The Therapeutic Properties of Ginger

Ginger is a versatile plant that originates in Indochina and is grown in many tropical regions. Worldwide there are many different varieties of ginger, although it is thought that the best ones come from India, Jamaica or Australia. Ginger’s medicinal properties have been in use for hundreds of years and it is a valued ingredient in many foodstuffs. Said to have been present in the “garden of Eden”, it is important that we do not lose sight of the hugely beneficial properties of this unique plant.

Taking ginger as a remedy

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Here is a selection of the uses of ginger taken orally as a therapeutic agent:

  • Digestive tract ailments. This is certainly the best known use of ginger.  It has been shown to stimulate the pancreas which has the effect of increasing the delivery of enzymes into the digestive tract. The result is a more effective digestion and absorption of food.
  • Intestinal tract infections. Ginger has anti-bacterial properties which helps to restore the natural balance of intestinal flora after an infection.
  • Nausea. Ginger is one of the best natural remedies for combating nausea. It has been used for combating motion sickness on boats, buses and cars. As it is a natural product it is safe for use by people undergoing chemotherapy and by pregnant women. Treatment, however, should not be started without consulting a medical professional and should only continue for a short while. Ginger has also been useful in post-operative nausea.
  • Stomach ulcers. This spicy root has a use in both preventing ulcers and curing them once they have developed. Helicobacter Pylori is an intestinal bacteria which secretes ammonia and plays a role in the development of ulcers. The anti-bacterial properties of ginger are highly effective in controlling the presence of H. Pylori in the gut. It also works to heal the ulcer by neutralizing the excessive stomach acid that causes ulcer irritation.

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  • Constipation: Ginger stimulates intestinal peristalsis (bowel movements) and helps to combat constipation.
  • Prevention of clotting: Ginger is good for your blood. It prevents abnormal clotting and so plays a part in fighting heart disease, thrombosis and angina.
  • Circulation in the extremities. Ginger promotes good circulation and can eliminate pain in the legs and fingers caused by Raynaurd’s disease.
  • Wound healing, after trauma and frostbite.
  • Flu: Ginger plays a role in reducing the fever, nasal congestion and joint aches caused by the flu. It eases the pressure in the chest caused by mucous accumulation but also works on the sinuses and aids nasal congestion.
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: ginger has been useful in receiving the chronic feelings of fatigue.
  • Anti-inflammatory and analgesic: it reduces inflammation and pain – for this reason it is useful for arthritis sufferers as well as those suffering from osteoarthritis, joint pains, or injuries.  It is also useful for individuals that suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.

Applying ginger as a remedy

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Infusions are popular and can be prepared from fresh or dried tuber. It can also be taken as capsules, smoothies, and essential oils for massage. It can be taken with other medicinal plants to strengthen the benefits and to get better results.

Preparing fresh ginger for use should be done by washing and peeling it well first.  Then grate or dice it before adding it to soups, sauces or stews. Alternatively, soak the dry root in water, broth or juice, and add it to your recipes.Grated ginger root can be eaten in sweets, curry, stir fries, pastries and sauces. Preserve ginger by treating it with sugar, salt and vinegar, or oil.  Then pickle in vinegar.

The most common means of consuming ginger is in an infusion. Add 85 grams of the root (peeled and sliced) to 700ml of water and a sweetener of your choice (honey, maple syrup or brown sugar). Boil for a few minutes. Alternatively, place the root in a bowl  and pour boiling water over it, cover and leave for 5 minutes.