Health Benefits of Ginger

The Pungent Healer

The Health Benefits of Ginger had its roots deeply embedded in history as long ago as King Henry VIII of England who thought it would protect against plague and the Roman military also keep it handy during their battles on the front line. But it was a Greek philosopher who touted it for digestive health and for good reason as there's plenty of evidence that this gnarled, piquant root can help relieve dozens of health issues. 

I was also convinced of the medicinal power of this root, so much so that during my Macrobiotics studies, I would recommend ginger to my friends, not only to ingest in food and drink but also as a hot compress to extract toxins from their bodies. I would grate fresh ginger in boiling water and after soaking a clean towel, place it on the infected area, particularly around the abdomen to help relieve stomach pains. The towel needs to be kept as hot as possible on the body and soaked again as soon as it gets cooler. The heat is an important aspect of the healing process.

Not only can ginger help soothe stomach and digestive complaints but the healing power of this root can also help in the prevention of motion sickness, relieve migraine headaches, arthritis, high cholesterol and even dangerous blood clots. And this is the reason why millions of people around the world swear by ginger as a potent healing food.


Ginger

Health Benefits of Ginger - Motion Sickness

If you've ever experience motion sickness even a mild bout as I had when a was a small child, it can easily derail the best-laid vacation plans, especially on higher grounds when the air is at its thinnest. A good enough reason to put ginger on nearly all your travel lists. So perhaps the next time you go on vacation, you may want to shop at your local food store instead of the pharmacy and stock up on some fresh ginger because ginger is one of the best motion sickness remedies you can buy.

Ginger supplements in the form of a capsule can also be used to reduce nausea and vomiting should you be travelling on board a sea-going vessel. Gingerols, one of the ingredients in ginger may be indirectly responsible for blocking your body's vomiting reflex.

To use ginger for combating motion sickness, take about 1/4 teaspoon of fresh or powdered ginger 20 minutes before getting in a car or on a boat. You can also use ginger to help relieve a run-of-the-mill upset stomach. Todo this, prepare a cup of ginger tea by adding three to four thin slices of fresh ginger to a cup of boiling water and then simply sip as needed.


Fresh Ginger Slices

Health Benefits of Ginger - Migraines

If you're one of the millions of people who suffer from those dreadful migraine headaches, ginger could come to your rescue and help keep the pain and nausea away. It's possible that ginger may short-circuit impending migraines without the bothersome side effects found in some migraine-relieving drugs.

It appears that ginger blocks the action of prostaglandins, a substance that causes pain and inflammation in blood vessels in the brain. While research is still in a preliminary stage, should you feel a headache coming on, you might want to try taking a third (1/3) teaspoon of fresh or powdered ginger and adding it to your tea.


Fresh and Powdered Ginger

Health Benefits of Ginger - Arthritis

If you're one of those people whose joints in your fingers are so stiff and sore that you can't even open the childproof cap on a bottle of aspirin, you may want to add ginger to your medicine cabinet. Research has shown that people with rheumatoid arthritis produced relief above 70 per cent. The same research also found that people with osteoarthritis and who have taken fresh or powdered ginger produced relief above 50 per cent.

There's a good possibility that ginger may ease arthritis in much the same way as it helps block migraines by blocking the formation of inflammation-causing prostaglandins that cause the pain and swelling in the first instant. To soothe arthritic pain brew a mild tea using three or four slices of fresh ginger into a cup of boiling water. You can also try taking 1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger or up to an ounce (about 6 teaspoons) of fresh ginger once a day.


Fresh Ginger

Health Benefits of Ginger - Blood Clots

It might feel strange but blood clots can be a good thing. For instance, when you cut your finger, platelets, that is the components in blood that help it clot also help "stick" the wound together so that it can heal. Yes, I know you knew that but these sticky platelets can also cling to your artery walls and each other. And that's not a good thing. When that happens, clots stop being beneficial and become something to worry about. Many people routinely take aspirin to help keep their blood clear of clots because if the blood clots in your artery walls, it could lead to strokes or heart attacks. You certainly don't want that to happen to you, ever.

The gingerol in ginger could come to your rescue here too because ginger has a chemical structure somewhat similar to that of aspirin. Although the experts aren't sure just how much ginger to take as an alternative, ginger may inhibit the production of a chemical called thromboxane, which plays a key role in the clotting process. So in all essence, getting a little ginger in your diet could very much be beneficial to your good health. I'll drink to that.


Ginger

Health Benefits of Ginger - Getting the Most

Use it Fresh

Ginger comes in a variety of forms including whole roots, dried, crystallised and powdered but it's always best to use it fresh because fresh ginger is more active than dried. Crystallised ginger is almost as good. It's best to buy the freshest ginger to get the most healing compounds. Avoid ginger with soft spots, mould or dry, wrinkled skin.

Use a Grater

Grating fresh ginger releases more of its potent juice than slicing or chopping. However, if you are making a fruit or vegetable juice in your juicer and adding fresh ginger then slicing or chopping will suffice.

Enjoy it Often

To squeeze the most health benefits from ginger, consume it as often as possible. You don't need to go ginger-crazy to get the healing benefits. Less than an ounce a day will do. Drinking a few cups of ginger tea or adding a small amount of fresh ginger to a vegetable stir-fry should be enough.

Choice the right Root

Whenever possible, buy ginger grown in Africa (I live in Africa) or India because these varieties are more potent than the common Jamaican kind. You can't tell the difference in gingers just by looking through. Ask the produce manager at your supermarket or health food store. He should be able to tell you which variety he is selling.


African Ginger

Health Benefits of Ginger - In your Home

If you've never used it, fresh ginger can look a mite mysterious. But don't let its golden-brown, knobby appearance throw you off. Fresh ginger is more user-friendly than it looks. Here's what you need to know:

Wrap and Refrigerate

Fresh unpeeled ginger will last for up to two weeks, as long as you wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an air-tight container. In the freezer, it will keep for up to two months.

Pare away the skin

There's no flavour worth having in the tough, light brown skin. So before using ginger, peel away the skin with a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife.

Cut it fine

to get the most flavour from fresh ginger, you want to cut, grate or mash it as fine as possible. Perhaps the easiest way to extract the juice is to cut a small piece of ginger and press it in a garlic press.


Ginger Root

Love Travel Eat Right - Disclaimer

Please take note that the information on this site is designed for educational purposes and is intended solely for general readership. The contents herein are not intended to offer any personal medical advice or to diagnose any health issues you may have. This information is also by no means a substitute for medical care by a licensed healthcare provider. For that, you'd need to consult your medical doctor or a health care practitioner for any advice should you require prescription medication.  

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