Do you want to protect yourself from Alzheimer’s disease? Or maybe you would want to prevent colon cancer, don’t you? How about getting some help in your weight loss endeavors? Wondering what is it that you are reading? Well, there is one ingredient that can help you do all of the above, and also help protect yourself from many other ailments!
It is nothing but the ginger root! The National Library of Medicine has stated that ginger root is used all over the world to treat nausea, loss of appetite and vomiting, especially after surgery. It also is effective in treating nausea caused because of cancer treatment, colic, stomach upset, flatulence, motion sickness and morning sickness.
Ginger is a herb that has been used as a spice since times immemorial. Also known as ginger root, it is basically the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale belonging to the family Zingiberaceae which also includes turmeric, cardamom and galangal. Ginger root has a rather irregular shape comprising of bulbous little joints from which small bumps grow. Fresh ginger root has a grey outer surface whereas inner flesh ranges from ivory, creamy white to pale greenish yellow in colour depending upon the variety. Over-matured roots generally contain fibrils running through its centre. Ginger has a peppery flavour with a hint of lemon and sharp aroma. Its pungent, spicy and aromatic smell can be attributed to the presence of essential oils and phenolic compounds such as gingerols and shogaols.
Due to its strong and spicy aroma, ginger occupies an important place as a spice, delicacy and even medicine. Apart from being used fresh, it is dried, powdered or pickled or used in the form of juice or oil. Ginger tea is a favourite in Indian household and a great remedy for battling cold and flu. It has been recognized by Ayurveda due to its medicinal properties. Nowadays, it is also being used in sweet foods in Western cuisine such as ginger ale, ginger snaps, ginger bread, ginger biscuits and ginger cake.
Ginger Health Benefits:
Ginger is considered as the ‘chest of medicine’ in Ayurveda due to its various health benefits. Its powerful therapeutic and preventive effects make it usable in the treatment of various ailments. Here are some of the medicinal uses of ginger.
1. Treatment of Respiratory Problems:
Due to its antihistamine properties, ginger is effective in treating allergies. It inhibits airway contraction and helps in stimulating the secretion of mucus. For centuries it has been used as a natural remedy for colds and flu. A teaspoon of ginger juice and honey is effective in relieving persistent cough and sore throat associated with colds. Ginger tea helps to get rid of congestion of the throat and nose. A mixture of fresh ginger juice and fenugreek is helpful during asthma. Ginger is also found to be helpful in treating stomach flu or food poisoning. This is one of the most applied ginger uses.
2. Chemotherapy Nausea:
Chemotherapy is a treatment recommended after the cancer surgery to eliminate the presence of cancerous cells so that the chances of recurrence of this disease can be minimized. Ginger root supplements are helpful in reducing the nausea induced by the chemotherapy when administered along with the other anti-vomiting medications. According to a lead researcher at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, Florida, Dr. Julie Ryan, more than 70 percent cancer patients who are exposed to chemotherapy radiations experience vomiting and nausea. Intake of ginger root supplement or juice before the chemotherapy reduces the nausea and vomiting symptoms as the ginger root provides anti-inflammatory properties to the body. It is also found to be effective in treating sensations of nausea associated with motion sickness or sea sickness etc.
3. Treatment of Morning Sickness:
Research has proved that ginger is as effective as vitamin B6 in treating morning sickness. Thus, it is often recommended to pregnant women for preventing their morning sickness.
4. Aids in Digestion:
Ginger aids in digestion by improving absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients. It helps break down the proteins in your food and prevents ulcers by promoting mucus secretion.
5. Menstrual Cramp Relief:
Taking ginger at the beginning of the menstrual period can reduce symptoms of menstrual pain in some women. Ginger tea with brown sugar is often used in the treatment of menstrual cramps in Chinese medicine.
6. Relieves Migraines:
Ginger has the ability to provide migraine relief as it can inhibit prostaglandins from causing pain and inflammation in blood vessels. Applying diluted ginger paste on the forehead provides relief from migraine headache.
7. Treatment of Ovarian Cancer:
Ginger root has a high level of antioxidants that can induce cancer cell death (apoptosis) and suppress certain proteins. Thus, it is a powerful weapon for treatment of ovarian cancer. Ginger powder induces cell death in all ovarian cancer cells to which it is applied.
8. Colon Inflammation:
According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan Medical School, ginger root supplement, when administered to the people suffering from colon inflammation, was found to be very effective in alleviating the condition. The co-researcher, Suzanna M. Nick, who was a part of the study has stated that a reduction in the colon inflammation helps to reduce the chances of developing cancer in the colon. According to the health experts, ginger root is one of the most inexpensive and effective ways of preventing the onset of cancer and improve the life quality as it eliminates toxic substances from the body.
9. Muscle Pain Due To Exercise:
A study carried out on 74 volunteers at a Georgian University revealed that consumption of ginger root supplementation daily reduces the muscle pain caused due to exercise by 25 percent. Two studies carried out on the effects of heat-treated and raw ginger root supplementations have shown that regular use of ginger root in diet helps to reduce the muscle pain induced by exercise. During the research, the participants were made to consume ginger supplements daily for around 11 consecutive days. When the participants performed heavy weight elbow flexors on the 8th day to induce minimum injury to the muscles of the arms, it was found that due to the heat treatment provided by the ginger root internally, the muscle inflammation and pain levels were considerably low.
10. Manages Glucose Levels:
Australian research scientists have suggested that ginger can lower the blood glucose levels in the body. Since glucose levels have a direct impact on your weight gain or weight loss process along with how lethargic or energetic you feel all through the day, regular intake of ginger root supplements in any form can bring a noticeable change in your levels of blood sugar. People who are more prone to hitting the bottom of sugar levels should always incorporate ginger root supplements in their regular diet to avoid such problems. Ginger has been found to be effective in reducing the incidence of diabetic nephropathy (kidney damage).
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