The original locations of Zingiber officinale, or Ginger, is debatable but its most historical medicinal and spiritual uses stem from Southeast Asia, India and China. These regions have used ginger as a tonic for over 5000 years. The Roman empire particularly valued it for its medicinal properties. Arab merchants controlled the trade of ginger after the fall of the Roman Empire. It became a very valuable commodity. A pound of ginger costs the same as a sheep in the 13th century. Ginger is now globally known.

Ginger has many health promoting constituents, particularly gingerols being more prominent in fresh ginger and shogaols more prominent in dry ginger.

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Ginger is well known for supporting the digestive system. It increases saliva and other digestive fluids. It aids in relieving indigestion, gas and bloating. It helps to relax the intestinal tract, which can be great for reducing intestinal spasmodic activity. This action can ease abdominal pains and help eliminate flatulence. It can support reduction of nausea from pregnancy morning sickness, motion sickness, and following chemotherapy.

Ginger has a hot pungent flavor and is very warming. Some traditional medicine or holistic health approaches, such as Ayurveda, pay attention to these heating or cooling properties of foods and herbs, and match them with the constitution of the individual. Many people who have chronic digestive issues tend to run on the cold side and may even have an aversion to cold. Ginger can help to warm them up, improve what is called the ‘digestive fire,’ and thus enhance digestion.

It is a great anti-inflammatory. Digestive issues and joint or muscle pains can have inflammatory components, and ginger can be a great way to reduce this inflammation. Studies have suggested effectiveness for osteoarthritis, rheumatism, and menstrual pain.

People with migraines can have obvious to unnoticeable accompanying digestive problems and inflammation. Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet and consuming ginger may contribute to the restoration of balance within the digestive system and inflammation reduction, which then may help to reduce the occurrence and severity of migraines.

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Ginger has been used for colds and flus. Ginger with honey and lemon is known to help soothe a sore throat. It is great to include in a hot tea to support immune health.

Ginger has a very high level of total antioxidants and has been reported to decrease age-related oxidative stress markers. Oxidative damage has been linked to a number of conditions, including cancer and compromised kidney function. The more you can protect your body with antioxidant compounds, the better you may be able to fight certain types of cancers as well as preserve your kidney function.

The gingerols of ginger help to prevent abnormal blood coagulation and thereby improve circulation within the body. This circulation benefit is also why it has been used for libido enhancement. Ginger may potentially support reduction of blood pressure, atherosclerotic lesion areas, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol. It has also demonstrated fibrinolytic activity. Fibrinolytic activity can be beneficial for improving blood flow and addressing conditions where sclerosis is involved.

Ginger has been used in South Asia to treat dementia for centuries. Furthermore, protecting the kidneys as previously mentioned may offset the type of dementia that can be caused by low kidney function.

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Ginger has been shown to prevent airway contraction and suppress allergic reactions, thereby potentially reducing the symptoms of asthma. It can also promote better glucose tolerance, suggesting that it may aid in regulating blood sugar.

Different cultures may prepare ginger differently. It is easy to think about just getting some ginger tea bags from the store, but they are not as potent, so I instruct some of my clients to use fresh ginger to make hot tea.  Here are instructions for one version of ginger tea:

  • This recipe is for 1 cup: Thinly slice one inch of fresh ginger (remove skin). Crush a bit in a mortar and pestle if you have one, and pour the ginger and juice into 1.5 cups of water. Boil until it smells potent and the water is yellow. Then turn off the heat and it is ready to drink.

I have instructed other clients with digestive issues to make potent ginger smoothies daily to enhance their digestion and clear mucus in the sinuses.  Many people with digestive issues also have sinus problems.

Ginger can be used to benefit multiple areas of the body.  It has helped me and many of my clients.

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Click HERE today to schedule an appointment if you would like to improve your kidney function, reduce blood pressure or blood sugar, or support your digestive health.

 

Photo by Angele J: https://www.pexels.com/photo/ginger-and-2-lemon-fruit-128403/

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