Zingiber officinale, or how it’s more commonly known, ginger, is a plant which first originated in Southeast Asia, and which comes with a host of health benefits.
The ginger plant is characterized by its narrow leaves and purple flowers, but it’s the rhizome, or the root of the plant, that’s the part that we use. Ginger root can be used fresh or dried and grated, as well as in oil form.
You may have used ginger in the kitchen previously, as it’s a common component of countless recipes, or as a home remedy to colds or nausea. That’s because ginger has been used as a medicinal plant since ancient times, and the health benefits of ginger are many.
Scroll down to see some of them.
1. Helps with nausea
Ginger has always been used as a remedy for an upset stomach, but now it’s also backed up by science. Research published in 2016 has found that ginger is an effective and safe remedy for gastrointestinal complaints, and can safely reduce nausea and vomiting for people going through chemotherapy.
The research also shows that ginger can be used to reduce symptoms of morning sickness, but some believe that taking large amounts of ginger can increase the risk of miscarriage in pregnant women, though that hasn’t been proven. Experts say that 1500 mg of ginger is normally safe, but in either case, you should always check with your doctor.
2. Reduces inflammation
The main bioactive compound in ginger is gingerol, which has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Inflammation can be both positive and negative because if you have an infection or injury it can help protect you from it by activating your immune system. But too much inflammation can cause diseases like fibromyalgia or celiac, so to tackle your inflammation it is advised to include anti-inflammatory foods, such as ginger, which have antioxidant effects into your diet.
3. Relieves menstrual cramps
Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties can also help relieve menstrual cramps. In fact, a study where women were separated into two groups, (where one group was given 250 mg capsules of ginger rhizome powder four times a day for three days of their period, while the other group was given 250 mg mefenamic acid or 400 mg ibuprofen capsules for the same time period), found that ginger was as effective in relieving cramps as mefenamic acid and ibuprofen.
4. Fights off flu or cold symptoms
Ginger also has anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties, both of which make it a powerful homemade remedy to fight off infections or colds. Just make a ginger tea by adding 20-40 grams of fresh ginger slices to a cup of hot water. Let it steep a few minutes before drinking. If you don’t like the taste, you can add lemon and honey, which are also beneficial when it comes to the flu and cold, so it’s a win-win. Ginger tea is also beneficial to reduce dry coughing.
5. It may help protects against cancer
Though the area of research on this topic is fairly new and needs further studying, a recent study found that ginger may contain anti-cancer properties, which are mostly attributed to 6-gingerol, which is present in raw ginger. The study revealed that 2 grams of ginger a day helped tremendously in reducing pro-inflammatory signaling molecules in the colon, and suggested that ginger may help protect against pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.
6. Helps regulate blood sugar
Improving your blood sugar levels helps lower the risks of developing type 2 diabetes. A study has shown that supplementation with ginger helped to significantly reduce the levels of fasting blood sugar in diabetes patients, suggesting that ginger can be used to regulate blood levels. Ginger then could decrease the risk of developing diabetes, or the risk of some chronic complications of diabetes.
Other uses of ginger
Ginger can also be used to help with weight loss as it accelerates the metabolism. in addition to that, ginger has several uses in hair and skin care like acne treatment, anti-aging, treatment of hypopigmentation, promoting hair growth and treating dandruff, dry hair, or split ends.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article: text, graphics, images, and other materials contained are strictly for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. Please always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with all the questions that you have related to, or about, a medical condition.