Do you love your cup of ginger tea? If yes, then here is good news for you! There are many amazing benefits of ginger for your skin hair and health.
What Is Ginger?
Ginger is a perennial herb native to China and India. It is obtained from the plant Zingiber officinale. It is one of the most revered medicines in Ayurveda. Ginger is often referred to as a root, but it is actually an underground stem called rhizome. As a spice, the use of ginger dates back 4000 years. The medicinal properties of ginger were discovered around 2000 years ago.
The National Library of Medicine has stated that the ginger root is used all over the world to treat nausea, loss of appetite, and vomiting, especially after surgery. It is also effective in treating nausea caused due to cancer treatment, colic, stomach upset, flatulence, motion sickness, and morning sickness.
Ginger root has a rather irregular shape comprising of bulbous little joints, from which small bumps grow. Fresh ginger root has a gray outer surface whereas the inner flesh ranges from ivory, creamy white to pale greenish-yellow in color, depending on the variety. The over-matured roots generally contain fibrils running through their center. Ginger has a peppery flavor, with a hint of lemon, and a sharp aroma. Its pungent, spicy, and aromatic smell can be attributed to the presence of essential oils and phenolic compounds such as gingerols and shogaols.
Due to its strong and spicy aroma, ginger occupies an important place as a spice, delicacy, and even medicine. Apart from being used fresh, it is dried, powdered, pickled, or used in the form of juice or oil. Ginger tea is a favorite in Indian households and a great remedy for battling cold and flu. It has been recognized by Ayurveda due to its medicinal properties. Nowadays, it is also being used in sweet foods in Western cuisine such as ginger ale, ginger snaps, gingerbread, ginger biscuits and ginger cake.
Benefits Of Ginger For Health
Ginger is considered the ‘chest of medicine’ in Ayurveda due to its various health benefits. Its powerful therapeutic and preventive effects make it usable in the treatment of various ailments. Here are some of the medicinal uses of ginger.
1. Treatment Of Respiratory Problems
Due to its antihistamine properties, ginger is effective in treating allergies. It inhibits airway contraction and helps in stimulating the secretion of mucus. For centuries, it has been used as a natural remedy for colds and flu. A teaspoon of ginger juice and honey is effective in relieving the persistent cough and sore throat associated with colds. Ginger tea helps to get rid of congestion of the throat and the nose. A mixture of fresh ginger juice and fenugreek is helpful in curing asthma. Ginger is also found to be helpful in treating stomach flu or food poisoning. This is one of the most applied uses of ginger.
2. Aids Digestion
Ginger is considered the best herb for digestion. Consumption of ginger encourages the gallbladder to release bile, stimulating digestion. This encourages the assimilation of nutrients from the food we eat. In addition to this, ginger also provides relief from stomach cramps, diarrhea and bloating caused due to gastritis. We can take ginger in the form of tea or supplements to aid digestion.
Several studies have demonstrated ginger’s ability to fight various types of cancer cells, including lung, ovarian, prostate, breast and colon cancer. Researchers at Michigan University have found that ginger powder can kill ovarian cancer cells. It can also treat prostate cancer by killing cancer inducing cells. Ginger contains gingerol, a compound that is shown to have anti-metastatic properties and can help treat breast cancer and ovarian cancer. According to the health experts, ginger root is one of the most inexpensive and effective ways of preventing the onset of cancer and improving the life quality as it eliminates toxic substances from the body.
4. Chemotherapy Nausea
Chemotherapy is a treatment recommended after the cancer surgery to eliminate the presence of the cancerous cells so that the chances of recurrence of this disease can be minimized. Ginger root supplements are helpful in reducing nausea induced by the chemotherapy when administered along with the other anti-vomiting medications. According to a lead researcher at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, Florida, Dr. Julie Ryan, more than 70 percent cancer patients who are exposed to chemotherapy radiations experience vomiting and nausea. The intake of ginger root supplement or juice before the chemotherapy reduces nausea and vomiting symptoms as the ginger root provides anti-inflammatory properties to the body. It is also found to be effective in treating sensations of nausea associated with motion sickness, sea sickness, etc.
5. Treatment Of Morning Sickness
Research has proved that ginger is as effective as vitamin B6 in treating morning sickness. Thus, it is often recommended to pregnant women for preventing morning sickness.
How To Take Ginger For Nausea
- Ginger should not be given to children under the age of 2.
- Children over the age of 2 may take ginger as a natural remedy for nausea, headaches and stomach cramps. However, you should consult a doctor for the appropriate dose.
- In general, you should not exceed 4 grams of ginger per day. It is also important to keep in mind that pregnant women should not take more than 1 gram per day.
- For nausea, indigestion or gas: As you have already learned, some studies have used 1 gram of ginger per day in doses that are divided. You should consult your doctor to find the dose that is right for you.
For Nausea During Pregnancy
In some studies, 650 milligrams to 1 gram a day have been used to treat nausea induced by pregnancy. You should consult your doctor to make sure that it is safe for you to take ginger while you are pregnant.
Ginger is very beneficial for treating chronic inflammation. It provides substantial relief from pain caused due to inflammation and even decreases swelling and morning stiffness. It successfully inhibits cyclooxygenase and five-lipoxygenase-enzymes that cause inflammation.
According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan Medical School, ginger root supplement, when administered to the people suffering from colon inflammation, was found to be very effective in alleviating the condition. The co-researcher, Suzanna M. Nick, who was a part of the study, has stated that a reduction in the colon inflammation helps reduce the chances of developing cancer in the colon.
7. Reduction Of Pain
The analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of ginger are effective in reducing the pain and swelling in the patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee, rheumatoid arthritis, and general muscle discomfort. Ginger root also alleviates pain and is especially beneficial for those who have to take a painkiller to reduce the arthritis inflammation. Adding ginger oil to your bath can help relieve muscle and joint ache. In case of muscle strain, you can apply a mixture of warm ginger paste and turmeric for relief. If such patients incorporate ginger root supplements regularly in their diet, their need for painkiller medication will be reduced considerably. Thus, ginger is very beneficial for relieving pains caused due to rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.
Ginger can be used both externally and internally to treat inflammation. To prepare a ginger bath, boil 100 ml of water with a few slices of ginger. Cover the vessel to prevent volatile oils from evaporating. Leave it aside for 10 minutes and then add this mixture to your regular bath water. Using this water every day can help ease aches and pains associated with fibromyalgia.
8. Menstrual Cramp Relief
Taking ginger at the beginning of the menstrual period can reduce the symptoms of menstrual pain in some women. Ginger tea with brown sugar is often used in the treatment of menstrual cramps in Chinese medicine.
9. Muscle Pain Due To Exercise
A study carried out on 74 volunteers at a Georgian University revealed that the consumption of ginger root supplements daily reduces the muscle pain caused due to exercise by 25 percent. Two studies carried out on the effects of heat-treated and raw ginger root supplements have shown that the regular use of ginger root in the diet helps reduce the muscle pain induced by exercise. During the research, the participants were made to consume ginger supplements daily for around 11 consecutive days. When the participants performed heavyweight elbow flexors on the 8th day to induce minimum injury to the muscles of the arms, it was found that due to the heat treatment provided by the ginger root internally, the muscle inflammation and pain levels were considerably low.
10. Relieves Migraines
Ginger provides migraine relief as it can inhibit the prostaglandins from causing pain and inflammation in the blood vessels. Applying diluted ginger paste on the forehead provides relief from migraine.