Ginger is one of the most heavily utilised condiments in the world — it is a prevalent ingredient in cooking, particularly in Indian and Asian cuisine, and has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It is no wonder that the benefits of ginger are nothing short of spectacular. Armed with its peppery and zesty essence, this versatile spice is also renowned for its widespread health benefits, including relieving nausea or morning sickness, fighting inflammation and improving cognitive health, among others.
What is Ginger?
Ginger is a spice derived from the rhizomes of the plant Zingiber Officinale. Its origin dates back to more than 5000 years ago after the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius uncovered its healing powers. The Romans also regarded ginger as a symbol of wealth and fertility, and it is said to be so valuable during those days that a pound of ginger was believed to be worth the price of a whole sheep.
The numerous health benefits of ginger primarily stem from its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well as the presence of therapeutic compounds such as paradol, shogaol, zingerone and gingerol. Widely available in dried, fresh, capsule, powdered and juice forms, it is relatively easy to include ginger as part of your diet and tap into its glorious benefits for just about every aspect of health.
Ladies, we feel you. That queasy feeling is no fun. Regardless of whether it arises from morning sickness, pregnancy, chemotherapy or post-surgery effects, nausea is an experience everyone wants to avoid. Well, the next time you experience an upset stomach, reach into the kitchen cabinet and grab your hands on good old ginger.
Ginger has been proven to relieve nausea you might otherwise encounter when feeling seasick and is a proficient remedy for nausea associated with chemotherapy, pregnancy and post-surgery. In a comprehensive study involving chemotherapy patients consisting of both children and adults, ginger was reported to provide an effective source of relief from the nausea that accompanied those treatments. In another study, researchers found that ginger provided a similar soothing effect on cancer patients.
Based on these studies and scientific evidence, ginger is definitely worth a shot the next time your stomach acts up.
Soothes Menstrual Pains
We certainly hate that time of the month, don’t you? Unfortunately, adverse side effects such as headaches, cramps and pain often come as a non-negotiable monthly package for many women. While some may rely on over-the-counter medications for quick relief, natural remedies such as ginger work equally well in providing symptomatic relief for menstrual pain.
According to the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, ginger helps to reduce menstrual pain as efficiently as medications like mefenamic acid and ibuprofen. A separate study in 2009 reported similar findings where ginger was recorded to have reduced both the duration and intensity of menstrual pain.
Researchers have discovered that ginger contains an effective antibacterial for numerous drug-resistant bacteria in clinical applications, making it an excellent candidate in the treatment of many microbial diseases.
There’s more: In oral health, the medicinal properties of ginger are thrusted once again into the spotlight when ginger was found to inhibit the growth of pathogens that contribute to periodontitis — inflammation of the gums that is triggered by gum bacteria.
Diminishes Blemishes and Acne
You may be aware of the health benefits that ginger can potentially provide, but do you know of the beauty perks it has to offer?
Ginger not only possesses healthy superpowers — it helps to diminish your facial spots and blemishes as well. Ginger is chock-full of antiseptic and cleansing qualities, and helps to reduce the rate of acne and spot formation by actively killing bacteria deep inside the pores and on your skin’s surface. Those with delicate skin, fret not! Experts have labelled ginger as the best natural acne-fighting solution, so it works equally well for those with sensitive skin without the risk of any reactions!
Not only is ginger great for blemishes and acne, it also exerts a big influence in reducing the signs of ageing. Just as slathering sunscreen can help protect your skin from the sun, consuming ginger can help combat wrinkles and fine lines. Ginger is loaded with antioxidants, and these enzymes aid in minimising toxins in skin cells while increasing blood circulation, thereby helping to reduce the appearance of ageing.
How to Use Ginger
It is relatively easy to stock up on a tote bag full of ginger, as they freeze well. Ginger root is usually chopped, thinly sliced or grated. These are by far its best forms for versatile use in salad dressings, teas or stir-fries. With all the health and skin benefits ginger has to offer and the variety of ways you can consume it (concoction of whiskey and ginger ale does not make the list), hop on the ginger bandwagon and start including it in your daily intake now.