Discover the many uses and health benefits of ginger, and put this root to work!
Ginger is a rhizome, a mass of roots, of the plant zingiber officinale. It is used mainly as a spice in Asian, African, and Caribbean dishes. But ginger has some surprising health benefits apart from giving food a fresh, citrusy, and floral bite. It is also very easy to use as ginger is available fresh, as a powdered spice, pickled, crystallized as candy, in tea, and even in capsules. Add some to your first aid kit, pantry, fridge, and travel bags today.
Ginger has long been a home remedy for seasickness and other forms of motion sickness. Planes are stocked with plenty of ginger ale for good reason. It is antispasmodic, calming the stomach and intestines. There have been recent studies that show ginger is just as effective as the over-the-counter drugs most people reach for, but ginger won’t leave you groggy or lethargic.
Just like with seasickness, ginger eases the symptoms of nausea, dizziness, and vomiting that can come with morning sickness. It is gentle, safe, and effective.
The gastrointestinal distress busting power of ginger continues with heartburn. It eases violent digestion and acid reflux. Don’t overdo it though. Ginger is amazing in moderation, but too much can cause the same problems it cures: heartburn, upset stomach, and diarrhea.
Ginger stimulates enzyme production that improves the breakdown and absorption of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients from our foods.
Cold and Flu
Ginger has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It quiets coughs by reducing throat irritation. Ginger also warms the body and promotes healthy sweating. These are all factors that aid the immune system in removing viral infection.
Ginger is rich in the minerals chromium, magnesium, and zinc, which are all a part of a healthy cardiovascular system.
Muscle and Joint Pain
Gingerols, the active compounds in ginger, are powerful anti-inflammatories. They have been shown to reduce swelling and pain in people suffering from arthritis, other joint pain, and even just from sore and stiff muscles. Use it both internally and topically. Try a ginger tea bath or use essential oils.
Ginger is a natural expectorant that breaks up mucus while reducing inflammation for clearer airways. It is very good at opening up the sinuses, too.
Once again, ginger carries some powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. People who suffer from migraines will also often experience nausea and vomiting. Ginger can help soothe away the pain and lessen the gastrointestinal responses to that pain.
The gingerols in ginger go to work on these muscle pains as well. Some studies have shown that ginger is as effective as ibuprofen at relieving menstrual cramps and pain. It also calms and relieves bloating and gas.
Ginger may not be a cure-all for cancer, but it has shown some promising results when used against ovarian and colon cancer. With ovarian cancer, ginger encourages the cellular death of cancer cells. With colon cancer it helps slow growth of tumors.
This is kidney damage caused by diabetes. The exact cause isn’t known, but the kidneys begin to scar and leak excess protein into the blood stream. Studies have shown that ginger reduces diabetic nephropathy of the kidneys and improves the blood’s ability to carry antioxidants.
Ginger has some antihistamine properties to mildly reduce the symptoms of allergies without a ton of side effects.
Ginger has been used as an aphrodisiac for generations. It warms the body, improves circulation, and combats fatigue, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that a little ginger could help out in the bedroom.
Ginger isn’t the only rhizome you should be adding to your diet. Its relative, turmeric, has been showing some impressive health benefits lately, too. Together, they make a mighty mix that combats many types of cancer, cholesterol, heart disease, and more. Try turmeric with fresh ground pepper for more effect and consider pairing ginger with cinnamon.