Plants & Herbs: Ginger – Relevant Plant For Human Life

Ginger. It is a herb that is used as a spice and also for its therapeutic qualities.

The underground stem, the rhizome, can be used fresh, powdered, dried or as an oil or juice. In herbal medicine, ginger is regarded as an excellent carminative and intestinal spasmolytic.

Ginger is the underground rhizome with a firm, striated texture. The flesh of the ginger rhizome can be yellow, white or red in colour, depending upon the variety. It is covered with a brownish skin that may either be thick or thin, depending upon whether the plant was harvested when mature or young.

Botanically, ginger belongs to the plant family of Zingiberaceae, of the genus, Zingiber. Its scientific name is Zingiber officenale.

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, which makes it a good antiemetic agent. With its antioxidant activity, it has the ability to induce cell death and suppress certain protein, bestowing it with anticancer properties. Compounds found in ginger are also known to suppress allergic reactions. All these properties make ginger a powerhouse of health benefits. Here are just a 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 honey is excellent during asthma. Chewing ginger reduces nausea and vomiting. According to studies, ginger can treat sensations of nausea following surgery, and conditions such as motion sickness, seasickness, including symptoms such as dizziness, and cold sweating. It is also beneficial for nausea as a result of adverse effect of chemotherapy. 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.

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 your upset stomach with ginger. Its carminative (gas expulsion) property provides relief from bloating and gas and helps reduce flatulence. Ginger, when taken at the beginning of the menstrual period, can also reduce symptoms of menstrual pain in some women.

Ginger root contains a very high level of gingerol chemical and other antioxidants, which have the ability to induce cell death and suppress certain proteins. According to some studies, ginger can therefore be a powerful weapon against cancers.

Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. These substances are believed to explain why so many people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels and improvements in their mobility when they consume ginger regularly. Do you have arthritis-related problems with your aging knees? If you do, regularly spicing up your meals with fresh ginger may be the solution.

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.

– Richard Komakech