Ginger is among the healthiest and most delicious spices on the planet. It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body and brain.
General information about ginger
Ginger contains gingerol , a substance with powerful medicinal properties. This flowering plant is native to China and belongs to the Zingiberaceae family. Ginger is also closely related to turmeric, cardamom and galangal.
The rhizome (underground part of the stem) is the part commonly used as a spice. This is often called ginger root, or simply ginger.
Ginger can be used fresh, dry, powdered , or as an oil or juice, and is sometimes added to processed foods and cosmetics. And when it come to recipes with a little heat, or warmth behind them, you will find Ginger.
The unique fragrance and flavor of ginger comes from its natural oils, the most important of which is gingerol.
Gingerol is the main bioactive compound of ginger, responsible for much of its medicinal properties. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Uses of ginger
1. Relieves nausea and vomiting
Ginger can treat many forms of nausea , especially known as morning sickness which is common in pregnancy. This plant appears to be highly effective against nausea. For example, it has a long history of use as a remedy to avoid nausea when travelling by sea , and there is some evidence that it can be as effective as prescription medication.
Ginger can also relieve nausea and vomiting after surgery , and in patients with cancer undergoing chemotherapy. But it may be the most effective when it comes to pregnancy-related nausea, such as morning sickness.
According to a review of 12 studies that included a total of 1,278 pregnant women, 1.1-1.5 grams of ginger can significantly reduce the symptoms of nausea. However, ginger had no effect on vomiting episodes in this study.
Although ginger is considered safe, talk to your doctor before taking large amounts if you are pregnant. Some believe that large amounts may increase the risk of miscarriage, but currently there are no studies to support this.
2. Reduces muscle pain and general pain
Ginger has been shown to be effective against exercise-induced muscle pain. In one study, consuming 2 grams of ginger per day for 11 days significantly reduced muscle pain in people who are constantly exercising. Ginger does not have an immediate impact, but can be effective in reducing the daily progression of muscle pain.
These effects are believed to be mediated by anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger appears to be effective in reducing the daily progression of muscle pain and can reduce exercise-induced muscle pain.
3. Relieves osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a common health problem. It is the degeneration of joints in the body, leading to symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness.
In a controlled trial of 247 people with osteoarthritis of the knee, those who took ginger extract experienced less pain and required less pain medication.
Another study found that a combination of ginger, putty, cinnamon and sesame oil can reduce pain and stiffness in patients with osteoarthritis when applied topically.
There are some studies that show ginger to be effective in reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis, which is a very common health problem.
4. Drastically reduces blood sugar and reduces risk of heart disease
This area of research is relatively new, but ginger may have powerful antidiabetic properties.
In a recent 2015 study of 41 participants with type 2 diabetes, they consumed 2 grams of ginger powder a day and managed to reduce fasting blood sugar by 12%.
He also drastically improved HbA1c (marker for long-term blood sugar levels), which led to a 10% reduction over a 12-week period.
However, keep in mind that this was only a small study. The results are incredibly impressive, but need to be confirmed in larger studies before recommendations can be made.
Ginger has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels and improves the risk of various heart diseases.
5. Helps treat chronic indigestion
Chronic indigestion (dyspepsia) is characterized by recurrent pain and discomfort in the upper part of the stomach.
Late emptying of the stomach is thought to be an important factor in indigestion.
Interestingly, ginger has been shown to accelerate the emptying of the stomach in people with this condition.
After eating soup, ginger reduced the time it took the stomach to empty for 16 to 12 minutes.
Ginger seems to accelerate the emptying of the stomach, which can be beneficial for people with indigestion and stomach-related discomfort.
6. Ginger powder can significantly reduce menstrual pain
Menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea) refers to pain felt during a woman’s menstrual cycle. One of the traditional uses of ginger is for pain relief, including menstrual pain .
In one study, 150 women were instructed to take 1 gram of ginger powder per day for the first 3 days of the menstrual period. Ginger managed to reduce pain as effectively as the drugs mefenamic acid and ibuprofen. Ginger seems to be very effective against menstrual pain when taken at the beginning of the menstrual period.