Ginger root from a flowering plant that belongs to the Zingiberaceae family is much more than just a popular spice that makes many dishes taste wonderful since ancient times. Ginger contains bioactive compounds and nutrients that relieve the symptoms or prevent the development of certain diseases or health problems.
Gingerol, one of ginger’s natural oils, has been identified as the main bioactive compound that gives ginger its powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and other medicinal properties that make ginger effective for preventing, curing and relieving the symptoms of various ailments.
Whether used fresh, as oil or juice, dried or powdered in food, cosmetics and as traditional medicine for various ailments ginger has been found to be good for:
Through the years, ginger has been known to be highly effective against morning sickness, sea sickness, nausea and vomiting after surgery or chemotherapy and other forms of nausea.
Ginger, at 1 to 1.5 grams daily, has relieved morning sickness and other forms of nausea after a certain number of days of treatment according to results of 12 different studies that involved 1, 270 women.
In the study, ginger was prepared and taken: grated fresh, added to hot water for hot tea, store-bought ground ginger in capsule pack, mixed in sugar, syrup base and crystallized into candy-like shapes.
Although there has been no fetal risk linked to the use of ginger by pregnant women, you are still advised to talk to your doctor.
Sore and Painful Muscles
In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger’s essential oils warm the skin and underlying tissues to improve blood flow and circulation which consequently brings relief to tired muscles.
A study reported in Journal of Pain that zingerone, gingerol and shogaol found in ginger are more effective than the anti-inflammatory Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) usually prescribed for exercise-induced sore and painful muscles.
Osteoarthritis, the degenerative joint disorder prevalent among the population of at least 65 years old is characterized by stiffness, pain, inflammation and joint swelling.
There are studies that ginger’s major phenolic compound gingerol has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Chronic indigestion or dyspepsia is characterized by recurrent pain and discomfort in the upper part of the stomach mainly caused by delayed emptying of the stomach after eating food.
In a study on gastric motility and emptying published at the National Institutes of Health website, patients who had 1.2 grams of ginger powder before a meal accelerated emptying of the stomach by 50%.
A study featured in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that 2 tablespoons of ginger steeped in water with honey or lemon was as effective as ibuprofen for providing relief to menstrual pain or dysmenorrhea.
In another study, 150 women took 1 gram of ginger powder daily for the first 3 days of the menstrual period to reduce pain.
Ginger’s anti-cancer properties are attributed to 6-gingerol, a substance that is found in large amounts in raw ginger. Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found out that ginger can trigger two types of ovarian cancer cell death – apoptosis and autophagy. During apoptosis cancer cells commit suicide. During autophagy, cancer cells digest or attack themselves.”
Consuming ginger root also helps to reduce colon inflammation and prevent tumor formation according to a study published at the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
The above list is partial. There are still other ongoing studies showing that ginger is good for: fighting infections, reducing LDL or blood triglicerides lowering blood sugar levels, treating inflammatory gum disease like gingivitis and periodontitis and respiratory infections.