# Tuesday, October 1, 2013
                 
Ginger Root
Ginger root is the root of the "Zingiber officinale" plant and has been eaten by humans for millennia. Ginger root is used as a spice and as an ancient "home remedy" ingredient that has been (and still is) widely used to treat a variety of symptoms naturally.

Mention of ginger goes as far back as the 4th century B.C. The Mahabharata, a Sanskit text, lists ginger as an ingredient in a meal. Ginger was highly regarded by the Roman Empire, making it a desired trade item.

Ginger is commonly used in two different forms: a ground-up powder and the whole root.

Throughout history ginger has been used to help alleviate nausea, stomach irritation and a host of other ailments. If you know someone who is into home remedies then chances are they have lots of ginger in their kitchen!
 

Health Benefits of Ginger Root

Just some of the health benefits of ginger root are:
  • Relief from nausea and vomiting. Ginger relieves nausea and vomiting due to surgical procedures, seasickness, chemotherapy1 and pregnancy (i.e. morning sickness).
     
    Note that the use of ginger during pregnancy to alleviate morning sickness has been debated by Western medicine. It is possible that ginger can increase the amount of bleeding during the birthing process, in which case it should be avoided just prior to birth.
     
    On the other hand, the Journal Obstetrics and Gynecology published a study in 20012 that found ginger root reduced morning sickness in pregnant women without having any adverse side effect.
     
  • Relief from arthritic joint pain and other inflammation. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory that helps to relieve arthritic and non-arthritic joint pains.
     
    Using ginger to treat arthritis is a controversial subject, with some arguing that it has not been proven to be effective. However, according to a 2001 study by The Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of Miami3 ginger was moderately effective (compared to a placebo) when treating osteoarthritis, an arthritic joint disease.
     
  • Gastrointestinal health and appetite. For centuries ginger has been used to promote a healthy gastrointestinal system. It stimulates a healthy appetite and also has been known to help with colitis, a digestive disorder most commonly caused by a poor diet.
     
    Ginger does this by helping the body to assimilate and utilize nutrients, as well as restoring the digestive system to a balanced state.
     
  • Relief of menstrual pain/cramps. Ginger helps to alleviate menstrual pain and cramps. Effectiveness varies, but generally speaking studies have show that ginger is just as effective as ibuprofen at relieving menstrual discomfort.
     
  • Thinning of the blood and improved heart health. Ginger root "thins out the blood" by reducing how sticky the blood platelets are. This helps to avoid blood clots and promotes a healthy heart and circulation system.
     
    However, caution is required if you are taking blood thinner medication(s) or if you are in a situation where excessive bleeding may be a problem (e.g. childbirth).
     
  • Immune system boost. Ginger also helps to boost the immune system via its antioxidant, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties that promote overall good health. Ginger is also known to decrease the production of cytokines which are immune-system chemicals that increase the chance of inflammation.
     
  • Cancer prevention and treatment. The use of ginger root to prevent and treat cancer (especially colon and prostrate cancer) has been hotly debated by the medical industry. Some sources state there is not enough empirical evidence to substantiate ginger’s anti-carcinogen properties.
     
    However, there are multiple studies that have been conducted by unbiased parties that have found that ginger is at the very least moderately effective when it comes to preventing colon cancer4 as well as treating it.
     
  • Type 2 diabetes and insulin sensitivity. A study by the University of Sydney5 found that ginger may increase the usage of glucose by cells without the need for insulin. This can help diabetics to manage blood sugar levels since glucose usage can be increased without relying solely on insulin.
     
    In addition ginger has been found to increase diabetic’s sensitivity to insulin while decreasing insulin levels.
     
    Caution: if you are diabetic make sure you monitor your insulin and blood sugar levels carefully if you start ingesting large amounts of ginger!
     

Ginger and Nutritional Information

Ginger contains many important nutrients that are critical for a healthy body such as:
  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Silicon
  • Vitamin A, C, E and B-complex
  • Sodium
  • Phosphorus
  • Beta-carotene
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Calcium
     

Ginger and Negative Interactions with Prescription Medication

There are several types of prescriptions that may not react well to large amounts of ginger:
  1. Blood clotting or blood thinning medications
  2. Diabetic medications
  3. High blood pressure medications
Always consult a qualified medical practitioner if you are taking prescription medication and using natural, medicinal products to make sure there are no negative interactions.
 

Conclusion

Ginger root has anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, anti-cancer and even antiviral properties. Use ginger to promote good digestion and overall good health!

General Sources:
  1. http://powo.science.kew.org/taxon/urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:798372-1
  2. http://www.naturalnews.com/ginger.html
  3. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-961-GINGER.aspx?activeIngredientId=961&activeIngredientName=GINGER
References:


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