What Are the Health Benefits of Fresh Ginger?

What Are the Health Benefits of Fresh Ginger?
What Are the Health Benefits of Fresh Ginger? (Image: nasirkhan:morguefile.com)

More than just a tasty additive to cookies and cakes, ginger has many health benefits. Ginger has long been used as a medicinal remedy in many Asian and Middle Eastern countries and is now increasing in popularity here in the United States. Southern Asian countries that use ginger in cooking along with other powerful herbs such as soy and garlic are documented to have lower instances of cancers.

What is Ginger?

Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) is a spice that originates in the tropical areas of Asia and Jamaica. It's most commonly referred to as ginger root in stores, although it isn't a root at all. The term "ginger" usually refers to the dried or fresh rhizomes of the ginger root. Ginger is now cultivated in America, India and China, and it is of the same family as turmeric. The stalk of the ginger root can grow as tall as four feet.

Gastro Relief

According to the April 2005 issue of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a double blind, randomized controlled trial showed that ginger works to combat severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. In the same study, it concluded that, unlike other medications used for motion sickness in pregnancy, ginger doesn't have any side effects. Ginger also doesn't cause birth defects as some of the medications do. Ginger is known to combat the most severe form of morning sickness in pregnancy called hyperemesis graidum, which can hospitalize women who have it.

Anti-inflammatory properties

People with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis benefit from consuming ginger on a regular basis. They have a reduction in pain and swelling and an increase in mobility. This is due to a compound found in ginger called gingerol. This compound contains anti-inflammatory properties that work well for people with these conditions. You may also benefit from gingerol if you have inflamed tonsils or nostrils.

Cold and Flu Relief

Ginger contains over a dozen different antiviral compounds, which help ward off and treat colds and flus. It also contains antiseptic and antioxidant properties to help clear out free radicals and bacteria. Ginger relieves inflammation of mucous membranes in the nose and throat. It also has a sedative effect, which will help you sleep during your illness. This is very beneficial since rest helps you to recover quickly, and because ginger is so concentrated, it only takes a little to do the job. Two half-inch slices of ginger in hot water for tea will be enough to soothe a queasy tummy. People who suffer with arthritis find that just a quarter-inch slice in food daily gives them significant relief.

How to use ginger

Ginger root can be peeled and grated over foods as a spicy herbal additive or added to beans to relieve flatulence. You can also juice it, and combine the juice with essential oils for massage therapy. Ginger can also be taken as an herbal vitamin at a dosage of 100 to 200 mg, three times daily. For added health benefits, you can also take powdered ginger at a measurement of half a teaspoon, three times daily. Since fresh ginger is so strong, no more than three half-inch slices should be eaten in a day, and they should ideally be spaced four hours apart.

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