Ginger has been used to combat nausea, diarrhea, and bloating for centuries, and more ginger benefits are being discovered every day. Chinese healers have long known about the health benefits of ginger and have valued ginger for it’s medicinal properties. Chinese cooks have savored this pungent spice for the flavor it adds to foods. The active ingredients in ginger are its gingerols and shogaols, and it is these compunds that give ginger it’s amazing health benefits.
Nausea and Indigestion
Over-the-counter medicines and prescription medications work to help nausea, but can sometimes have adverse side effects. Ginger reduces nausea by smoothing the lining of the digestive tract. It is recommended for pregnancy and for chemotherapy patients because it is safe, and will not cause birth defects. The recommended dosage for chemotherapy patients is one gram before the treatment. For morning sickness, no more than one gram a day should be taking during pregnancy.
Control Pain and Inflammation
Arthritis sufferers can use ginger to help with the pain and inflammation of both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Ginger works by reducing the body’s pain-causing compounds called prostaglandins. Taking ginger capsules or rubbing ginger oil into the joints reduces stiffness and pain, and gives the user better range of motion.
For someone suffering with heart disease, ginger can act like anti-coagulants that thin the blood. Blood that clots too easily can cause blockage in the veins. This can lead to heart attacks or strokes depending on the clots location. For those already on blood thinners, care should be taken when adding a lot of ginger to the diet.
Taking ginger helps lower blood sugar and can be helpful for diabetics who do not take medicine for their sugar levels.
Having some ginger also promotes healthy sweating. There is a compound in sweat called dermicidin that helps to protect against microorganisms that cause staph or candida infections.
Ginger has been found to help destroy cancer cells in mice. Research is ongoing to see just how much ginger is necessary to help prevent cancer and to stop cancers from growing.
Tips for Using Ginger
Fresh ginger root works best, but using pills or powdered form is fine,too. It is important to use products that are standardized to provide the active ingredients gingerols and shogaols.
Two pieces of crystallized ginger can be eaten daily and provides ample amounts of ginger.
The benefits of ginger tea can be had by combining fresh-grated ginger, lemon, and some honey or sweetener. Ginger ale, made with real ginger and no high-fructose corn syrup, is another excellent way to add ginger to the diet.
Side effects of Ginger
Side effects are rare, but people with certain health issues should check with their physician before taking ginger for their ailments. Ginger is known to lower blood sugar and anyone taking medication in addition to ginger, runs the risk of their blood sugar getting too low.
Anyone taking Warfarin, Coumadin or aspirin to thin their blood should also use caution when taking ginger. In addition, ginger should be stopped before any planned surgery. It is imperative to tell the doctor when using ginger prior to surgery to make sure usage is stopped well in advance of the surgery.
Finally, anyone with gallstones should note that ginger thins bile flow. While this may be good for people without stones, people with them may find that the gallstones may move freely and could settle in the bile duct, causing pain and may lead to surgery.