13 Benefits of Ginger Root and Ginger Tea for Your Health
Ginger has been known for centuries in many parts throughout the globe, even though it is widely believed to have originated from Southeast Asia.
It is essential to ancient Indian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern writings, and has long been treasured for its fragrant, gastronomic and therapeutic properties. While it was once a very costly spice since it had to be imported from Asia, it was nevertheless always in great demand. (1)
Spanish voyagers introduced ginger to Mexico, the West Indies, and South America, and in the 16th century, these places started exporting the herb to Europe.
These days, the prime commercial sources of ginger are Indonesia, Jamaica, India, Australia and Fiji.
Opt for fresh ginger instead of the dried form of the spice because it is superior in flavor and is packed with more potent levels of gingerol and ginger’s active compound called protease, its anti-inflammatory agent.
Fresh ginger root can be found in the produce part of most markets. When buying fresh ginger root, make certain it is firm, smooth and has no molds.
Ginger is typically obtainable in two forms, either mature or young. Mature ginger is the more available type, having tough skin that needs peeling, as opposed to young ginger, typically found in Asian markets which does not require peeling. You may likewise want to search the spice stores in your area, as they offer an extensive selection of dried spices and herbs.Ginger also comes in crystallized, candied and pickled forms.
Fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 21 days if unpeeled. It will keep for up to six months in the freezer. Dried ginger powder should be stored in a sealed glass container in a dark, cool and dry area. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 10-12 months.
Health Benefits of Ginger
Ginger is a Potent Cancer Fighter
As ginger aids common ailments, its effect on more severe health conditions are also impressive.
Ginger has been reputed to help fight ovarian cancer. Studies have shown that ginger can terminate ovarian cancer cells. (2) Besides helping to fight ovarian cancer, ginger also provides protective benefits for colon cancer by preventing the development of colorectal cancer cells. (3) A study showed that those consuming ginger root had less amounts of colon inflammation as well as inflammation of the intestines, which both decrease the threat of colon cancer. Furthermore, what is most impressive about ginger is its capacity to outdo hazardous cancer drugs and therapies.
Ginger’s Anti-Inflammatory Properties Help with Many Conditions
Ginger has some great anti-inflammatory properties, and is perhaps best known for this.
The anti-inflammatory elements responsible for considerably lessening inflammation are gingerols. These compounds turn ginger into a remarkable herb for many swelling health conditions.
Research has established that these compounds are responsible for lessening of pain in addition to enhancement in mobility for those with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. (4) Besides helping those afflicted with arthritis, ginger can also help those experiencing other diseases caused by swelling like diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, many cancers, and cardiovascular disease.
[Related: 15 Benefits of Bananas]
Ginger Helps with Heartburn and Acid Reflux Management
Countless people afflicted with heartburn and indigestion ought to give ginger a try as a treatment, rather than having to resort to the many expensive acid-blockers. These drugs have been notorious for raising risks of bone fractures, malabsorption problems, pneumonia, cancer, as well as Clostridum difficile.
Recent research compared ginger to acid blockers and astonishingly, ginger was found to be six to eight times better than the drugs. (5) Instead of interfering with or eliminating stomach acid barrier, ginger constrains acid reflux and manages strong proteolytic enzymes.
Ginger is a Natural Cough Remedy
Ginger is one of the most popular, natural cough remedies. (6) It is prepared by partially slicing it and boiling to guarantee potency. This process helps extract the active ingredients. Having ginger tea will comfort a sore throat, control incessant coughing and even ease congestion. It may increase coughing initially, but it will taper off.
Ginger Alleviates Sore Throat
Ginger is a natural pain killer or analgesic, which is why it is often used to treat a sore throat. Since it also has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, it may help fight whatever infection is causing the sore throat in the first place. According to ayurvedic medicine, ginger is considered a universal medicine used on all tissues.
Just like cough, tea made with ginger is also ideal for a sore throat. Simply boil a small piece of ginger root or even a few slices, then mix in some lemon or honey for a soothing concoction.
Ginger Eases Nasal Congestion
Experiment with having some ginger tea with honey and coconut milk. Besides tasting amazing, it loosens phlegm and provides a much-needed spike to the immune system. (7) In addition, ginger is a known expectorant, and will help in expelling the phlegm from the body that could be housing germs and bacteria. Ginger also contains shogaols, which are chemicals believed to kill cold viruses. (8)
Ginger Alleviates Stomach Discomfort and Improves Digestion
Ever wonder why we give someone who is seasick ginger ale? Ginger contains chemicals such as gingerols that help in relaxing smooth muscle. These include the muscles lining the intestinal tract, thus relieving stomach aches or cramps. Ginger root may also be used for nausea relief.
Simply grate ginger or place some sprigs of mint leaves and boil in water for several minutes. You can also mix in raw honey to quell a stomach ache.
Ginger Helps in Managing Headaches and Migraines
Ginger can be helpful in the management of migraines and headaches. It is particularly beneficial for fighting nausea that typically accompanies migraine headaches.
Mix a one inch slice of ginger with a tsp. of dried peppermint and a squeeze of cayenne in boiling water. Allow to boil for 15 minutes prior to drinking.
Ginger is a Home Remedy for Toothaches
Use ginger as a home remedy for toothaches. Many folks even report immediate relief from the pain depending on the ailment. This is due to the antibacterial properties of ginger which can heal swelling, redness, wounds and even minor infections associated with toothaches.
Simply rub raw ginger into the gums or boil a ginger root in water, which once cool, can be used as a mouth rinse.
Ginger Provides Pain Relief
Besides helping manage pain linked with swelling, sore throat, upset stomach, and toothaches, ginger can also help with managing sore muscles. The elements shogaol, gingerol, and zingerone in ginger are more efficacious than drugs for inflammation known as NSAIDS, according to a recent study. (9)
Ginger May Reduce Muscle Soreness
Feeling sore from a hard workout? Ginger may help alleviate any lingering muscle soreness so that you can get back to it as quickly as possible. In one study that had participants performing elbow exercises, consuming just 2 grams of ginger for 11 days showed a reduction in muscle pain. (10) Though more research has to be done on its effects on other forms of exercise, ginger may be worth exploring as a form of recovery treatment for eccentric exercise in athletes.
Ginger May Alleviate Symptoms of Radiation Poisoning
Ginger has been proven to provide significant health benefits against radiation poisoning. (11) In one study, results showed that ginger can help in the prevention of taste distortion and vomiting related to radiation poisoning. In another study where mice were administered high doses of ginger extract before being exposed to gamma radiation, results showed a reduction in the severity of symptoms as well as mortality rates. Additionally, the ginger-treated mice were protected from bone-marrow and gastrointestinal deaths. (12)
Ginger May Prevent Bacterial-Induced Diarrhea
In developing countries, bacterial-induced diarrhea is a serious problem due to the limited availability of potable water in some areas. In some cases, it has even caused death due to toxins released by bacteria. However, the compound zingerone which is found in ginger, binds to the toxins, thereby preventing them from interacting with the gut. This prevents the bacterial-induced diarrhea and resultant death. (13)
People all over the world have been enjoying the various health benefits of ginger for centuries. Isn’t it time that you perceive it as more than just a component for your cooking, but more so as a potent natural remedy?
Tips for Preparing Ginger
To peel the skin from fresh mature ginger, use a paring knife. The ginger can then be minced, sliced, or julienned. The flavor that ginger lends to a dish will depend upon when it is mixed during cooking. If mixed at the start, it will provide an understated flavour, while if added towards the end, it will provide a stronger taste.