As a young man in the late 1960s, I had the privilege of living in the wonderful land of New Zealand for two years; truly one of the most beautiful and pleasant places on Planet Earth. The whole country looks like a lush green golf course. However, I soon found that some aspects of my new home were different, sometimes completely opposite, to what I was accustomed to. For not only did the Kiwis, as they are called, talk with a different accent and drive on the other side of the road, but they didn’t have my favorite root beer, and they had never heard of a taco. Instead I discovered fish and chips and ginger beer. I had a particular fondness for the ginger beer, which was often home brewed and had a much more spicy, pungent flavor than our ginger ale. In fact it had kind of a bite, but I soon developed a taste for it.
Ginger is really worth taking a closer look at. Its botanical name is Zingiber Officinale which means horn shaped, and anyone who’s seen this root knows how strange and gnarly looking it is. It’s native to Asia and is referred to in ancient Far and Middle East writings. It was then imported and became popular in Europe and the Mediterranean. Today the top producers of ginger are Australia, Indonesia, India, Fiji, and Jamaica.
Ginger is very low in calories and glycemic index. It is highly regarded as an intestinal spasmolytic and carminative which are fancy scientific terms meaning it soothes the digestive system and diminishes intestinal gas. In fact, it helps provide relief for all kinds of intestinal issues, including nausea from sea sickness, much more effectively than Dramamine. It improves all the complaints of the morning sickness of pregnancy, with no side effects to the mother or baby. Pharmacology can’t make that claim.
I have always noticed that I get a little warm all over when I consume ginger containing foods. This is a result of the ginger increasing the metabolic rate and promoting energy circulation. Researchers have found that the sweat-generating effect of ginger boosts the body’s immune system and is helpful in fighting off colds, flus, and even bacterial and Candida infections.
Ginger also possesses potent anti-inflammatory compounds known as gingerols. There have been research studies that found that 75% of patients experiencing all types of arthritis pain, and virtually 100% of those with muscular discomfort, who consume ginger reported relief of pain and even a measurable decrease in the swelling of joints. Other studies have documented the effectiveness of these gingerols in fighting and neutralizing the effects of free radicals on the body. Now that’s impressive.
One of the increasingly common and potentially fatal maladies today is colorectal cancer. Even with earlier diagnosis, shocking numbers of otherwise healthy people lose an ugly battle with this silent killer. Multiple scientific animal and human clinical research studies have found that these gingerols have potent chemotherapeutic qualities that not only help the immune system to be better prepared to combat the initiation of this and other types of cancer such as ovarian, but have even been shown to shrink well established tumors and inhibit their metastasis.
A number of respiratory conditions respond quickly to the influence of ginger. It is a powerful expectorant, breaking up phlegm and mucus so that it can be expelled with a cough. It even has been noted to expand the lungs, improving difficult breathing.
Now, you may have a question on how much ginger you should I take for your health. Generally, just start to include it in your regular menu and diet. But if you desire the medicinal help mentioned, it has been recommended that a good starting point would be two to three tablespoons full of the shredded herb in a smoothie two to three times per day to employ this powerhouse nutrient in a therapeutic dosage.