Zingiber Officinale or Ginger as it is more commonly known, is a thick underground stem that can grow up to three feet tall and sprouts both shoots and roots. The ginger plant can be harvested year round and produces between two to five sections of ginger. When a ginger root has been broken off it is washed and left in the sun to dry and once dried it can be used for medicinal purposes or for many culinary delights.
Gingers Medicinal Uses
Ginger is one of the oldest and most commonly used medicinal foods.
The ginger herb was originally grown in Southeast Asia but nowadays you can find it growing in India, China, Jamaica and Australia . This is because their warm, damp climates are just perfect for ginger cultivation. The world’s highest production of ginger is however still in India and China , with half of it being grown on the Malabar Coast of India.
The medicinal properties of ginger include Gingerols, Volatile Oils and Zingerone, to name a few.
Taken at the first signs of a migraine, ginger is said to help reduce the pain and frequency experienced. Many sufferers find drinking Ginger Tea really helps soothe migraine symptoms. To make Ginger Tea, peel and grate fresh root ginger. Infuse it in boiling water and leave to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. The longer you leave it, the stronger the tea. Drink plain or if you prefer add a slice of lemon.
Ginger is most commonly used to treat nausea and sickness. Whether it’s in the early stages of pregnancy, after chemotherapy or to ease travel/motion sickness, taking a small amount of ginger eases the nausea at both the brain and the gut level.
Human studies have found that pregnant women suffering from severe vomiting, should take 1g of ginger daily for four days, to help reduce sickness. Pregnant women should consult their doctor or midwife before taking ginger and should NOT take more than 1gram per day.
For nausea take 2-4 grams fresh root ginger or 1.5 - 3.0 mls of liquid extract daily.
To stop vomiting take ½ teaspoon (1 gram) of powdered ginger every four hours as needed but do not exceed four doses per day.
Since the middle ages ginger has been used to help digestive complaints. Taking ginger helps overactive stomach contractions to ease, allowing food to enter the intestines. This can also help reduce the symptoms of heartburn.
To help indigestion take 2-4 grams of fresh root ginger or 1.5 - 3.0mls of liquid extract daily.
The antibacterial properties of ginger can also help prevent the formation of ulcers by removing the bacteria known as Helicobacter Pylori. This bacteria secretes ammonia that is responsible for most ulcers.
If your ulcers cause indigestion or nausea take 2-4 grams of fresh root ginger or .25 g to 1.0g of powdered root ginger capsules daily. Chewing a ¼ oz piece of fresh ginger will also help.
The infusion of a spoonful of dry root ginger and the juice of half a lemon in a glass of water, taken at least twice a day, helps eliminate the congestion in the chest caused by the buildup of mucus when you have a cold.
Equally, a sore throat can be soothed by gargling a glass of water with a spoonful of fresh root ginger and honey or lemon added to it. Once you have finished gargling, swallow.
Sinusitus or Laryngytus
The previous remedy can also be used to reduce the nasal congestion caused by sinusitus or also in the case of Laryngytus. Instead of gargling the mixture, add lavender or cinnamon and inhale.
Arthritis and Osteoarthritis
Ginger has long been used in traditional medical practices to help reduce inflammation. There is some evidence to show that people suffering from Osteoarthritis, find that ginger helps reduce the pain they are suffering from.
Ginger doesn’t just have to be taken internally to have an effect. People suffering with Arthritic pain can infuse root ginger in hot water and using a compress, apply it to the affected area.
The aching area can also be treated by massaging oil of blended ginger mixed with oil of almonds.
Ginger Products Available
Ginger comes in all forms, fresh or dried. Fresh ginger can be purchased and used to make tea and the herb itself can be bought in extract, capsules, oils or tinctures.
Many popular foods and drinks also contain this very common herb, things like gingerbread, ginger ale and ginger snaps.
How To Take It
Children under 2 should NOT be given ginger.
Children over two can be given ginger to help treat nausea, headaches and stomach cramps but it is important to ask your doctor to help you determine the correct dose.
No more than 4g of ginger should be taken daily, including from food sources. Pregnant women should take no more than 1gram per day.
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