Ginger

Written by Slawomir (“Swavak”) Gromadzki, MPH

Do you know which dietary condiment is the most widely used in the world today? It may surprise you but it is Ginger. It is interesting that Ginger belongs to the same plant family as Turmeric, which fact may explain why health benefits of Ginger root are so extraordinary. It is said about Ginger that it has enough therapeutic properties to fill several books. Asians have used Ginger to cope with different health problems for almost 5,000 years. Also in ancient Roman Empire Ginger was regarded as the most valuable natural remedy due to its tremendous health benefits. There are over hundred different active ingredients found today in Ginger root. The most praised among them are Gingerols that act as powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Ginger is especially famous for relaxing and soothing an upset stomach, relieving nausea, morning sickness and intestinal gas, boosting immune system, and supporting joint, muscle and heart function.  Ginger may trigger an initial burning sensation in the stomach but unlike various hot spices it lasts only for a second, and it was discovered that through this mechanism it positively affects the inflammatory and pain pathways.

Recommended for nausea, motion sickness & morning sickness during pregnancy, stomach problems, indigestion, & constipation

According to the NHS (UK) website, “Ginger supplements may help to prevent symptoms of motion sickness and other types of nausea, such as morning sickness during pregnancy (very safe, as only a small dose is required)”. A 2009 study proved that “Ginger has a gastroprotective effect through its acid blocking and anti-Helico bacter pylori activity”. Researchers discovered that capsules with Ginger can actually speed up the release of stomach contents into the small intestines in people with delayed gastric emptying. It also relaxes the smooth muscles of the gut lining and helps food move along the GI tract, preventing constipation.

Prevents blood-clotting & helps enhance insulin sensitivity

Ginger has proved to have an anti-blood-clotting ability, thus helping to prevent blockage of the arteries in the brain and heart. Gingerols in Ginger are known to naturally enhance insulin sensitivity helping maintain normal body weight and blood sugar levels.

Promotes muscle & joint health, helps reduce menstrual cramps

In 2001, research showed that Ginger helped improve joint health by regulating anti-inflammatory responses. According to the 2013 study supplements with Ginger significantly reduced muscle soreness in athletes. Ginger has even been found to be very helpful in relieving menstrual cramps in women.

Boosts immunity & helps fight pathogens including fungus

By cleaning and opening up lymphatic vessels, ginger prevents the accumulation of toxins that make us susceptible to infections, especially of the respiratory system. A 2011 study proved surprising effectiveness of Ginger in enhancing immune function and killing certain types of pyogenes. Among almost 30 different plants tested in a Carleton University, Ginger appeared to be most effective at killing fungus. Because Ginger enhances bronchodilation, it may improve air flow and function of the respiratory system.