Zingiber Officinale – Ginger Health Benefits
Ginger (whose root is used as a spice) is native to South Asia, but is now produced in many countries worldwide. It can be consumed fresh or powdered in food. It can be taken as an oil, juice, beer, tea or as a capsule.
There are many types of ginger but the most popular type has a light brown skin and creamy yellow or light-green flesh.
Ginger has been used medicinally for thousands of years in various forms of traditional medicine. It contains hundreds of compounds, the major ones being gingerol and shogaol which have been deeply studied by scientists for their medicinal properties. The following are some of ginger’s scientifically proven health benefits.
Ginger relieves many forms of nausea. It is traditionally used to relieve sea-sickness because it is as effective as commonly used drugs. In research, it effectively relieved nausea in child and adult cancer patients undertaking chemotherapy and morning sickness in pregnant women.
Ginger is a well-known traditional medicine for pain and inflammation such as menstrual cramps. Research has found that it provides relief for muscle pain caused by exercise.. In one study, 150 women who took 1g of ginger powder daily for the first three days of their monthly period, reduced pain as successfully as those who took Ibuprofen and Mefenamic acid. In another study, 247 people with osteoarthritis of the knee took ginger and experienced pain relief, and needed less pain killers.
Ginger helps people who suffer from indigestion by accelerating the emptying of the stomach after a meal. It also reduces flatulence, belching, and intestinal cramp.
Ginger has anti-cancer properties due to large quantities of 6-gingerol. There is huge scientific interest in its effectiveness as a remedy for a number of cancers. In one study, 30 people took 2g of ginger extract daily and their pro-inflammatory signaling molecules were reduced significantly. In other studies, ginger was found to be effective against pancreatic cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Ginger enhances brain function and delays age-related decline in brain function. In one study, ginger extract improved working memory and reaction time in 60 middle-aged women. Animal studies showed that antioxidants and other phytochemicals in ginger relieve inflammation in the brain and that way protect the brain from degeneration. So, it has potential to prevent neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
Ginger has many other health benefits that are too many to discuss in this article.
The following oral dosages have been used safely in scientific research:
- For nausea caused by drugs: 1g of ginger powder daily.
- For morning sickness: 625mg of ginger 4 times a day for up to 3 weeks.
- For menstrual cramps: 250mg of ginger extract four times per day or 500mg of ginger powder three times daily.
- For osteoarthritis: 250mg of ginger extract four times daily.
Ginger can thin the blood therefore it should be stopped two weeks before surgery. Avoid it if you are taking anticoagulant medication or if you have bleeding disorders. Few people suffered diarrhea, heartburn and irritation in and around the mouth after taking ginger in large amounts, so take small amounts.