Although ginger is one of the oldest spices in the world, we are today rediscovering it’s many health benefits. The word comes all the way from the Sanskrit word singabera, which means in the shape of a horn. The word evolved in Greek as zingiberis, as Medieval Latin as gingiber and as Old English as gingifer. We can find it in the writings of Confucius as way back as 5th century BC. In fact Confucius said ginger is pungent, removes dampness, and reduces internal heat and fever, so eating a bit of it before meals aids health and digestion.
10 benefits of ginger
- Cold & flu. It helps when you are suffering from respiratory problems like cold and cough. It is a natural expectorant, that breaks down and removes the mucus.
- Strengthen immunity. It improves your overall immunity. It inhibits the fatty deposits in your arteries and decreases bacterial infections in the stomach.
- Nausea. Generations of sailors will state that ginger root can reduce the effects of motion sickness including dizziness, vomiting and nausea. You should remember this before going for your next trip. Furthermore it has been used to counter the effects of morning sickness in pregnancy. In fact studies have shown that between 1.1 g and 1.5 g can significantly reduce the effects of morning symptoms.
- Anti-inflammatory. It is both a powerful anti-inflammatory and a powerful pain killer.
- Menstrual pain. One of the main uses of ginger is for pain relief, including menstrual pain. A study has indicated that 1 g of ginger powder per day can reduce the effect of menstrual pain as effectively as some drugs.
- Diarrhoea and Gas. Since ancient times it has been used as a cure for diarrhoea. Also it is a strong carminative, which means that it indices gas elimination. It actually forces the gas to go down and out in a natural way and also helps prevent additional gas build up.
- Detox. It helps detox the body by promoting sweating.
- Sexual activity. It is known as an aphrodisiac and has been used for years to induce and enhance sexual activity.
- Bone health. It is known to relive joint pain. A recent study showed the potential of ginger for those suffering from osteoarthritis. It stated that the percentage of responders experiencing a reduction in knee pain on standing was superior in the ginger extract group.
- Digestion and absorption. It helps in the absorption of important nutrients into the body by stimulating gastric and pancreatic enzyme secretion. It also assists digestion and helps regulate any high sugar levels that may disrupt digestion.
How to use ginger
You can use fresh (organic) ginger or otherwise. You can easily buy fresh ginger in Malta, whether organic or not. Otherwise you can also find ground ginger in health shops and supermarkets. You can have it in hot tea (ideal for winter) with a little lemon and honey. Use it in soups or a little bit of grated ginger in stir fries. And don’t forget sweet things, like a ginger bread man!
This herb is important and useful not only for vegetarians and vegans, but whoever wishes to pursue a healthy lifestyle. Whilst this herb has as mentioned some remarkable properties, those individuals that suffer from gallstones should consult their doctor before using this herb.