Like many of the most effective plants or herbs, ginger root has been used for centuries.
Ginger has a very distinct warm, spicy flavor that has a bit of a “nip” to it—almost peppery. It’s easily one of the most widely used herbs for both culinary and therapeutic purposes.
Ginger is actually a root (or rhizome) that grows underground. It has a “hand-like” appearance and is in the same family as turmeric and cardamom.
This fragrant herb dates back to ancient China and Japan where it is said to have been a staple in the Confucian diet and was revered for its powerful properties.
Today, ginger is widely cultivated in almost every tropical to sub-tropical country in the world because of its countless health benefits.
Ginger contains gingerols, very potent anti-inflammatory compounds (also responsible for ginger’s flavor) that help by relieving swelling and other inflammation.
Gingerol is also shown to significantly impede the production of nitric oxide, which transforms into a highly damaging free radical called peroxynitrite.
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Another study appearing in the November 2003 issue of Radiation Research, shows that ginger can greatly lessen the depletion of glutathione in the body, an important internally produced antioxidant.
2. Gastrointestinal Relief
Ginger is an excellent carminative, meaning it promotes the elimination of intestinal gas.
It is also a potent intestinal spasmolytic—it relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract.
Ginger is so effective at soothing stomach-related issues that even popular traditional nausea medications have turned to it as a more natural alternative.
One study shows ginger to be superior to Dramamine, a commonly used over-the-counter medication for motion sickness.
Another study published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, shows ginger to be as effective as dimenhydrinate for morning sickness.
Chewing on a few small pieces raw or even candied (although the former is obviously healthier), can help alleviate car sickness, morning sickness and other stomach upset symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting, and cold sweating.
3. Anti-Cancer Agent
Research suggests that Gingerols may also inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells.
According to scientists from the University of Minnesota’s Hormel Institute who say “… ginger compounds may be effective chemopreventive and/or chemotherapeutic agents for colorectal carcinomas.”
In fact, ginger was so effective that the University has already applied for a patent for (6)-gingerol as an anti-cancer agent and has further licensed the technology to Pediatric Pharmaceuticals (Iselin, N.J.). In other studies, including one conducted by the University of Michigan, ginger has also been shown to cause cell-death in other cancers.
4. Immune Booster
While we often go to drastic measures to prevent out bodies from sweating, studies show that healthy sweat can be helpful during illnesses such as colds and flus. And ginger can promote sweating, which can help your body detoxify.
Another study published in Nature Immunology found that sweat can help fight off infections because it contains a potent germ-fighting agent called dermicidin. Dermicidin is shown to help protect against several bacteria, including E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus (a common cause of skin infections), as well as fungi like Candida albicans.
5. Lower Cholesterol
We have all been told that high levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Well, in one study, 3 g/day of ginger in 3 doses was shown to help lower LDL cholesterol significantly.
How To Make Ginger-Banana Smoothie
There are many ways you can take ginger: raw, powder, capsules or combination supplements.
But one of the most satisfying ways is in food, where you can savor its amazing flavor.
Here is just one way you can get this powerful herb into your daily diet.
• 1 frozen banana
• 1 inch ginger, grated
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• 1 cup coconut milk
• Blend all ingredients together and serve immediately—and enjoy!