Ginger is one of the oldest spices in recorded use, mentioned in Sanskrit texts from ancient India over 3500 years ago! The ginger root is actually a rhizome, similar to turmeric and galangal, which means it grows horizontally under the ground.
Ginger- Benefits for Inflammation
The characteristic that makes ginger so beneficial for inflammation is its active compound called gingerol. Gingerol has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that are comparable to steroids, except without all the side effects! This “natural” steroid reduces your body’s white blood cell count by inhibiting proinflammatory cytokines . Furthermore, this spice also has natural COX inhibitors which are well known to reduce pain and swelling associated with osteoarthritis . It can also reduce your body’s levels of prostaglandins, which are chemicals that can cause uterine contractions during labor .
Since gingerol is the active compound in ginger, it is not found very abundantly in fresh ground ginger. You would have to eat approximately 2 lbs of fresh ginger root to get enough gingerol for the therapeutic effect ! Fortunately you only need about 1-2 grams per day to receive its benefits. If you drink ginger tea or use a powdered supplement then there will be more than enough gingerols available for relief!
As previously mentioned, one of the most common uses for this spice is as an analgesic. If you are feeling some pain from inflammation whether it be arthritis, headaches , nausea , or menstrual cramps , you can get some relief by simply adding ginger to your diet! And of course, if you use ginger for this purpose daily then perhaps you will never need drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen! Studies on arthritis pain indicate that 2 grams of ginger powder (less than 1 tsp) reduces pain levels by half within an hour. Also, it is speculated that taking small doses of ginger throughout the day may be even more effective than one large dose at once .
Ginger pairs well with many other substances such as turmeric, garlic, and lemon to make a delicious tea. But if you don’t have fresh ginger or any of those others then you can always get some ginger from your favorite supplement! The usual dosage for inflammation is one 500 mg capsule taken 1-3 times daily .
Ginger For Circulation
When it comes to circulation, you would want to take ginger daily for prevention purposes if you know that you are at risk for blood clots or heart attacks. If you already suffer from multiple ailments related to circulation then taking ginger daily will give you great relief! In one study, two groups of patients were given either ginger capsules or a placebo for 8. The patients who were suffering from arthritis or rheumatism, along with heart conditions , nausea, and fever all reported that ginger was helping them with their symptoms.
Ginger For Depression
Ginger also contains 5-HTP, which is the precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin . Many antidepressant medications work by increasing serotonin levels in your brain. Ginger may be an antidepressant because it helps increase the synthesis of serotonin , explaining why ginger has helped many people suffering from depression . You can get these benefits without resorting to expensive prescription medications!
Benefits for Digestion
Ginger has also been used in Chinese medicine for centuries to treat stomach pain , vomiting, bloating, gas , diarrhea , constipation , and even motion sickness . This is mainly because ginger helps increase the bile production in your liver , which aids in digestion. Its antiemetic effect (inhibiting vomiting) may be attributed to its ability to stimulate gastric motility (increasing movement of food through the digestive tract). Ginger also stimulates saliva production and gastric secretions; therefore it can actually help you digest your next meal! Many times it works better than OTC medications, especially for nausea!
Some doctors say that ginger is even more effective than Dramamine for curing motion sickness . Even though it is not known exactly how ginger works to prevent vomiting, some speculate that it has something to do with the gastrointestinal tract (the digestive system), which transmits messages throughout your body when there are problems with motion. This also explains why the plant is thought to be beneficial for constipation and bloating because it helps smooth out any issues in your gut.
For digestive disorders like heartburn, recommendations from practitioners say ginger can be taken in capsule form (500 mg capsules) or make a tea using 2-3 teaspoons of powdered ginger root steeped in hot water for 10 minutes before drinking. Some may wish to add honey.