Ginger (root) has been used throughout the world as a therapeutic agent for centuries to treat common colds, fever, to aid digestion, treat stomach upset, diarrhoea, nausea, rheumatic disorders, gastrointestinal complications and dizziness. It part of the same family as tumeric, cardamom and galangal. It is consumed as a food, medicine or spice. It is low in carbohydrates, high in fibre and rich in omega 3 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid, antioxidants, micronutrients and lignans, which are a major class of phytoestrogens, which are estrogen-like chemicals .
Several studies indicate the therapeutic benefits of ginger:
It has anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, analgesic, antipyretic, antihypertensive and anti-ulcer properties and also offers some protection against radiation and chemical toxicity.
Osteoarthritis, acute gouty arthritis, joint and muscle pain and possibly rheumatic disorders are helped by ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties.
Asthma and Airways Problems
Ginger aids relaxation in the smooth muscle in the bronchus, helping relieve airways problems.
Benefits have been shown on mucosal tissue and in cancers of the colon, cervix, breast, lung, pancreas, prostate, endometrium, skin, liver and also leukaemia.
Ginger’s anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties show protective effects on diabetic liver, kidney, eye (cataract), neural system complications and possibly related impotence.
Inflammation / Neuroprotection / Autoimmune
Studies indicate that chronic inflammation plays a major role in the development of various neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, brain tumour, and meningitis; also inflammation related obesity.
Nausea and Vomiting / Pregnancy
Ginger is effective in reducing vomiting and the intensity of nausea both in pregnancy and during chemotherapy. It is one of the few herbs/spices to have been proven beneficial and safe during pregnancy, though there are some concerns regarding safe dosage.
Adding Ginger Your Diet
With so many healing properties, it certainly is worth adding ginger to your daily diet. If you don’t like the taste try starting with a tiny portion and increase it over time; else take capsules!
- Sprinkle the powder in soups, stews and smoothies
- Prepare tea by steeping an inch square of ginger root in hot water, or simmer gently for 5-10 minutes, add honey to taste – or drink packaged tea!
- Grate root ginger on a small round hole grater and add to soups and stews
- Make an oriental sauce by adding grated ginger to soya sauce, sesame oil and pepper or chilli
- Crystallised ginger can be used to prepare sweets
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