Like honey ginger is found in a great many homes across the world. You can take it as a powder, as a paste or raw, as it is a very flexible herb!
But also like honey it contains a great many medicinal properties which are not well known.
Ginger Boosts the Immune System
Ginger is an antiviral, it is an antiseptic and has anti-inflammatory properties, it is an antihistamine and a decongestant, and it is a pain inhibitor and a mild sedative. Also, it contains chemical called sesquiterpenes, which help to target rhinoviruses, and has been proven effectively in clinical trials.1
Ginger Fights Nausea
One of the great uses of ginger is as a cure for nausea, and in particular it has been found as a most effective way to treat morning sickness.
In a study on 70 mothers, who had morning sickness, split into two groups, with the ginger group receiving 1 gram of ginger a day, while the placebo group, obviously received a placebo!
By the time the study was complete, the ginger group where found to have an improvement in morning sickness symptoms in 28 out of the 32 participants in that group!2
Ginger Treats High Blood Pressure
Ginger has been found to be highly effective at treating hypertension.
In a study on the action of ginger, on high blood pressure, they observed that ginger lowers blood pressure, by blocking the voltage – dependent calcium channels.3 which is the same mechanism to treat hypertension as is used by calcium channel blocking anti-hypertensive medications!
Ginger Helps to treat osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is an extremely common and painful condition, whereby the joints of the bones suffer degeneration and inflammation.
Ginger appears to help to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis. In one study, of patients who suffered with osteoarthritis, of the knee, noted a substantial reduction in symptoms, during this six week study of 247 participants.4
Ginger Improves Blood Sugar Control
Ginger helps to relieve symptoms of diabetes. In a study in of 41 participants who had types II diabetes, when given 2 grams of ginger per day, over the course of 12 weeks, noted a reduction in fasting sugar levels by 12%!5
Ginger Helps with Indigestion
Indigestion is a common aspect of present day life, thanks to processed food and an inactive lifestyle. Also, as people age the amount of enzymes, which are active in their intestines reduce, which results in an inability to digest food property, which also explains why most people tend to eat less as they grow older. Finally indigestion also leads onto constipation, as a direct consequence of food which has not been properly digested.
So it’s good to hear that ginger helps with the digestive process. In one study of 24 participants, when they took 1.2grams of ginger, prior to eating the meal, that their stomachs emoted 50% faster.6
The ability of the stomach to process the food faster indicates that the food has been effectively pre-digested, which is the purpose of the stomach, in that ideally the stomach pre-digests food and then the small intestines can easily absorb nutrients form their pre-digested foodstuff. Finally, more absorption means less disease and a stronger and healthier body!
Ginger Reduces Bad Cholesterol levels
There are good and bad cholesterols, with LDL been bad cholesterol. When bad cholesterol levels are high, the body becomes more prone to developing plaque inside the arteries and veins, which in turn reduces the diameter of the veins and arteries. A consequence of this is an increase in blood pressure levels, because now the blood has to be pushed under greater pressure, so as to travel in a smaller diameter tube? Which in turn promotes damage to the heart and internal organs, which in turn can result in such nasty consequences, as strokes and heart attacks!
So, here again we see ginger helping out. In a study of 85 people who took 3 grams of ginner for a 45 day period noted a substantial reduction in LDL cholesterol levels.7
Ginger Protects the Brain from Dementia
Ginger has also been noted for its ability to reduce inflammation not just within the body, in general, but also within the brain itself.8
This indicates that ginger helps to fight against dementia. It doesn’t affirm its effectiveness, but it indicates that ginger may help to reduce the onset of symptoms of dementia in some cases.
Ginger Helps to Reduce Symptoms of Menstrual Tension
As we have noted earlier ginger helps to reduce inflammation and this trait has been proven to help to reduce symptoms of pre-menstrual tension.
In a study of 150 women, who took 1 gram of ginger powered per day, for the first 3 days of their menstrual period, each month. 9
They compared 250mg of ginger, in capsule form, against 250mg of as mefenamic acid and also against 400mg of ibuprofen; in each case taken four times a day. Each produced the same level of relief, suggesting that ginger is just as effective as mefanamic acid or ibuprofen in reducing symptoms of menstrual tension!
Ginger Boost Yang Energy in The Body
This information is anecdotal rather than backed by scientific research, but any Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) practitioner, will back this up. Ginger is strongly yang in nature (if you want to understand this in greater detail take a look at this article), which means that it gives the body a charge of energy. When the body is low in energy, we say it is deficient, so ginger will act as a pick-me-up or tonic, as it where, and help to energise anyone who is feeling worn out.
These feelings of been worn down can be roughly characterised by fatigue combined with a tendency for feeling cold, possible achy sore knees and lower back pain or a dull ache in the lower back. In which case a helping a ginger, three times a day, as in ginger tea over a period of a few weeks will work wonder!
But also bear in mind that if you feel hot, most of the time, and suffer from nights sweats, anxiety feelings and possible paranoia, that in this case you are probably yang energy deficient. In which case ginger would actually simply put in more heat into an already hot body, resulting in a worsening of the symptoms!
Ginger as a Tonic
Getting back to ginger as a tonic. Except in the situation noted above, ginger is a great tonic, and should really be a mainstay of anyone’s diet!
It doesn’t matter if you eat it raw, or take it cooked or in pill form, just take it. While raw, is always best, don’t worry about that, just get into the habit of imbibing some ginger on a daily basis, will produce the great benefits, which we have seen above.
How to take Ginger
Ginger is extremely common and often comes as a powder or in paste form, but by far the most potent form of ginger as a raw herb. Ginger can easily be added to foods and cooked, and probably one of the most effective and nice tasting ways to take ginger is as a tea infusion.
How to make Ginger Tea:
- Pour the required number of teacups of water into a pan and boil.
- Add four slice of ginger per cup of water and simmer for five minutes.
- Strain and serve.
How to make Indian Styled Ginger tea:
The Indian people love tea and tea variations and one of them is ginger tea. In the case of India they like to make a regular tea, mixed with water and milk and simply add in ginger to taste.
- Place water/ milk in a saucepan (50% water and 50% milk mix) and mix one teaspoon of regular tea leaves per cup of tea, also add sugar as required, usually one teaspoon per cup.
- Add in the slices of ginger at the rate of four slices per cup.
- Bring to the boil.
- Lower the temperature and simmer for several minutes.
- Boil again and lower the temperature three times in a row, in quick succession: boil – cool, boil – cool, boil-cool.
- Then serve via a tea strainer, so as to filter out the ginger and the tea leaves.
Regarding frequency, ginger can be taken any time, a good rule of thumb been three times daily, but do try to source raw ginger and either use it for cooking or for tea, rather than the pastes or powers as these have been processed and will certainly be less effective than the raw herb.
- There is some evidence that ginger might slow blood clotting, so if taking medications, which slow blood clotting, such as ‘warfarin’ and ‘advil’, then ginger should be avoided.
- Ginger may reduce blood sugar, so for diabetics they have to be careful taking diabetic medicine along with ginger as it may induce low blood sugar. This is of course a good thing and diabetics should take ginger, but be careful as low blood sugar is potentially dangerous as it can result in the onset of a coma if not checked.
Ginger – All Round Super Food!
There you have it; ginger is an amazing super food. It boosts the immune system, it settles a nauseous stomach, and it reduces symptoms of inflammation such as arthritic conditions, dementia and menstrual tension. It improves blood sugar regulating and lowers blood pressure. It settles stomach problems and it fights off infections and it even acts as an energising tonic!
Ginger is so good for you, and also so tasty, and more than likely it’s sitting in one of your kitchen cupboards or in your refrigerator.
So like this series suggests, these are super foods in your kitchen, so get going and make a point if eating some ginger every day from now on. You won’t regret it!
- J Nat Prod.1994 May;57(5):658-62.
Isolation of antirhinoviral sesquiterpenes from ginger (Zingiber officinale).
- Ginger for Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy: Randomized, Double‐Masked, Placebo‐Controlled Trial
VUTYAVANICH, TERAPORN MD, MSC; KRAISARIN, THEERAJANA MD; RUANGSRI, RUNG-AROON BSC.
- J Cardiovasc Pharmacol.2005 Jan;45(1):74-80.
Ginger lowers blood pressure through blockade of voltage-dependent calcium channels.
- Arthritis Rheum.2001 Nov;44(11):2531-8.
Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis.
1Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of Miami, Florida, USA.
- Iran J Pharm Res. 2015 Winter; 14(1): 131–140.
The Effects of Ginger on Fasting Blood Sugar, Hemoglobin A1c, Apolipoprotein B, Apolipoprotein A-I and Malondialdehyde in Type 2 Diabetic Patients
- Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol.2008 May;20(5):436-40. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0b013e3282f4b224.
Effects of ginger on gastric emptying and motility in healthy humans.
1Division of Hepatogastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical Center, Chang Gung University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Saudi Med J.2008 Sep;29(9):1280-4.
Investigation of the effect of ginger on the lipid levels. A double blind controlled clinical trial.
1Department of Pharmacology, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran. email@example.com
- Drug Des Devel Ther. 2014; 8: 2045–2059.
Published online 2014 Oct 23. doi: 10.2147/DDDT.S67778
Ginger components as new leads for the design and development of novel multi-targeted anti-Alzheimer’s drugs: a computational investigation
- J Altern Complement Med.2009 Feb;15(2):129-32. doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0311.
Comparison of effects of ginger, mefenamic acid, and ibuprofen on pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea.
1Nursing and Midwifery School, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.