in reducing motion sickness and it has been found to be as effective or more effective than over-the-counter motion sickness drugs without the same drowsy side effects.
Another study found that ginger has good results in decreasing symptoms of nausea for pregnant women.
Ginger has also successfully been used to reduce chemotherapy induced nausea.
2. Aids in Digestion
Ginger aids in digestion and in breaking down food. Studies have shown that ginger helps to stimulate digestion and actually speeds up your body’s process of emptying the stomach. In one study it increased the speed of emptying the stomach by 24%.
Ginger is an excellent herb to use for indigestion.
Taking ginger may also help to increase the absorption of some nutrients.
Ginger also reduces the amount of gas, bloating and belching that occurs during the digestive process.
3. Natural Pain Relief
Ginger is a natural pain reliever. It has anti-inflammatory properties, which may aid in its pain relieving effects.
It has also been shown to reduce menstrual pain like period cramps and headaches as effectively as drugs like ibuprofen. It has been shown to be effective in decreasing both the severity and duration of menstrual associated pain.
4. Activates the Immune System
It can support your body in fighting infections and is good to be used for cold, flu, coughs and other respiratory problems.
Ginger was also shown to be effective against several strains of drug resistant bacteria.
5. Sore Muscles and Joints
Ginger has the ability to reduce inflammation in the body.
Ginger can also be used topically as a compress for sore or arthritic joints and muscles. You can also mix ginger juice with olive oil and use it as a massage oil for sore muscles and joints.
6. Can have Positive Effects on Blood Sugar and Weight Gain
There is also a study indicating that ginger may have anti-obesity effects and may help to reduce weight gain.
7. Supports Brain Function
Ginger Supports brain function. It is brain protective with high antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
8. Supports Healthy Cholesterol Levels
In one study a daily supplementation with ginger produced a drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol by 17.4% compared to the control group.
There have been several studies conducted with different doses of the ginger but all resulted in a reduction of LDL cholesterol.
9. An Activator for other Herbs
Because of the warming qualities of ginger, and its activating properties on digestion and the body, ginger is often used with other herbs to increase the body’s action of absorbing those herbs.
It is an excellent supporting herb in this way, making the other herbs more effective and because of this it is used in a lot of herbal formulas.
Ways to Take Ginger
You can make a tea using fresh ginger with some hot water.
Add some thinly sliced fresh ginger to a mug and pour boiling water over it. Let steep for about ten minutes, at this point the water should not be too hot to drink. If you want, you can add some lemon and/or honey for flavor and also get the health benefits they offer.
Take this if you have a cold, are looking for something warming or simply as a delicious cup of tea.
Ginger can be used in cooking as a boon for digestion and all the other health benefits it offers.
You can find a recipe for some ginger snap cookies and learn how you can start using ginger in your daily diet.
You can also find several other healthful recipes that incorporate ginger in our recipes in our recipes section.
Herbal Roots offers pure, organic ginger capsules so that you can conveniently incorporate ginger into a daily route. You can also take ginger capsules to aid with specific situations as below.
When to Take Ginger
Take ginger before a big meal to aid in stimulating the digestion. Or anytime you are experiencing indigestion.
If you have a cold, take ginger to make use of the immune supporting benefits.
If you suffer from or think you may suffer from motion sickness, sea sickness or nausea you can take ginger to aid in reducing or hopefully avoiding those symptoms.
If you are suffering from menstrual pain try some ginger in whatever form you like, possibly as a tea or capsules and see if this can be a natural way to reduce your menstrual symptoms.
For sore joints and muscles you can use ginger as a compress or as a massage oil externally. You can also use the ginger internally for the pain and inflammation.
With all these uses, ginger is an excellent herb to have on hand and have in a 1st aid kit and travel 1st aid kit.
I am in awe of this plant and the myriad benefits it has for the body. Ginger is a powerful herb that offers tremendous benefits for the body and as a huge bonus it even tastes good.
Take advantage of this gift from the plant world and see if you can use ginger for better health.