– Ginger is a reed-like plant that grows to around three feet tall and thrives in warm climates. The woody underground stem, or rhizome, is harvested and used as a culinary ingredient or in traditional medicine. It is often referred to as ginger root, although it is part of the plant’s stem. Ginger can be found in many types of cuisine. It is used as a savory flavoring in Indian, Asian, Arabic and Caribbean cooking. In western cuisine, it is often found in sweeter foods, such as ginger biscuits and gingerbread. Ginger root can be cooked in sugar until it becomes soft, which is known as candied or crystallized ginger. Ginger is also the main ingredient in a variety of beverages, including ginger tea, ginger ale and ginger wine.
Ginger has been used for thousands of years as part of traditional medicine due to its anti-inflammatory and antiemetic qualities. In Chinese medicine, it is believed that ginger helps to rescue damaged yang by warming the energy channels. It is also used in the Ayurvedic tradition to improve digestion. Modern scientific study of ginger supports the use of ginger to enhance health and wellbeing. Ginger root contains a number of volatile oils, including geraniul, linalool and zingiberene. These volatile oils may have a calming effect on the stomach, helping to reduce feelings of nausea and aiding digestion. READ MORE ABOUT GINGER »
Several studies have shown that the short-term use of ginger may safely relieve pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting. Morning sickness, or the feeling of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, is common for some women and despite its name, it may occur any time of day. Some natural practitioners believe that ginger supplements can help to reduce the impact of morning sickness by calming the stomach. Pregnant women should always talk to their doctor first before taking any supplement to ensure that it is right for them.
There is some research that shows ginger root might also be effective in reducing the impact of nausea caused by surgery, chemotherapy and motion sickness. Conventional over-the-counter and prescription drugs for motion sickness can cause side effects, such as drowsiness or dry mouth whereas ginger does not. However, results are not conclusive and more studies are needed to support its use.
Ginger has also been used for treating pain associated with menstrual cramps. In a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2009, ginger root was found to be as effective as ibuprofen and mefenamic acid in relieving the pain of menstrual cramps in almost two-thirds of cases. More studies are needed to validate these findings.
Traditionally, ginger has been known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Some clinical studies suggest that ginger may help to reduce joint pain in individuals suffering from osteoarthritis. In a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2005, ginger was found to contain properties that are similar to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. But other studies have shown no benefit. It is unclear at this time whether ginger is effective in treating joint pain and osteoarthritis. Ginger can be found in a variety of different forms on drugstore.com. As a supplement, you can find ginger root in capsules or liquid herbal extract. It can also be found in a number of teas and as crystallized ginger. Before taking ginger root it is recommended that you consult with your physician especially if you are on blood-thinning medicines or have any other medical conditions. Ginger root can have an anticoagulant effect. You should read product labels and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider before adding ginger supplements into your diet. BACK TO TOP »