Ginger is an age-old world renowned spice, and has been highly valued for its numerous health benefits. Zingiber officinale, as it’s originally known is incorrectly referred to as “ginger root”. The section of the plant that we use to spice up dishes, experts say, is in reality the stem or the rhizome; it is native to the Indo-Malaysian rain forests. In terms of cultivation, ginger thrives in lush, wet, tropical soils.
The Asian cultures of mainly China, India and the Middle East have evolved many uses for ginger including incorporating it into sweets, and beverages such as tea and coffee. Ginger is well valued and cherished for its alluring fragrance as well as its essential oil which since ancient times have been extracted and used by perfumers. For over 2,000 years ginger has been used by the Chinese in herbal and aromatic treatments of various ailments such as inflammation, treatment and prevention of infections like flu, and diarrhoea, etc.
Ginger is a herbal food ingredient which experts have highly recommended for both cooking and as viable composition for so many traditional and modern remedies. It promotes the health of bones as well as eases joint pains. Scientists working in the University of Miami, USA did a study with several patients from various backgrounds and ages – who had symptoms of osteoarthritis. Having been weaned and cleansed form any form of anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications, the patients were divided into two groups a week later. One was placed on a placebo while the other was on ginger supplements.
Having gone through six weeks of intensive dosage the two groups felt improvements, but the group on ginger supplements recorded a notable pain reduction higher an above those on placebo – up to 63 percent of them. And the last test which involved the group taking a walk, showed a remarkable ease for the ginger group patients in walking a distance of 50 feet, an improvement twice as much as for those who were on placebos.
Ginger contains several distinctive very strong organic anti-inflammatory compounds found in foods. These days they have become what experts refer to as gingerols. These compounds have been known to directly ease knee inflammation with the pains that come with it; they also douse at source the debilitating effects of the inflammatory compounds – cytokines and chemokines so they don’t attack the whole body. Ginger is therefore able to deliver both therapeutic as well as preventive remedy against inflammation and pains that accompany it.
Thus ginger has proven from series of studies that it is able to treat and prevent sicknesses and diseases such as – in the treatment of diarrhoea, since it’s able to effectively avert stomach spasms and gas, which lead to this condition. Ginger has proven to be efficacious in the elimination of excess gas, as well as acting as an appetiser while aiding digestion.
The anti-inflammatory properties in ginger (gingerols) have been found to immensely benefit the gastrointestinal system, and further be capable of preventing cancers. For example, through the carcinogenic preventive activities of these compounds in the colon, ginger is able to therefore stave off the development of colorectal cancer.
Ginger also acts as a detoxifier and disinfectant by improving sweating – thereby helping to eliminate bacteria and viruses from the body. It has equally been found as a natural sex enhancer or aphrodisiac; it does this by enabling increased blood circulation, and flow to the mid-section. In addition, ginger helps women of child-bearing age by preventing and alleviating menstrual cramps. It will also reduce or prevent nausea especially with pregnant women.
A word of caution though, experts say if you suffer from gallstones, or have a history of gall bladder conditions, it will be good to consult your doctor before using ginger as a form of treatment due to its side effects on such conditions.