Ginger- the “universal remedy”

           

             Ginger is one of my all time favourites. I cannot imagine starting my winter mornings without my hot and steamy ginger- cinnamon tea. Apart from making me happy and refreshed, lets see what is this small plant all about???

Ginger is known as the”universal remedy” in Ayurvedic medicine.  Ginger is shown to contain a whole pharmacy of ingredients with multiple heath benefits. Ginger is shown to have the ability to sooth an upset stomach and relieve nausea. It may also help in digestion by stimulating saliva. In one study, ginger produced better results then Dramamine in warding off seasickness. Gingerol, an ingredient which gives ginger its pungent and delicious taste, is listed in the USDA database of phytochemicals as an antiemetic, meaning that it has the property to prevent nausea and vomiting.  Several studies done in Denmark found that almost 75% of the pregnant women who used ginger experienced relief from their morning nausea without limiting side effects (Bowden,2007,p284-285).

The active ingredients of ginger are gingerols, shogaols, gingerdiones, and zingerone. These are also antioxidants. The zingerone and shogaol in ginger also have anti-inflammatory properties. Experiments done on mice showed that ginger extract lowered cholesterol, inhibited the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and slowed the development of atherosclerosis. Other animal studies done on ginger show that ginger possess antitumorigenic effects and helps boost the immune system (Bowden,2007,p 285).

Ginger is known to be an antimicrobial as well as antiviral agent. Several studies demonstrate the positive effects of ginger on gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, pain and fever. Ginger also has the ability to improve circulation. At the Deepak Chopra Center, ginger is routinely given as a remedy for cold hands and feet, even the Chinese and Indian physicians have done this for eons (Bowden,2007,p 285).

Ginger is shown to destroy influenza viruses. Ginger is also considered an excellent food remedy for colds and coughs. Dr. H.K. Bakhru recommends following home remedy for colds and cough:

      “Ginger should be cut into small pieces and boiled in a cup of water. Then it should be strained and half a teaspoon of honey added to it, it should be drunk when hot. Ginger tea prepared by adding a few pieces of ginger into boiled water before adding the tea leaves, is also an effective remedy for colds and fevers resulting from colds.” (Bakhru,2007,p 95).

CAUTION: Even though ginger has very few side effects, some things need to be mentioned as a word of caution.

Ginger is shown to have blood-thinning effect, something like aspirin, and because of this reason it is recommended that one be careful in taking it along with medications that prevent clotting, such as coumadin or even aspirin. According to the authors of The People’s Pharmacy, Joe and Teresa Graedon, Ph.D., “the combination of an anticlotting medication and ginger could conceivably result in unexpected bleeding.” (Bowden,2007,p 285). Ginger is also said to increase bile acid secretion, so people with gall stones and gallbladder disease are advised to avoid the herb or use it only under the supervision of a health professional (Bowden, 2007,p 285).

** The above information is for educational purposes only. There is absolutely no intension to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any health problems or diseases. Consult your doctor for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment, advice on diet, herb and exercise.**

 

References:

1. Bowden, J, Ph.D., C.N.S, (2007). The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,

Beverly,M.A.: Fair Winds Press.

2.Bakhru, H.K. (2007). Healing through natural foods. Mumbai, India: Jaico publishing house.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Bhavika on March 2, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Very informative article…. too much to learn…

    Reply

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