Ginger is the underground rhizome of the ginger plant with a firm, striated texture. The flesh of the ginger rhizome can be yellow, white or red in color, depending upon the variety. It is covered with a brownish skin that may either be thick or thin, depending upon whether the plant was harvested when it was mature or young.
Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. In herbal medicine, ginger is regarded as an excellent carminative (a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance which relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract). Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects.
Health Benefits of Ginger
Painful menstrual periods
Some research shows that taking 1500 mg of ginger in three divided doses daily for the first three days of menstrual periods can reduce menstrual pain severity and other symptoms. Another study shows that taking a specific ginger extract (Zintoma, Goldaru) 250 mg four times daily for 3 days at the beginning of the menstrual period reduces pain symptoms in as many as 62% of people. It seems to work about as well as the medications ibuprofen or mefenamic acid.
Taking ginger by mouth seems to reduce nausea and vomiting in some pregnant women. But it might work slower or not as well as some drugs used for nausea. Also, taking any herb or medication during pregnancy is a big decision. Before taking ginger, be sure to discuss the possible risks with your healthcare provider.
In addition to the countless other ginger benefits, it is also one of the most famous natural cures for cough. The ginger has to be partially sliced and boiled and to ensure potency, should be crushed a bit before boiling. This will help to draw out the active ingredients. Drinking ginger as a tea will ease sore throat, non-stop coughing and even congestion.
As with cough, upset stomach, and headaches, tea made with ginger is also great for a sore throat. Try one of the tea’s mentioned on this page, or boil a 1 inch piece of ginger root or a few slices, then add honey and/or lemon.
Try having some ginger tea with coconut milk and local honey. This isn’t only for amazing taste; it breaks up phlegm and gives a boost to the immune system.
Upset Stomach / Improved Digestion
Many herbs and spices are great for calming upset stomachs, and ginger is no exception. It’s the logic behind giving someone who’s seasick some ginger ale. Grate some ginger or pluck a few sprigs of mint leaves and steep in boiling water for a few minutes and enjoy with a spoonful of raw honey to subdue a bellyache.
Herbs like peppermint, cayenne pepper and ginger can be beneficial in the treatment of headaches and migraines. Ginger is especially useful to combat the nausea that often accompanies migraine headaches. To use the 3 herbs together in tea as a natural pain reliever, mix a one inch piece of ginger with a teaspoon of dried peppermint and a pinch of cayenne in boiling water. Allow the mixture to seep for 15 minutes before drinking. Sweeten only with honey or stevia.
Also among health benefits of ginger, using the spice as a home remedy for toothaches is something that has been passed down from generation to generation. Many people even experience immediate relief from the tooth pain. Try rubbing raw ginger into the gums or boil the ginger root, letting it cool and using it as a mouth rinse.