For several thousand years people have been aware of ginger health benefits. It has been widely used both in cooking and for medicinal purposes. Ginger is available dried and in powdered form, though for the best results fresh ginger is preferable.
The documented history of ginger dates back around five thousand years. It originated in Asia and was used by the Chinese as a general tonic for many disorders. The Romans were supplied with ginger from India.
Following the demise of the Roman Empire, trade in spices was controlled by Arab nations and the price of ginger and many other spices rose considerably. For several centuries ginger was commonly available dried and powdered and was used for flavoring candy.
Ginger is unusual in that the beneficial part of the plant grows underground. Commonly called ginger root, this section of the plant is known as the “rhizome.” Pieces can be sliced off this root, and the rest can be stored for several weeks.
For those who prefer ginger in other forms, it can be drunk as ginger root tea or taken in supplement form with ginger pills or capsules.
The warming properties of ginger make it beneficial for a number of conditions.
Ginger health benefits include:
- Digestive disorders. Ginger helps to prevent a build-up of gas in the gut and can encourage the digestion of food.
- Ginger for nausea. Ginger is a recommended supplement for those suffering from motion sickness or morning sickness. It is a good tonic for an upset stomach. Thus, ginger supplements are a popular option when suffering from nausea.
- Inflammation. Ginger can help to reduce inflammation in conditions such as arthritis. In this instance ginger essential oil can be used as a topical massage to ease the affected area.
- Colds and flu. As a warming spice, another of the benefits of ginger root is its use in calming a fever and fighting the symptoms of colds. It works well as a decongestant, helping to keep the airways clear.
- Poor circulation. The warmth from ginger can help to encourage a sluggish circulation and may help to prevent the formation of blood clots.
- High cholesterol. Studies show that ginger can help to reduce the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed by the body.
Ginger root cures can be easily tried at home. Ginger tea can be made by pouring hot water over several slices of the root for a few minutes. For those who would prefer to try it with food, ginger can be added to many dishes.
A ginger supplement is also available and should contain shoyaols and gingerols, which are the active ingredients in the ginger plant.
When enjoying ginger health benefits, care should be taken not to use ginger root cures to excess. Too much can aggravate the conditions you are trying to relieve.
Those on blood thinning medications should avoid it, as it has blood thinning properties of its own. Too much ginger root can also lead to heartburn. Anyone in doubt should first consult their healthcare provider for advice.