Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Be Healthy: Ginger


People have been using ginger for centuries. Ginger was originally found in Asia. It is a root that is now grown in other parts of the world. There are reports that Jamaica started exporting ginger in the 1500's.

It has been said to help provide relief for conditions as diverse as asthma, painful menstruation, migraines, indigestion and infection and is said to promote vitality and longevity. The health benefits of ginger include the following:



  • Cures Stomach Problems: Ginger root and ginger oil is often used for stomach upsets. It is one of the best remedies for indigestion, stomach ache, dyspepsia, colic, spasms, diarrhea, flatulence and other stomach and bowel related problems. Ginger or ginger oil is often added in numerous food preparations, especially in India, as it helps in improving digestion. Ginger tea is also used for relieving stomach problems. Further, it increases the appetite of a person.
  • Reduces risk of Cardiovascular diseases: It is strongly believed in China that ginger boosts and strengthens your heart. Many people use ginger oil as a measure to prevent as well as cure heart diseases. Preliminary research has indicated that ginger may be helpful in reduction of cholesterol levels and prevention of blood clotting. With reduced cholesterol levels and blood clotting the chances of blockage of blood vessels decrease thereby reducing incidences of heart strokes.
  • Reduces respiratory problems: Since ginger root and ginger oil is a good expectorant, it is effective in various respiratory problems such as cold, cough, flu, asthma, bronchitis and breathlessness. Ginger is very effective in removing mucus from the throats and lungs and hence it is often added with tea in India. The health benefit of honey and ginger in treating respiratory problems is well known.
  • Reduces Inflammation and Pain: Extract of ginger is often used in traditional medicine to reduce inflammation. Research has now proved that its anti-inflammatory properties can be attributed to the presence of the substance named Zingibain. It is analgesic in nature and reduces pain caused by muscle aches, arthritis, rheumatisms, headache, migraine, etc. Ginger oil or paste of ginger is often massaged on aching muscles to remove muscle strain. It is further believed that regular use of ginger leads to reduction of prostaglandins which are the compounds associated with pain. Hence ginger helps in pain relief.
  • Cures Food poisoning: Ginger is antiseptic and carminative. As a result, it can be used for treating food poisoning. It is also used for treating intestinal infections and bacterial dysentery.
  • Reduces Nausea and Vomiting: Research has proved that ginger root and its oil is also effective against nausea, motion sickness and vomiting. Usage of ginger may result in reduction in pregnancy related vomiting as well in women.
  • Alleviates High Blood Pressure: Ginger improves and stimulates circulation and relaxes the muscles surrounding blood vessels, facilitating the flow of blood throughout the body.
  • Lowers LDL (bad) Cholesterol: Ginger root extract can help reduce the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body, reducing the risk of developing heart disease.
  • Migraine Relief: Research has shown that ginger may provide migraine relief due to its ability to stop prostaglandins from causing pain and inflammation in blood vessels.
  • Ovarian Cancer Treatment: Ginger may be powerful weapon in the treatment of ovarian cancer. A study conducted at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that ginger powder induces cell death in all ovarian cancer cells to which it was applied.
  • Reduces Stress: Ginger oil, being an essential oil is stimulating and therefore relives depression, mental stress, exhaustion, dizziness, restlessness and anxiety.
  • Hair: Ginger is useful for hair care as well. Usage of the juice of ginger is useful in controlling dandruff.
Finally, there are a few notes of caution associated with ginger. Pregnant women should not use ginger in treating nausea during the first trimester and for people with gallstones, large amounts of ginger should be avoided. Again, people going into surgery or those who bleed easily should avoid ginger as well since it can cause bleeding.



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