What do you think of when you hear the word ginger?
Steaming tea, gingerbread and ginger ale are some things you may associate with it. The powerful health benefits of this "super spice" extend far beyond its tasty qualities.
In ancient medicine, ginger has been used for over 2,500 years. Today, people continue to seek its health benefits. The Chinese, Indian, and Japanese ginger plant (Zingiber officinale) has a leafy stem and a rhizome. Ginger's rhizome is the underground root where the spice and benefits come from. How does ginger benefit the body so much? Scientists have identified 100+ compounds in ginger that are likely to be responsible. Gingerols, which give ginger its pungent and spicy taste, are the most abundant compounds in ginger.
When traveling, are you prone to motion sickness? You're not the only one. Almost 30% of people suffer from motion sickness. Ginger's ability to treat motion sickness symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, has been studied in clinical studies and may support well-being and a calm stomach during travel.
Approximately 50–80% of women experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. The good news is that ginger may be a soothing, natural remedy for these symptoms. According to the National Institutes of Health, ginger has been found to be beneficial for mild nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has also endorsed ginger as a non-pharmacological option to relieve nausea. Although there isn't enough evidence to conclude that ginger reduces vomiting, talk to your doctor if you are experiencing morning sickness.
Consisting of cramping in the lower abdomen, menstrual cramps are also called dysmenorrhea. Quite painful, they can often interfere with regular activities. More than half of women of reproductive age experience menstrual cramps. But what is the upside? There's ginger! There is some evidence that ginger powder supplementation of 500-2,000mg daily for the first three to four days of a menstrual cycle may help alleviate cramps.
The evidence suggests ginger may have a positive effect on heart health, but the research is mixed and unclear. There has been some evidence to suggest that ginger supplementation may be beneficial for improving some blood lipids. Taking ginger at doses up to 2 grams daily has been shown to reduce triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, but no effect on total or HDL cholesterol. It remains unclear whether ginger can lower blood pressure based on the current scientific literature. There is a need for more high-quality research in this area.
It is believed that ginger may help osteoarthritis because of its medicinal properties. According to the NIH, however, there are not enough studies to conclude ginger supplements can help with knee osteoarthritis symptoms. Therefore, ginger supplements are not recommended for treating knee osteoarthritis.
Get Your Ginger!
How can you incorporate ginger into your daily wellness routine after learning how it benefits your health and body? The possibilities are endless!
Fresh ginger root is readily available at your local grocery store. You can chop or grate it to add flavor to sauces, stir-fries, soups, and salad dressings. Pick up ground ginger while you browse the spice section for a simple way to sprinkle it over foods and beverages. As well as pre-made snacks and chews, you can find it in candies, candies and drinks.
If you don't enjoy the pungent taste of ginger, dietary supplements provide a convenient way to consume it. Capsules and pills are available in doses between 500 mg and 1,000 mg per day. You can stock up on bulk ginger powder as a pantry staple. Those who don't like taking pills will find this a great alternative.
Ginger had a special place in our ancient ancestors' hearts. Modern science has now revealed why. Reach for ginger the next time you are feeling under the weather.