People have valued and used the amazing medicinal properties of the ginger root for centuries. Regardless of the form of ginger you use, it offers powerful anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-spasmodic properties that boost health in various ways.
Both, ground and fresh ginger are highly beneficial. Fresh ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants called gingerols and shogaols, with gingerols being prevalent, which reduce obesity and improve liver health.
The chemical composition of ginger is altered when it is dried and powdered, and the amount of shogaols increases. They are more powerful than gingerols in treating and preventing many health conditions.
According to the Journal of Chromatography B, the antioxidant activity of ground ginger is over 5-fold higher than fresh ginger. Moreover, boiling or roasting ginger for between 2 and 6 minutes boosts the antioxidant potential of ginger.
Ginger root is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, so take a look at the nutritional value of 100 g fresh, raw ginger root:
- 80 calories
- 17.7 g carbohydrates
- 1.82 g protein
- 2 g fiber
- 1.7 g sugar
- 16 mg calcium
- 43 mg magnesium
- 415 mg potassium
- 13 mg zinc
- 5 mg vitamin C
Now, let’s review the most important health benefits of ginger:
Nausea and Vomiting
Ginger is one of the best natural ways to treat digestive upset and nausea, as well as heartburn and abdominal cramping. Its main medical compounds, shogaols and gingerols, soothe the gastrointestinal tract and relieve symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Its consumption also reduces nausea and sickness during pregnancy and chemotherapy.
Anti-Inflammatory and Manages Arthritis Symptoms
One of the main anti-inflammatory properties of ginger, 6-Gingerol, inhibits substances and enzymes that cause inflammation.
Ginger extracts are highly beneficial in the treatment of pain due to osteoarthritis, and it has been found to be as effective as the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac. Gingerols and shogaols soothe inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, and its oral use provides similar effects as ibuprofen in reducing pain and inflammation.
Ginger has potent pain-relieving properties and is especially useful in the treatment of muscle pain after exercise. It also reduces the progression of muscle pain over a period of time and is as effective as ibuprofen.
Menstrual Cramping and Pain
This beneficial root has strong anti-spasmodic properties of ginger tea can help to relieve abdominal pain associated with menstruation (dysmenorrhea). A study has found that the use of 500mg capsules of ginger root powder three times daily relieves pain and abdominal aches in the first few days of the menstrual period.
Ginger strengthens the immune system and prevents infections. It has powerful antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory qualities, and is of great help in the case of colds and the flu.
Improves Heart Health and Lowers Blood Pressure
The regular consumption of ginger tea lowers blood pressure, as it is rich in flavonoids and other antioxidants. Studies have shown that 6-shogaol and phenolic constituents also lower blood pressure and regulate heartbeat, ad fight inflammation, boosting heart health.
Lowers Cholesterol Levels and Prevents Blocked Arteries
Ginger lowers LDL cholesterol and prevents the accumulation of plaque in your arteries. Therefore, it lowers the risk of coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, strokes, narrowed arteries, and even a heart attack.
Healthy Digestion and Heartburn Relief
Ginger improves digestion and treats indigestion, excess gas, and heartburn. It helps the food to easily pass through the digestive system, and accelerates gastric emptying and stimulates antral contractions.
Improves Blood Glucose Levels and Manages Diabetes
Ginger extracts effectively lower fasting blood glucose, and prevent the risk of chronic complications of diabetes. One comprehensive review, a clinical trial, showed that after consuming 3gr of dry ginger powder for a month, led to a significant reduction in blood glucose, triglyceride, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol in diabetics. It is believed that this is due to the fact that it:
- Inhibits enzymes in carbohydrate metabolism
- Improves lipid profiles
- Increases insulin release and sensitivity
Moreover, it has been found that ginger has a protective effect against diabetes complications, including offering protection to the diabetic’s liver, kidneys, central nervous system, and eyes.
Healthy Brain Function
Ginger tea is a rich source of antioxidants and thus protects against cognitive degenerative diseases. Researchers have found that the ginger extract 6-shogaol prevents memory loss in patients with dementia. Its antioxidants boost cognitive function and memory.
Its antioxidant properties positively affect the liver, detoxify it, and lower the negative effects of free radicals on liver health. The use of ginger has been found to improve nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Supplementing with ginger or increasing it in your diet boosts the effectiveness of lifestyle interventions, like diet modification and increased physical activity, compared to lifestyle interventions alone.
Researchers have also found that with obesity and fatty liver disease, both attributed to the liver, ginger in any form is an essential strategy for liver detoxification.
Soothes Airways and relieves Asthma Symptoms
This powerful root reduces inflammation and spasms in the airways, and helps in the treatment of asthma and respiratory infections. The anti-spasmodic effects suppress airway inflammation and alleviate the symptoms of respiratory allergic responses. In the case of asthma, gingerol and shogaol relax muscles in the airways.
Ginger tea helps the process of weight loss and prevents obesity. Ginger controls appetite, inhibits the intestinal fat absorption, and boosts the breakdown of fats during digestion.
A systematic review of randomized controlled trials found that its consumption lowers waist to hip ratio, reduces body weight, and improves fasting blood glucose levels.
Now, here is how to make ginger tea, and use it as a natural remedy in the case of various health issues:
- Chop or mince a 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece of ginger root, put it in a cup, and pour boiling water over it.
- If you use ginger powder, put 1 teaspoon of it in the cup, and pour the boiling water.
- Cover with a saucer, leave for about 5 minutes, and then strain into another cup.
- You can sweeten with honey. Drink a cup of this tea a few times daily.
Additionally, you can also combine the amazing properties of ginger and lemon and prepare cleansing ginger-lemon tea. Here is the recipe:
Detox Ginger Lemon Tea
- 2 inches (5 cm) ginger root
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) organic lemon juice
- 1-2 tsp (5 ml) whole stevia leaf or honey
- 4 cups (1 L) filtered water
Chop the ginger root, infuse in freshly boiled water for 5 minutes, and add the lemon juice and the sweetener.
If you are buying fresh ginger, make sure its skin is smooth, and there is no need to peel it. If it has a hard skin, peel it before you grate it. Store it in a dry and dark place, for up to 3 weeks, or up to 6 months in a freezer. The dried ginger powder can be stored in a sealed glass jar in a cool, dark and dry place.
You can also grow your own ginger, and ensure a steady supply of this amazing root, in order to be able to enjoy its health benefits whenever you like.
You will need rich, loose soil with lots of shade. Choose an organic ginger root from a reputable grower, around 4 to 5 inches long with several fingers that have greenish tips.
Then, in early spring, plant the root, cut off the fingers and place them in a shallow trench no deeper than 1 inch.
When the roots are firmly placed in the ground, water them, and within a few weeks, the leaves will emerge. Continue watering, but sparingly, and within 10 months, it will completely mature.
Harvesting is easy, since you will only need to lift them gently from the soil. To replant a new batch, break off a part of a root that has foliage, and return it into the ground.
Wash the remaining bunch well with running water, and store them in a reusable plastic bag with the air vacuumed, and place into the refrigerator’s crisper.