Ginger - Zingiber officinale
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is an herbaceous perennial plant from the ginger family. Its origin is in tropical Southeast Asia and today it is also grown in India, China, the West Indies, Nigeria, Australia, Brazil and the USA. The plant grows to a height of one meter, has long leaves and flowers that are borne on the tips of the stems. The part used for medicinal purposes is the rhizome and it is collected when the plant is 6 to 20 months old.
The plant has been known in traditional Indian medicine for thousands of years and in the West it has been known as a spice plant for about 2000 years. In the 13th century it arrived in Europe where it was used for nausea and swelling. The Spaniards brought the ginger to the American continent and the Portuguese to the African continent.
The plant has many medicinal properties and has a very strong effect. According to Western studies, it is known to be effective in treating nausea and vomiting and has a beneficial effect in treating inflammatory conditions of the skeleton. It protects the lining of the stomach and reduces side effects of other substances. It contains anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and antitussive ingredients. It improves absorption capacity and enhances the availability of active plant components to various body tissues. It is non-toxic and safe to use both as a medicine and as a spice in daily use.
Ginger has relatively low calories (80 per 100 g) and contains carbohydrates and some protein. In addition, it contains important vitamins and minerals such as calcium, sodium, iron, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, zinc, folic acid and a variety of omega 3,6 and 9 acids.
It can be consumed in a wide variety of forms, fresh, dried, powdered, oiled or extracted.
- Treatment of abdominal pain and nausea
Ginger contains substances that reduce the formation of gas in the stomach and helps soothe stomach upsets. It helps relax the intestinal muscles which prevents cramps and bloating of the abdomen. It aids the body in digestive functions and is also used to treat bacteria associated with diarrhea. It contains substances that encourage the body to produce bile and saliva which increases the movement in the digestive system. Due to the variety of abilities in everything related to the stomach it also helps in relieving nausea symptoms and is also excellent for morning sickness symptoms in pregnant women.
- Treatment and prevention for colds and flu
Ginger is very helpful in strengthening the immune system and therefore very effective in dealing with and preventing cold and flu. It knows anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-toxic components and helps eliminate toxins from the body through sweating and heat. Fresh ginger has also been found to be effective in studies against respiratory viruses. It is effective in reducing cough and the acute and hot reaction of ginger helps in breaking down sputum from the lungs.
- Reduces pain, anti-inflammatory
It helps in reducing the intensity of pain in the body. Contains anti-inflammatory substances and helps reduce inflammation in the body especially in the joints. Helps relieve muscle pain due to overload and relieves menstrual cramps.
Contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant components that have been found in studies to be effective in preventing and reducing the spread of cancer cells in the body. Found to be effective in cancer of the colon, ovaries, lungs, breast, skin, prostate and pancreas.
- Helps with heart health
Helps lower cholesterol and regulate blood pressure. It contains potassium which is beneficial for heart health. Reduces risk of various heart diseases.
- Lowers cholesterol
Studies have shown that it helps lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.
Ginger is rich in vitamins and minerals and it is highly recommended to include it regularly in the daily menu, whether as a wonderful spice that adds and upgrades the flavors, as a tea infusion or herbal extract.