While the origin of Ginger is not known exactly, it’s thought to have been first grown by the Chinese. Ginger was placed on the counters at pubs in 19th century England, where it was handy for patrons to add to their drinks, and this was apparently the introduction of ginger ale! And aside from this nugget of information about this herb, it’s good to know that ginger also has some medicinal properties.
For instance, Ginger has been used to treat nausea, motion sickness and vomiting, and it also has a long history of use for all types of digestive upset. It can be helpful to increase appetite as well.
Powdered dried ginger root is made into capsules for medicinal use. Although it has reportedly been very effective against all forms of nausea, including its prevention, health officials do not recommend taking ginger root for morning sickness commonly associated with pregnancy.
Research has also found ginger to be a powerful antioxidant, and to have a role in the natural inflammatory response of the body. In India, for example, ginger is applied as a paste to the temples to relieve headaches. Ginger has also been commonly used to treat inflammation.
There are several studies that demonstrate positive results with reducing joint pain from arthritis and other inflammatory disorders because the anti-inflammatory properties associated with ginger tend to lessen the pain of arthritis sufferers. It may also have blood thinning and cholesterol lowering properties, making it effective in treating heart disease.
Other benefits of Ginger include the compound known as cineole, which may help to reduce stress, and it is also used for people suffering from gallstones because the herb promotes the release of bile from the gall bladder. Ginger is also said to aid in the treatment of respiratory infections.
Results in animal trials showed that ginger seems to prevent or slow the rate of tumor growth in cancer. Another study showed that rats given ginger and then subjected to chemicals that induce cancer had a significant reduction in the disease than the control rats.
In a research study reported in the International Journal of Obesity in October 1992, Ginger was shown to have aided in weight loss by calorie burning. The researchers conducting the study found that ginger made the tissues use more energy.
As you can see, Ginger is very safe for a variety of complaints, and an occasional case of heartburn seems to be the only documented side effect. But for those who suffer from low stamina, cold symptoms, nausea, vomiting, cramps, motion sickness, or need healing for minor burns or skin inflammations, it might be worth the risk.
While the health benefits of ginger are many, its efficacy is more potent when purchased fresh. Grating or using a garlic press will give you the maximum benefits of ginger.