Medicinal Uses of Ginger

This powerful plant comes from Indochina and is currently being cultivated in tropical regions.  There are several different uses of ginger and varieties, although the best ones come from India, Jamaica, and Australia.  It has been considered to have medicinal properties for hundreds of years, and is also used in gastronomy.  Let’s get to know of the benefits of consuming ginger, a plant which is considered to be “from the garden of Eden”.

Internal uses of ginger

  • Promotes digestive tract functions: this is one of the most popular uses of ginger.  It stimulates the pancreas, increasing enzymes that take part in digestion and prevent poor food absorption.
  • Helps prevent intestinal problems: due to its anti-bacterial strength, it prevents alterations in intestinal flora.
  • It is a very effective anti-nausea: it is one of the best remedies for fighting nausea caused by different things.  For example, it can be used for motion sickness (when travelling by boat, bus, etc.), and long journeys.  It can be used by people going through chemotherapy, pregnant women during the first few months of pregnancy (in this case, this treatment shouldn’t be used on a long-term basis) and for post-operation nausea.

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  • Treats ulcers: and also prevents them from developing.  Because of its anti-bacterial strength, it eliminates the bacteria Helicobacter Pylori which secretes ammonia.  Ginger is an excellent natural remedy for gastritis and for neutralizing excessive stomach acid.
  • Reduces diarrhea and Constipation: eliminates harmful bacteria or microorganisms like E. Coli, which cause diarrhea in children, as well as gastroenteritis.  It  simultaneously increases intestinal peristalsis, which promotes bowel movements if constipated.
  • Prevents heart disease: be it cardiac arrest, thrombosis, angina of the chest and clotting.
  • Promotes good circulation in the extremities: eliminates pain in the legs primarily, or symptoms in the fingers caused by Raynaurd’s disease.

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  • Helps regenerate tissues in Wounds and frostbite.
  • Useful against flu symptoms: ginger reduces fever, nasal congestion, joint aches caused by the flu.  If you have a cold, it eliminates pressure in the chest caused by mucous accumulation.  The same is true for those that suffer from sinusitis or nasal congestion.
  • Treats chronic fatigue: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a quite common problem, in which the individual always feels tired or weak, in spite of sleeping or resting a lot.
  • A potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic: helpful for Arthritis, osteoarthritis, or joint pains, as well as inflammation caused by injuries.  It reduces pain and inflammation.  It is also useful for individuals that suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.



External uses of ginger

  • For molar pain: apply a bit of ginger tea directly to the jaw or you could even chew a very thin slice of ginger.
  • Eliminates bad breath: Ginger has been used for a long time to treat halitosis.  This oriental technique refreshes the mouth after meals, and because it increases saliva production, it can also be used by people who always have dry mouth.

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  • It is a potent aphrodisiac: some people say it is capable of stimulation sexual desire and increasing libido levels, both in men and women.  Men that have erectile problems can also use it.

How can ginger be consumed?

In order to take advantage of all of ginger’s properties, you need to know about the different ways to consume it.  Some treatments do require a particular method of ingestion, but generally you can choose whichever method you like best, or is the simplest.

Depending on what you’re suffering from, you could use infusions made from a fresh or dried tuber, capsules, smoothies, massage, essential oils, etc.  You could also use other medicinal plants to strengthen the benefits and to get better results.

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If you’re going to consumed fresh ginger root, follow these steps: First, wash and peel it well.  Then grate it or dice the insides in order to add it to soups, sauces or stews (the ginger is cooked in these preparations).  You could also soak dry root in water, broth or juice, and add it to your recipes.  If you like sushi, it could be an excellent side, as well as for any other oriental dish.

Vinegar is used to pickle the root.  When preserving it you could also treat it with sugar, salt and vinegar, or oil.  You could also eat grated ginger root with sweets, curry, stir fries, pastries and sauces.  And lastly, you could crystallize it by cooking it in water for 30 minutes.  Drain and in a pot, bring three tablespoons of water and three tablespoon of sugar to a boil.  Cook until the liquid is evaporated.

One of the most common alternatives for consuming ginger is by means of an infusion.  It tastes a bit spicy.  You’ll need approximately 85 grams of the root, 700 mL of water and a sweetener of your choice (like stevia, honey, maple syrup or brown sugar).  Wash and dry well, peel and cut into thin slices.  Boil some water and add the ginger, letting boil for a few minutes.  Another option would be to place the root in a bowl, and then pour boiling water over it and covering it.  Let set fir 5 minutes.  For any of these, strain and drink.  A lot of people add a few slices of lemon or lemon juice, anytime they have a cold.  And lastly, for urgent cases, you could use raw or crushed.

Photos courtesy of Crystal, Delphine Menard, Tony Hisgett, Scot Nelson, Stan Dalone and Miran Rijacev, Chandrika Nair and Mararie.