Ginger, or in Latin Zingiber officinale, is part of the Zingiberaceae family. This flowering plant originates from China, and is closely related to cardamom, turmeric and galangal. Ginger comes from rhizomes. A rhizome is a stem that grows horizontally underground and forms roots downwards while leaves and new stems sprout on top. Buds then form at intervals along each stem.
This plant not only added Cavour to our food, but also is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds, which is beneficial for our brains and bodies.
Ginger is a natural remedy for nausea. But it can also help to reduce the symptoms associated with motion sickness including dizziness, vomiting and cold sweating. Plus, ginger has been used to treat the nausea and vomiting linked with mild symptoms of pregnancy sickness.
One study from 2012 found that ginger could relive the side effects of chemotherapy treatment of vomiting and nausea. However, relief of feeling nauseous if only effective for up to 24 hours. That said, ginger is most effective at treating pregnancy-related nausea, such as morning sickness.
Ginger has been used for thousands of years for the treatment of digestive issues. In fact, researchers in Taiwan have found that 1.2 grams of ginger could assist with the stomach to release its contents in to the small intestines for people that have dyspepsia (chronic indigestion – where there is an ongoing pain and discomfort in the upper part of the stomach). For instance, taking ginger after eating soup could lessen the time the stomach takes to empty itself from 16 to 12 minutes.
Therefore, ginger is suitable to treat gastrointestinal problems such as bloating and constipation. That is since ginger helps to relax the smooth muscle in the gut lining and then aids the food to move through the digestive track.
3 Bacterial infections
Ginger is effective in enhancing immune function. This was a founding by a 2011 study that was published in the Journal of Microbiology and Antimicrobials. The study found that ginger was effective to kill bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. In addition, ginger is effective at treating inflammatory diseases in the gums, like periodontitis and gingivitis.
The reason why ginger is so effective at fighting off infections and bacteria is since ginger as the active ingredient gingerol. Gingerol is a bioactive substance found in fresh ginger.
4 Anti-inflammatory agent and painkiller
As mentioned, ginger has an active ingredient called gingerol. This is also a very strong anti-inflammatory agent. This substance is believed to assist people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis to reduce their pain levels and to improve their mobility, if consumed on a regular base. Osteoarthritis involves the degeneration of the joints in the body, leading to symptoms like joint pain and stiffness.
Ginger has the active ingredient within ginger, gingerol acts on vanilloid receptors that are located on sensory nerve endings. This means that ginger could be effective at easing exercise-induced muscle pain. In fact, one study found that taking two grams of ginger daily over an 11-day period could lessen muscle pain in people that performed elbow exercises. This is since the effects of ginger has anti-inflammatory properties.
In addition, ginger can be effective at easing pain associated with menstrual cramps or menstruation. In one study, 150 women were instructed to take 1 gram of ginger powder per day, for the first 3 days of the menstrual period. Ginger managed to reduce pain as effectively as the drugs mefenamic acid and ibuprofen. Still ginger could offer some pain relief, and people could then use less medication.
5 Ulcers and GERD
Ginger has been found to be useful to cure stomach ulcers, since the 1980s. But ginger was also found to be effective to treat GERD or acid reflux. In fact, a study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, it was found that ginger was eight time more effective than leading drugs to treat acid reflux such as Prevacid.
6 Heart disease and stroke
The super food ginger, like garlic and onions have anti-blood-clotting ability. If these food items are combined then ginger becomes a powerful weapon to prevent heart attacks and even a stroke.
That is since ginger taken regularly could lead to a 28 percent reduction in the ApoB/ApoA-I ratio, and a 23% decrease in markers for oxidized lipoproteins. These two markers are both key risk factors for heart disease.
To prevent heart disease you need to make sure that your cholesterol levels are right. What ginger does is to help to lower your cholesterol levels. More importantly, ginger helps to lower the bad cholesterol that are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
Ginger could be effective as it contains powerful anti-diabetic properties. In fact, a study conducted in 2015 that focused on a sample of 41 people that had type 2 diabetes, just two gram of ginger powder daily was effective as lowering fasting blood sugar 11 percent. More so, ginger improved the marker for long-term blood sugar levels, namely HbA1c, by 1- percent over a 12-week period.
Risks and safety concerns
Ginger is actually very safe to be used for a broad range of complaints. It can be taken in a concentrated capsule form, eaten fresh or sipped as a tea or ginger ale.
However, ginger has a reasonable amount of oxalate. Individuals with a history of oxalate-containing kidney stones should avoid over consuming ginger. If you are unsure or concerned whether it is safe for you to take ginger always check with your physician.