Ginger, with its strong and spicy aroma, has its own place in Indian cuisine. It may be used fresh or dried, powdered or pickled or in the form of juice or oil. Ginger tea, the classic Indian household favourite, is the most commonly used form, not to mention the ginger concoction given every time someone catches a c.
For thousands of years, ginger has been used for the treatment of innumerable ailments due to its powerful therapeutic and preventive effects. It has anti-inflammatory, analgesic,antioxidant, and anti-emetic properties. It helps to decrease inflammation, swelling and pain due to its ability to inhibit prostaglandin and leukotriene synthesis. It inhibits serotonin receptors and has the ability to break up and expel intestinal gas (carminative effect) which makes it a good antiemetic agent. Its antioxidant activity, the ability to induce cell death (apoptosis) and suppressing certain protein bestows it with anticancer properties. Compounds found in ginger are known to suppress allergic reactions. All these properties make ginger a powerhouse of health benefits. Here are few of them:
Ginger’s antihistamine property helps in treating allergies. It is also known to inhibit airway contraction and help stimulate the secretion of mucus. It is the herb of choice for persistent cough and sore throat associated with colds. A teaspoon of ginger juice with honey is effective against sore throat. And ginger tea is an all-time favourite to get rid of congestion in the throat and nose. Fresh ginger juice mixed with fenugreek and honey is excellent during asthma.
Treating nausea and vomiting
Chewing on ginger could reduce nausea and vomiting. According to studies, ginger can treat sensations of nausea following surgery, and due to motion sickness, seasickness, etc. It is also beneficial for nausea as a result of adverse effect of chemotherapy.
Preventing morning sickness
Some pregnant women may find ginger beneficial in preventing their morning sickness. But it is advisable to consult your doctor before taking it.
Remedy for loss of appetite
Fuel a dull appetite by eating fresh ginger just before you have your meal. Ginger can get your digestive juices going and increase your appetite.
Aiding in digestion
Had a large meal? Eat ginger. Ginger improves absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients and aids in digestion. It also helps break down the proteins in your food. Ginger protects your stomach against ulcers by promoting mucus secretion.
Calm in your upset stomach with ginger. Its carminative (gas expulsion) property provides relief from bloating and gas and helps reduce flatulence.
Reduce menstrual pain
Ginger, when taken at the beginning of the menstrual period, can reduce symptoms of menstrual pain in some women.
Applying diluted ginger paste on the forehead is believed to relieve migraine headache. The ability of ginger to inhibit prostaglandin synthesis helps relieve pain and inflammation in blood vessels thereby providing relief from migraine.
The analgesic and anti-inflammatory property of ginger may help reduce joint pain of arthritisin some people. To help relieve muscle and joint ache, add some ginger oil into your bath.
Ginger root contains a very high level of antioxidants. Ginger has the ability to induce cell death (apoptosis) and suppress certain protein. According to some studies, ginger may be a powerful weapon against cancers.