The ginger root has long been used as a spice in Asian cooking. In addition, ginger root is widely used a natural medicine for many disorders and diseases; it has been used for treating everything from motion sickness to menstrual cramps to food poisoning and many other disorders. The health benefits of ginger come from the same compound that gives ginger its distinctive hot and pungent taste, gingerol.
What is Ginger?
Ginger is the underground rhizome of the ginger plant and is characterized by its thick, twisting stems. The flesh of the ginger root can be yellow, white or red in color, depending on the variety. The root is covered with a brownish skin that may either be thick or thin, depending on what stage the plant was harvested at.
Ginger adds an aromatic, pungent and spicy flavor to Asian stir fries and other dishes. Ginger can be used fresh or dried, powdered, pickled, preserved, or crystallized. Whether you use it as a spice or a medicine, the health benefits of ginger are wide-ranging.
Ginger is a good source of potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese and vitamin B6.
Ginger for Treating Nausea and Vomiting
Ginger is very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. It promotes the elimination of intestinal gas and relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract. Ginger can aid an upset stomach by providing relief from the feeling of bloating and gas. Ginger also protects the stomach lining from developing stomach ulcers.
Ginger is very effective in preventing the symptoms of motion sickness, especially seasickness. It have been shown to be far superior to Dramamine, a commonly used over-the-counter drug for motion sickness. Ginger reduces all symptoms associated with motion sickness, including dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and cold sweating.
Ginger benefits have been shown to be very useful in reducing the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Unlike antivomiting drugs, which have some potentially severe side effects, ginger is extremely safe, and only a small dose is required. Ginger is also effective in treating problems with painful and irregular menstrual symptoms.
Because it's so concentrated, it doesn't take a lot to receive the health benefits of ginger. For nausea, ginger tea made by steeping one or two 1/2-inch slices of fresh ginger in a cup of hot water will likely be all you need to settle your stomach. For arthritis relief, add as much fresh ginger to your cooked foods as possible; more ginger provides quicker and better relief.
Treating Colds and Sore Throat with Ginger
Ginger is an excellent remedy for soothing an irritated throat. Regular consumption of ginger stimulates the secretion of mucus, which soothes and provides relief to the throat. Ginger tea is a very popular home remedy in most Asian countries as treatment against the common cold because of its antiviral properties. Ginger can not only be warming on a cold day, but can help promote healthy sweating, which is often helpful during colds and flues.
Since the oil present in ginger roots is an excellent expectorant, it is quite effective in treating respiratory problems related to colds, flu, cough, bronchitis and asthma. A mixture of honey and ginger is often used as an immediate relief for cough and respiratory problems.
Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger
The health benefits of ginger come from very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. These substances can help relieve swelling and inflammation associated with arthritis and various other muscular disorders. Many people with osteo- or rheumatoid arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels and improvements in their mobility when they consume ginger regularly. Gingerols also help reduce pain caused by muscle aches, headaches and rheumatism.
Protection Against Cancer
Ginger has been found to inhibit the growth of cancer cells that may cause human colorectal and ovarian cancer. Ginger extracts have been shown to have both antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects on all cells.
Ginger may be of special benefit for ovarian cancer patients because cancer cells exposed to ginger do not become resistant to its cancer-destroying effects, as they do with chemotherapy.
Health Benefits for the Heart
According to a ancient Chinese belief, ginger strengthens your heart, and ginger oil is often used in Chinese medicine for preventing and treating heart diseases. Ginger helps in reducing blood cholesterol and also prevents blood clotting.
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Stan Mrak has had a passion for anti aging nutrition for over 30 years. Visit his website at www.antioxidants-for-health-and-longevity.com for the most practical and useful information on antioxidants anywhere. Discover how antioxidants hold the secret for staying young and avoiding degenerative diseases.