Ginger – Ginger Root Benefits and Side Effects

Ginger root (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) has been used for at least 2,000 years as a medicine and as a spice or flavouring agent. This root is valued in India, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean and many other regions. As a medicine ginger is used in the prevention and treatment of nausea, colds, flu or influenza and vomiting, especially during pregnancy. As a spice, ginger has been used in biscuits, puddings, cakes, gingerbread, ginger beer or ginger wine.

This root contains vitamin B, choline and it has anti-emetic, anti-inflammatory and gastrointestinal effects. This root has antibiotic properties and acts as an expectorantAs an anti-inflammatory agent, ginger is used for arthritis. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger have been known and valued for centuries.  This is why ginger root is identified as an herbal medicinal product.

Ginger benefits

  • As a digestive aid ginger reduces colic, gastrointestinal spasms.
  • It is used in treatment of dyspepsia.
  • Ginger treats morning sickness.
  • This root is a must-have if you struggle with indigestion (it helps to stimulate the emptying of your stomach).
  • Ginger cream (external use) is used for mastitis.
  • Good for preventing and treating a migraine headache. According to Danish scientist, if you take one-third of a teaspoon of fresh or powder ginger at the first sign of a migraine, the symptoms will diminish, by inhibiting the inflammation messengers – prostaglandins.
  • It is an excellent remedy for sore throats, colds and coughs.
  • It could be used as a cholesterol-lowering, antithrombotic and anti-inflammatory agent (US National Library of Medicine)
  • It can help when there is a mucus problem. For example, it can contribute to relieving lungs of mucus or the sinus cavities.
  • It stimulates circulation. Ginger is useful for poor circulation to the hands and feet, it blocks the prostaglandins AND also has antioxidants that help break down inflammation in the joints.

Nice to know: it is possible to have adverse reactions such as heartburn and bloating when using ginger. People with gallstones or gastric ulcers should use ginger with caution. Avoid using ginger if the root is soft on touch or its skin looks wrinkled.  If you have a serious issue, consult your doctor before consuming ginger.

Ginger Tea or Fresh Ginger?

This depends on what you’re using the ginger for. Fresh ginger root is best for both flavour and nutritive qualities, but organic powdered ginger is an excellent alternative. Many people enjoy ginger tea. Simply chop off a couple of inches of ginger root and let it steep in hot water for fresh ginger tea. You can also peel the root and then slice it thinly (or grate it or mince it) to add to tea or cooked dishes.

When left unpeeled, fresh ginger can be stored in your refrigerator for at least three weeks.