History, Amazing Health Benefits and Different Uses of Ginger

What is Ginger?

Ginger, with the scientific name Zingiber officinale, belongs to the Zingiberaceae family commonly found in Asia, Africa and also in tropical areas in the Americas. Its underground rhizome, also known as ginger root or simply ginger, has many colored varieties – red, yellow, white, but the genetic variation is not limited to colors, shape of its roots or rhizome, or the height of the ginger plant. The distinctness depends on where the ginger grows or is cultivated.

What are the Uses of Ginger?

Ginger originated in Southern Asia, specifically from India, and has long been used as a spice, food and beverage condiment, and also an ingredient for fragrances and cosmetics. The uses of ginger vary from country to country but for centuries, ginger has been used as a home remedy and traditional herbal medicine to treat various health related ailments.

Why is Ginger Good for You?

Ginger contains chemical components with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. And due to the medicinal values and other health benefits of ginger, continuous modern scientific research and clinical studies are conducted to unravel the potentials of ginger in treating myriad of diseases and identifying possible side effects.

6 Proven Health Benefits of Ginger with Scientific Support

1. Ginger as a Pain Reliever – The results of a clinical study conducted by researchers at the University of Georgia, published in the Phytotherapy Research journal, found that daily intake of raw or fresh ginger root can reduce muscle pain caused by intense physical activities like muscle exercises or cycling. It also revealed that ginger extract can reduce pain caused by Osteoarthritis and joint pain in people with Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A clinical trial by Toyserkan Azad University concluded that ginger can minimize the pain of females suffering from dysmenorrhea, a common gynecological disorder among women during the menstrual cycle. Women who participated in the test reported a reduce in the symptoms of dysmenorrhea. In another study done in China, the pain scores of the group that used herbal drug which contained ginger was lower, which further supports the efficacy of ginger in alleviating pain.

2. Ginger as an Anti-cancer – A study regarding the Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity found that ginger’s functional components like gingerols, shogaol, and paradols have properties which can prevent various types of cancers. Additional studies intended to explore this specific ginger potential showed evidence of Ginger’s anti-cancer efficacy and provided substantial evidence of ginger extract’s chemopreventive properties, suggesting albeit subject to further research, that “Ginger and its bioactive molecules are effective in controlling the extent of colorectal, gastric, ovarian, liver, skin, breast, and prostate cancers.”

3. Ginger as Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant– Fresh ginger’s anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties like gingerols, the pungent component of ginger, not only decreases inflammation but also strengthens the body’s defense by increasing the antioxidant enzyme in the body. An article published in the Journal of Medicinal Food provided the first evidence that “ginger modulates biochemical pathways activated in chronic inflammation,” hence confirming the long held belief as regards to ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties. And as an effective antioxidant, ginger helps balance the production of free radicals and compensates for the decrease of the antioxidants levels of the body called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can also reduce cognitive functions, therefore some studies suggest that ginger has the potential to slow or stop the progression of cognitive degeneration like Alzheimer’s disease and can also improve the cognitive function of middle-aged healthy women, further bolstering ginger’s potential as a cognitive enhancer.

4. Ginger Can Treat Diabetes – Although relatively new, a 2015 study was conducted to investigate the effects of ginger in type 2 diabetic patients and disclosed that ginger “…may have a role in alleviating the risk of some chronic complications of diabetes.” Furthermore, the study showed that Ginger can significantly aid in lowering the blood glucose level, and can decrease insulin and cholesterol levels. Ginger also helps diminish risks of heart disease or of some secondary chronic complications.

5. Helps with Digestive Problems – Ginger is used as a treatment for constipation, upset stomach (dyspepsia), ulcer, abdominal pain, and also indigestion as it promotes gastrointestinal health and digestion. In a study performed to evaluate the effects of ginger on gastric motility, a group of patients with functional dyspepsia participated in a double-blind test and the outcome showed that “gastric emptying” was faster after ginger intake, proving that ginger has a potential therapeutic effect and in mediating gastric motility.

6. Relieves Nausea and Vomiting – Ginger is known to reduce symptoms of nausea. Pregnant women normally use it to relieve nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (NVP) or morning sickness. A clinical study involving 1278 pregnant women confirmed the benefits of ginger in alleviating symptoms of pregnancy nausea and with the absence of negative side effects, ginger is considered as a viable alternative for women suffering from NVP. Ginger can also prevent or reduce other types of nausea like chemotherapy-induced nausea, vertigo, and even motion sickness and seasickness.

Ways to Prepare Ginger

33096034_mlIncorporating ginger in your daily diet in various ways – raw or fresh ginger root that you can slice and add to your morning smoothie, ginger powder or minced ginger to spice up your dishes, as ginger juice like our organic Ginger Shots in various flavors, or as ginger tea. Here’s a treat for your daily ginger consumption, our “Lemon Ginger Cayenne Tea” recipe!

What you will need:
1 Lemon Ginger Shot
1 Tablespoon organic honey
1/4 Teaspoon of cayenne
1 Cup water
1 to 2 Tea bags

Boil water & steep tea bags. Add the lemon Ginger Shot, honey, and cayenne to a mug. Pour the tea over the other ingredients, stir well and enjoy!

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References

Black, C. D. and O’Connor, P. J. (2010), Acute effects of dietary ginger on muscle pain induced by eccentric exercise. Phytother. Res., 24: 1620–1626. doi:10.1002/ptr.3148

Mashhadi NS, Ghiasvand R, Askari G, Hariri M, Darvishi L, Mofid MR. Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence. International Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2013;4(Suppl 1):S36-S42.

Mashhadi NS, Ghiasvand R, Askari G, Hariri M, Darvishi L, Mofid MR. Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence. International Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2013;4(Suppl 1):S36-S42.

Reinhard Grzanna, Lars Lindmark, and Carmelita G. Frondoza. Journal of Medicinal Food. July 2005, 8(2): 125-132. doi:10.1089/jmf.2005.8.125.

Azam F, Amer AM, Abulifa AR, Elzwawi MM. Ginger components as new leads for the design and development of novel multi-targeted anti-Alzheimer’s drugs: a computational investigation. Drug Design, Development and Therapy. 2014;8:2045-2059. doi:10.2147/DDDT.S67778.            

Saenghong N, Wattanathorn J, Muchimapura S, et al. Zingiber officinale Improves Cognitive Function of the Middle-Aged Healthy Women. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM. 2012;2012:383062. doi:10.1155/2012/383062.

Khandouzi N, Shidfar F, Rajab A, Rahideh T, Hosseini P, Mir Taheri M. The Effects of Ginger on Fasting Blood Sugar, Hemoglobin A1c, Apolipoprotein B, Apolipoprotein A-I and Malondialdehyde in Type 2 Diabetic Patients. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research : IJPR. 2015;14(1):131-140.

Hu M-L, Rayner CK, Wu K-L, et al. Effect of ginger on gastric motility and symptoms of functional dyspepsia. World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG. 2011;17(1):105-110. doi:10.3748/wjg.v17.i1.105.

Viljoen E, Visser J, Koen N, Musekiwa A. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting. Nutrition Journal. 2014;13:20. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-20.