What is Ginger?
Ginger is a perennial plant which has originated in China. Ginger is distinguished by its yellowish or white flower with a twisting rhizoid. The rhizoid (ginger root) is the most useful part of the ginger, which is processed into tinctures, powders, tonics, crystals and flavorings. The rhizoid is not actually a root, but a subterranean stem. Since it grows underground, it has been known to be the root.
Because of various benefits of ginger from cooking to medicine, ginger has been popular and grown in almost all parts of the world. The plant has a distinguished spicy aroma, which is good for flavoring. It also contains 3% essential oils, which is beneficial in various ailments.
Top 12 Health Benefits of Ginger
Ginger, aside from its well-known role in cooking, has a lot of health benefits. The ginger root is processed to get the essential oil, which is used to cure certain ailments. Ginger contains the oils gingerols and shogaols. These volatile oils are responsible for its spicy aroma and health benefits such as:
1. Carminative Properties
Ginger contains essential oils that serve as antispasmodic and anti-flatulent. Ginger can be used to relieve gas pains, bloating or an upset stomach.
2. Antitussive, Mucolytic and Expectorant Properties
Ginger liquefies respiratory mucus and aids in expectoration. It also has a relieving effect on itchy throat thereby, limiting coughing episodes
3. Digestive Stimulant
The oils stimulate the production of digestive enzymes which help in the overall digestive function. Ginger aids in the digestion of fats, carbohydrates and proteins which reduces dyspepsia or indigestion.
4. Anti-emetic Properties
The volatile oils contained in ginger reduce nausea, vomiting and motion sickness by enhancing the digestive function.
5. Anti-ulcer Effect
Since ginger enhances the secretion of gastric mucus, it protects the stomach lining and prevents irritation and ulceration of the stomach.
6. Antibacterial and Antiviral Properties
Ginger oil also contains antibacterial enzymes that help prevent or treat infection. Ginger oil is effective in managing acne and pimples because it prevents further infection in the lesions.
7. Anti-fungal Properties
Ginger helps relieve fungal infections because of its anti-fungal action. Ginger can be pound to extract the juice and applied on the affected area.
8. Anti-inflammatory Properties
The most widely known benefit of ginger is its effect on relieving inflammation. The chemical component of ginger inhibits the synthesis of prostaglandins which are responsible for producing the inflammatory response. Ginger is effective in relieving arthritis, rheumatism and other inflammatory conditions.
9. Antihistamine Properties
Ginger reduces allergic reactions by calming the inflammatory response, reducing chemicals that produce allergic symptoms.
10. Antioxidant Properties
Ginger oils also reduce oxidative stress on cells limiting the production of toxins and free radicals inside the body. Ginger is one of the major components of antioxidant capsules that help slow down the aging process. Ginger also prevents certain cancers such as colon and ovarian cancers because of its antioxidant properties.
11. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Ginger helps in the excretion of bad cholesterol in the body. High cholesterol levels cause atherosclerosis leading to heart attacks and stroke. Ginger lowers the risk for these cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases because of its action in reducing the cholesterol level in the body.
12. Anticoagulant Properties
Ginger prevents excessive blood clot formation that may lead to thrombus (static blood clots) or embolus (circulating thrombus) formation.
Uses of Ginger
Because of the vast benefits of ginger, it has been used to relieve a wide variety of ailments. Uses of ginger include the following:
- Management for motion sickness, nausea and vomiting
- Cancer prevention and treatment
- Analgesic for minor aches such as headache, joint pains, rheumatism, arthritis and wound pain.
- Ginger ointment as remedy for pimples
- Heartburn, colic and stomach upset relief
- Cough and colds treatment
- Athlete’s foot and fungal infections of the skin remedy
- Prevention of dandruff because of its anti-fungal effect
- Menstrual cramps and migraine relief because of its antispasmodic properties
- Treatment for food poisoning because of its antibacterial and carminative effect
- Malaria treatment because of its antiviral properties
- Management for high cholesterol level
- Prevention of heart attacks and stroke because of its anti-cholesterol and anticoagulant effect
- Stress reliever
- Dissolves kidney stones because of its antioxidant property that results in stone dissolution.
Side-Effects of Ginger
Because ginger is all natural, it does not result in side-effects or adverse reactions. It can be safely used by children, pregnant women and the elderly.
Where to Buy Ginger?
Ginger is available in all supermarkets in the vegetables section. A fresh ginger can be processed at home depending on the use. Furthermore, commercially processed ginger is also available in various health stores as a natural remedy for the above-mentioned ailments. Ginger products such as ointments, tinctures, powder and capsules can also be bought online in certain health websites.