If you think GINGER is only useful in the kitchen, think again! Ginger is proven to have various beneficial effects on human health. Ginger is also used to treat colds, flu, stomach discomfort, cramps, inflammation, morning sickness, motion sickness, fight cancer and strengthen our immune system.
(originally written by Jill)
While making some recipes that included minced ginger this past week, I started thinking about this strange-looking rhizome (kind of looks like a foot…no?) and what other things it’s good for, besides making food taste so good! I knew a LITTLE bit about the health benefits of ginger from listening to people I know and respect tout its’ ability to help with stomach discomfort and in treating cold and flu symptoms. But I personally have only used it in food…which is a wonderful way to use it! It just gives dishes a fresh kick of flavor that I love!
But if you’re only using it in cooking…you’re missing out on a whole lot of great natural remedies that people in Asia have been using for thousands of years!
Since we are in the cold and flu season, I thought I’d start with that.
1. Fighting Off Colds and Flu
Wheezing, coughing, and a runny and clogged nose are common respiratory symptoms during the winter months. Ginger can help ease these symptoms by acting as a decongestant to release phlegm. Ginger is also effective in helping to relieve asthma symptoms. The volatile oils and vitamins in ginger provide antiviral properties that help in the prevention and fast recovery from colds, sore throat, sinusitis and flu.
The University of Maryland Medical Center states that to treat cold and flu symptoms in adults, steep 2 tbsp. of freshly shredded or chopped ginger root in hot water, and drink two to three times a day.
2. Combating Stomach Discomfort
Gingers healing properties come from it’s volatile oils (gingerols and shogaols), which are also responsible for it’s pungent taste. The oils cause more digestive enzymes to be produced which helps with the whole digestion process and neutralizes the acids that can cause nausea, cramps and even diarrhea. It also improves food absorption which helps prevent/relieve stomach aches and eliminates bloating due to excessive gas.
3. Relieving Cramps, Morning Sickness and Motion Sickness
Ginger has demonstrated a success rate of 75 percent in curing morning sickness and stomach flu. It also relieves migraines and dizziness, and drinking ginger tea can relieve menstrual cramps. If you are a woman suffering from menstrual cramps, try placing a hot towel drenched in ginger tea over the pelvic area to relieve pain and relax the muscles. Drinking a cup of ginger tea can also provide a soothing effect.
To keep from being nauseous during a trip, drink a cup of ginger tea before setting off on your travels.
4. Reducing Pain and Inflammation
Ginger is an extremely potent analgesic, acting as an all-natural painkiller without the harmful side effects. It also contains potent anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger tea can ease inflammation of the joints, which is commonly referred to as rheumatoid arthritis. It is also effective in alleviating tired, sore muscles and joints.
A warm ginger tea soak can lessen swelling and puffiness, or rubbing ginger oil on an affected area can help reduce pain. Intake of ginger twice daily has been shown to improve the pain and swelling of the joints in arthritic patients and improves their range of motion.
5. Maintaining Normal Blood Circulation
Ginger contains chromium, magnesium and zinc which help to improve blood flow. Consuming a cup of ginger tea can help improve blood flow, as well as help prevent chills, fever and excessive sweating. The active components of ginger, such as minerals and amino acids, help make the blood flow smoothly, and may help prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease.