Ginger is a natural herb that is used across the globe as a spice. Due to the various health benefits of ginger, this herb also is considered a virtual medicine chest. Various studies have proven that ginger is highly effective for treating a number of health problems.
Ginger has anti-nausea, anti-spasmodic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral and antitussive (cough suppressant) properties that can do wonders for your health.
Also, ginger is a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and B-complex, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, iron, zinc, calcium and beta-carotene.
To enjoy the medicinal benefits of ginger, you can use it in fresh, dried, powdered, juice or oil form.
Here are the top health benefits of ginger.
1. Settles Upset Stomach
The carminative properties present in ginger can be used to calm an upset stomach. It also helps relax the gastrointestinal muscles, hence preventing gas and bloating.
Also, health experts often recommend ginger to treat stomach ailments such as dyspepsia or colic. It is also frequently used in the treatment of bacteria-induced diarrhea.
To improve digestion, try to eat ginger after any large meal. Ginger can also help alleviate the various symptoms of food poisoning.
2. Prevents Cold and Flu
Ginger boosts the immune system so it is used as a natural treatment for colds and flu. Moreover, ginger contains antiviral, antitoxic and antifungal properties. By inducing sweating and expelling heat, it also relieves mild fever.
Consume ginger several times a day when suffering from a cold or the flu. It will help detoxify your body in a natural manner, which will make you feel better and speed up the healing process.
You can also boil one teaspoon of ginger powder or two teaspoons of freshly grated ginger in two cups of water and inhale the steam to alleviate congestion and other symptoms associated with common colds.
3. Treats Morning Sickness
Pregnant women who suffer from morning sickness can use ginger to get rid of the problem. Ginger works like vitamin B6 in the treatment of morning sickness. Vitamin B6 is known to be effective in getting rid of pregnancy-induced nausea. Even when suffering from usual nausea, one can use ginger to get instant relief.
Chew on ginger, preferably tossed in a little honey, to get rid of morning sickness, motion sickness or nausea. If you do not like the taste of raw ginger, you can opt for ginger supplements.
4. Reduces Arthritis Pain
Ginger has strong anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat the pain associated with gout, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. According to a 2001 study, ginger extract was found to be effective in reducing the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.
To treat the pain, apply warm ginger paste with turmeric to the affected area twice a day. Also, include raw or cooked ginger in your diet.
Plus, you can add a few drops of ginger essential oil to your bath to help ease aching muscles and joints.
5. Prevents Cancer
From ovarian cancer to colorectal cancer, ginger has proven helpful. A 2007 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that ginger powder induced cell death in ovarian cancer cells.
Another study by the University of Minnesota found that ginger can also slow the growth of colorectal cancer cells and thus helps prevent colon cancer to a great extent. Ginger also has the ability to combat other types of cancer, including lung, breast, skin, prostate and pancreatic cancers.
6. Reduces Menstrual Pain
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and is a powerful natural painkiller, hence it can be used to reduce menstrual pain.
Women suffering from menstrual pain can use ginger powder or ginger capsules to get relief. You can also drink ginger tea. This will give you instant relief from the pain and tenderness from cramps that often happen at the beginning of the monthly menstrual cycle.
7. Treats Migraines
Research has shown that ginger may provide migraine relief due to its ability to stop prostaglandins from causing pain and inflammation in the blood vessels.
For a migraine, drink ginger tea during migraine attacks to block the unbearable pain and stop the associated dizziness and nausea.
8. Suppresses Cough
Ginger is a natural analgesic and painkiller, hence it can be used to soothe the pain and irritation of a sore throat. It can also help reduce coughing, especially when caused by the common cold. The pungent warming action of ginger helps eliminate mucus from the lungs that may be causing the cough
You can chew some fresh ginger root or drink ginger juice or tea to suppress a cough. You can also massage the chest and back with ginger oil to help relieve and treat a cough.
9. Promotes Heart Health
Ginger has long been used for promoting a healthy heart. It lowers cholesterol level, regulates blood pressure, and helps prevent blood from clotting, which in turn helps reduce the risk of various heart diseases.
High in potassium, ginger is great for heart health and the good amount of manganese present in ginger helps protect the heart, blood vessels and urinary passages.
So, include this herb in your regular diet to maintain good cardiovascular health.
10. Controls Diabetes
Ginger can help lower your blood sugar level and increase the effectiveness of insulin and other drugs used for treating diabetes. Experts recommend drinking one glass of warm water mixed with one teaspoon of ginger juice first thing in the morning to regulate blood sugar.
Various health complications associated with diabetes may also be limited to a great extent with the help of ginger. Regular intake of ginger may reduce urine protein levels, decrease water intake and urine output, and reduce the risk of various types of damage caused by uncontrolled blood sugar. This particular herb can also protect nerves in diabetic and lower blood fat levels.
To conclude, if you prefer natural solutions for the various health problems that you may encounter, then ginger is one ingredient that you must always keep handy in your kitchen. However, those who take heart or high blood-pressure medication should take ginger under the supervision of a health professional.
Side Effects and Precautions
Although there are many health benefits of drinking ginger tea daily, be aware that there are some side effects of ginger.
Consuming too much ginger in any form can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It can also lead to acidity and low blood sugar. It may also prevent a good night’s sleep.
Children under age 2 should not have ginger.
Ginger may not be suitable for people suffering from a blood disorder, gallstones and some heart conditions. If you are taking medications, consult a doctor before including ginger in your diet.