Ginger is a strengthening food that has been used for better than two thousand years to maintain health in many Asian cultures. In ancient China, ginger was considered a gift from God and was commonly used to warm and cleanse the body.
Ginger has been thought to heal many ailments such as nausea, motion sickness, pain from inflammation, headaches, arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and digestive disturbances. Ginger is helpful in fighting against colds and flu, offers protection from heart disease and stroke, and can help to clear a sore throat. It has also been reported to aid in lowering cholesterol, inhibiting growth of the herpes simplex virus, and helping in the prevention of blood clots.
Colds and Flu
Ginger has been shown to kill the influenza virus by improving the body’s ability to fight off infection by boosting the immune system.
Ginger has been successfully used to increase circulation by increasing the muscular contractions of the upper chambers of the heart (where the blood from the veins is returned to during circulation). It has also been shown to be useful in lowering blood pressure and preventing internal blood clots. While stimulating the central nervous system, ginger aids in controlling the heart and the respiratory system. Another way ginger helps increase the circulation is in the reduction of serum cholesterol.
Relieving Motion and Morning Sickness
Using ginger is one of the most effective ways to relieve motion sickness. I have also found it extremely helpful in treating morning sickness, as have many other women. Try starting the day with a cup of tea made from a slice of fresh ginger root and a couple of fresh sage leaves steeped for five minutes, and serve with a teaspoon of honey. You can use this same treatment for motion sickness. Just drink a cup of the tea described above before leaving on a trip and repeat as necessary every four hours or so.
Eating fresh ginger root can increase saliva production, which aids in your digestive processes. Increased saliva also increases the digestive enzyme amylase. Ginger also contains an effective digestive enzyme – zingibain.
Taking ginger is great for the uterus, cleansing the intestinal tract, and easing cramps related to one’s menstrual cycle.
Using ginger to cleanse wounds will reduce infection and swelling. Ginger can also be used to heal boils and to help clear spots caused by chicken pox and shingles. Ginger can be used to sooth minor burns, sunburn, abrasions, warts, ringworm, herpes, dandruff, and athlete’s foot. For all of these treatments, just rub the afflicted areas with slices of fresh ginger root.
Ginger appears to limit the release of adrenal stimulation, which is very useful in preventing and relieving stress.
As a proven anti-inflammatory, ginger may be helpful for some who suffer from arthritis.
Ginger has been used in the place of aspirin for those who are allergic or who suffer from irritation of their gastrointestinal tract by the use of aspirin.
Ginger is widely available in 500 mg [0.5 gram] capsules. The daily dose of fresh root should not exceed 4 grams, and in a tincture one should take no more than 3.0 ml daily. Two to four grams of ginger juice or powder can be used for pain and swelling related to arthritis. You can make a compress or paste and apply it directly to inflamed joints. For menstrual cramps, headache, and colds, 2 tablespoons grated or several slices of fresh root can be added to boiling water and can be drank 2-3 times daily, as needed. Fresh ginger root can also be sliced, steamed, and the vapors inhaled (use in your vaporizer well in place of Vicks and/or other menthol products). Two to four grams daily can be taken for indigestion and nausea, or one can chew a ¼ ounce piece of raw root or crystalized ginger. As with many herbal remedies, full effect can take up to two months before being noticed.
Due to its anti-clotting properties, patients using anticoagulant therapies (like coumadin or heparin) should be very cautious when using ginger root – please seek the advice of your health care professional or an herbalist. Using ginger may also reduce the toxic effects of the chemotherapeutic agent cyclophosphamide.
While ginger root is very effective for reducing the effects of several chemotherapeutic agents and relieving nausea and morning sickness, using ginger root in capsule form is NOT recommended while pregnant. Also, patients suffering from biliary disease should not use ginger because of its tendency to cause bile to release from the gallbladder.
It is a good and wise idea for all of us to do our own research and to speak to our health care professionals before using this or any other herbal remedy in place of prescribed medications. Many health food stores have an herbalist on staff to assist customers and answer your questions. Please exercise moderation in all things, as this usually is the best course of action.