In this article, we will talk about ginger root, which is well known all over the world for its herbal properties and health benefits. Botanical name of ginger is Zingiber officinale Roscoe (which is a flowering plant belonging to Zingiberaceae family). Ginger root increases underground in the form of tuberous joints. The article will cover nutrition information about ginger, health and beauty benefits of ginger, other uses of ginger, some common side effects of ginger and last but not the least simple method of making ginger tea (which is one of the most common ways in which ginger is consumed).
Benefits of Ginger
Nutrition Chart of Ginger
Well, it’s the nutrients present in any compound that make it either good or bad. In the case of ginger too, all the major health and beauty benefits of ginger, other uses of ginger and side effects of ginger are all because of nutrients present in ginger. Take a look at the below mentioned table to know about them.
Health Benefits of Ginger
(1) Treating Respiratory Problems and Allergies
Ginger is very good when it comes to giving relief from allergies and respiratory problems because of the antihistamine properties of ginger and its ability to inhibit airway contraction which aids in secretion of mucus. From centuries, ginger is being used by people to get rid of persistent cough and sore throat that may arise because of cold.
(2) Relief From Nose & Throat Congestion
Getting caught by common cold is very common but some problems like nose and throat congestion associated with common cold can be real headache to our body and sometimes it even cause difficulty in breathing. So, if you are suffering from nose and throat congestion and cold is making it difficult for you even to breathe then it’s time to enjoy a cup of hot ginger tea as it can provide instant relief from the problem.
(3) Curing Asthma
Freshly prepared ginger juice mixed with fenugreek is helpful in curing asthma because of antioxidants like gingerols, shogaols, and zingerones in ginger. These compounds are anti-inflammatory and analgesic in nature, and thus give helps in curing asthma. Ginger is a natural product and is safer compared to drugs available in the market. (Source ).
(4) Effective Against Food Poisoning
Ginger is a miraculous weapon when it comes to keeping food poisoning and stomach flu away, because of its anti inflammatory properties. In India and in some other Asian countries, it is common for people to add ginger slices to their food. This not only increases the taste of food but also make sure that the food you eat don’t cause food poisoning or any other kind of digestive problem.
(5) Effective against Chemotherapy Nausea–
Supplements of ginger roots along with other anti-vomiting medications are helpful in getting relief from chemotherapy nausea; a nausea induced by chemotherapy ( a treatment to get relief from cancerous cells in order to minimize the reoccurrence of disease). These benefits of ginger are because of its anti-inflammatory properties which make it effective in reducing nausea and other vomiting problems and it is thus advised to be taken ( either in the form of supplement or in the form of fresh juice) before the chemotherapy. Ginger root supplement/juice is also effective in treating nausea sensation associated with motion sickness or sea-sickness.
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(6) Treating Morning Sickness
Presence of vitamin B6 in ginger make it effective in treating morning sickness in pregnant women, however it is important to consult your doctor on this matter before you start using consuming ginger to relief from morning sickness.
(7) Improves Digestion
Ginger improves the absorption of essential nutrients of food during the digestion of food and thus helps indigestion. Other than this, it also helps in breaking down proteins present in food and thus prevents ulcers by promoting mucus secretion.
(8) Treating Chronic Indigestion
Ginger is effective in getting relief from dyspepsia (chronic indigestion), which is characterized by recurring pain and discomfort in upper part of stomach. Dyspepsia is mainly caused by delayed emptying of stomach but the ginger speeds up the process of digestion and helps our stomach to get emptied faster, and thus reduces the chances of chronic indigestion.
In a small study conducted on 24 healthy individual, taking 1.2 grams of ginger powder before a meal accelerated the emptying of stomach by 50%.
(9) Giving Relief from Menstrual Cramp and Menstrual Pain
Menstrual cycle is an important part of every women’s life and during the period, menstrual cramp and menstrual pain are very common. Ginger is useful in reducing symptoms of menstrual pain in some women and is thus advised to be taken at the beginning of menstrual cycle. Taking ginger tea with brown sugar also gives relief from menstrual pain.
(10) Effective against Migraines
Ginger is very effective when it comes to giving relief from migraines. Ginger prevents the prostaglandins from causing pain and inflammation in blood vessels. Other than this, applying diluted ginger on forehead is also effective in getting relief from migraine.
(11) Ginger May Prevents Cancer
Ginger is a powerful weapon against ovarian cancer because of the presence of high level of antioxidants in ginger roots, which induces cancer cell death (apoptosis) and suppresses certain proteins. Powdered ginger root aids in death of all ovarian cancer cells on which it is applied.
In a study conducted on 30 individuals, it was found that taking 2 grams of ginger extract per day can significantly reduce the pro-inflammatory signaling molecules in colon and thus reduces the risk of colon cancer. However, this was not confirmed by the follow up study conducted for confirmation of these findings. There are still some limited evidence that shows that ginger may be effective against pancreatic cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer, but the research is still going on.
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(12) Getting Relief from Muscle Pain and Soreness
Ginger does not have any immediate impact in giving relief from muscle pain but is effective at reducing day to day progression of muscle pain that occurs during exercise. As per a study, taking 2 gram of ginger ever day for about 11 days significantly reduces the muscle pain in people who perform elbow exercises.
(13) Effective against Osteoarthritis
The anti-inflammatory property of ginger makes it effective against osteoarthritis, and give relief from symptoms like joint pain and stiffness. As per a study, patients of osteoarthritis who take ginger extract regularly suffer from less pain and need less pain relief medication then those who don’t take ginger extraction. Other than taking ginger extract, topical application of ginger oil (mixed with mastic, cinnamon and sesame oil can also give relief from joint pain).
(14) Lowers Blood Sugar and Improves Heart Health
In a recent study conducted in 2015 (involving 41 participants with type 2 diabetes), it was found that consumption of 2 gram of ginger powder per day can reduce the fasting blood sugar by 12 % .
Other than this, it also reduces the ratio of Ap0B/Ap0A-1 ratio by 28 % and reduces oxidized lipoproteins markers by 23%. Both these factors plays a major role in developing heart problem and in this way ginger also helps in keeping our heart in good health.
One thing to keep in my mind is right now, test was done on a small scale and it will be better to consider this only when it is confirmed in large scale and by multiple studies.
(15) Ginger May Lowers Cholesterol Level
As per a 45 day study conducted on 85 individuals suffering high cholesterol level; it was found that consumption of just 3 grams of ginger powder on regular basis can significantly reduce most of the cholesterol level markers.
(16) May Improve Brain Health and Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease
As per some studies done on animals, it was found that antioxidants and bioactive compounds present in ginger inhibits the inflammatory response in the brain and can thus may help in preventing from Alzheimer’s disease because oxidative stress and chronic inflammation are believed to be the major key driver of Alzheimer’s disease.
Other than this, there are also some studies and evidence that shows that taking ginger extract can directly enhance the functionality of brain and improves the reaction time of brain and improves working memory. Some studies done on animals also show that ginger can also protect our brain from age related brain problems.
(17) Fighting Infections
Ginger is very effective in fighting against many types of infections because of the presence of bio-active substance known as gingerols in it. Ginger extract can inhibits the growth of certain type of bacteria and thus reduces the risk of infections. Because of these benefits of ginger, it is very effective against inflammatory diseases of gums, like gingivitis and periodontitis.
(18) Increases appetite
Ginger is very good in increasing the appetite of a person and make him feel hungry. If you have lost your appetite then it’s time to eat a little slice of ginger before meal. It will activate the digestive juices in your stomach and in this way will also increase the appetite of person. Not only this, consuming ginger will also make your stomach to get emptied quicker (so that you don’t face problem of indigestion) and will also prevent you from chances of food poisoning.
Beauty Benefits of Ginger
Beauty Benefits of Ginger For Skin
Benefits of ginger are not just limited to health and there are also some beauty benefits associated with ginger. Below are some of the major skin benefits associated with ginger root.
(1) As Anti-ageing Agent
There are around 40 antioxidants present in ginger, and they all are useful in slowing down the ageing process. Ginger removes the toxins of the body, stimulates the blood circulation and thus results in making skin appearance better by allowing more nutrients to pass through body cells. The antioxidants present in ginger helps in getting relief from free radicals of the body and also improve skin elasticity, skin glow and slow down the signs of ageing.
(2) Soothes Burns
Ginger is effective in healing burnt skin and giving relief from the pain of burning. For this, simply apply a little fresh ginger juice on the burnt skin area. Rubbing freshly cut ginger slices; 2-3 times a day for 6 to 12 weeks can also give relief from scars. One point to remember here is to only use freshly cut ginger slice, every time you use it for rubbing.
(3) Treatment of White Scars
Ginger is effective in reducing the appearance of White scars or Hypo-pigmented scars to a great extent. Hypo-pigmented scars or white scars are scars that occur when our skin starts losing its pigmentation. These are generally white in color or in lighter shade compared to general skin color of the affected person. In order to get rid of white scars, simply dab the freshly cut ginger slices on the pigmented area, and leave it there for some time. This will provide slight improvement to pigmentation but for noticeable result, it is important to repeat the task regularly.
(4) Skin Toner
Ginger provides radiant skin because of its antioxidant, aphrodisiac and toning properties. Preparing a simple mask of ginger can be done by simply mixing 2 grated gingers with 2 tablespoon of honey and one teaspoon of lemon juice, Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes. Apply the cool mixture on your face for about 30 minutes and then rinse your face with cold water. The mixture is effective in skin nourishment and in providing soft skin.
(5) Reduces Cellulite
Ginger is good for skin because of its antioxidant properties and detoxification power. Skin benefits of ginger don’t end here as ginger is also effective in reducing cellulite. For this, mix half cup sugar with quarter cup olive oil, add two spoons of freshly grated ginger and a little bit of lemon juice. The mixture prepared this way can be used as a body scrub for cellulite reduction.
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Beauty Benefits of Ginger For Hair
Ginger root is good for hairs and is effective in getting rid of many hair problems. Some of the major benefits of ginger for hairs are:-
(1) Ginger Benefits for Hair
Ginger oil is effective in stimulating the growth of hair and is used for hair treatment from centuries (as an Ayurvedic medicine). Ginger increases the blood circulation in the scalp and allows more blood flow to scalp and thus helps in stimulating hair follicles and encourages hair growth. Other than the ginger oil, ginger hair mask is also good for hair.
Making ginger hair mask is very simple as you just have to put one tablespoon of grated ginger root in a small bowl and mix it with one tablespoon of jojoba oil. Massage the mixture on your scalp in circular motion and rinse it off and shampoo your hair after at least 30 minutes. This will make your hair stronger and is also effective in combating hair loss and thinning of hair.
(2) Good for Dry & Brittle Hair
Ginger is good for dry and brittle hair because of presence of vitamins, zinc and phosphorus in it. Because of these compounds, ginger is also good in making our hairs more radiant.
(3) Treatment of Hair Loss and Split Ends
Ginger extract make hair stronger and add a pleasant smell to our hair. Ginger extract is also good in treating damaged hair follicles and thus prevents causing of split ends.
(4) Treatment of Dandruff
The antiseptic property of ginger makes it an effective medium in getting rid of dandruff, which is a very common scalp problem. In order to use ginger for dandruff treatment, simply mix two tablespoon of freshly grated ginger with 3 tablespoon of olive or sesame oil, and add a pinch of lemon juice to it. Massage the scalp with the mixture and then rinsing off after 15-30 minutes.
(5) Reduces Dandruff
Ginger is an excellent remedy when it comes to getting rid of dandruff, because of the antiseptic properties of ginger. For this, simply massage ginger oil or mixture of mashed ginger and olive oil onto your scalp, and let it there for 15 to 25 minutes. Do this two times in a week and it will you make your hair free from dandruff.
Other Uses of Ginger
(1) Ginger root is used as seasoning and for flavoring sweets, including cakes, cookies, breads and beverages. It is very common to use ginger root slices in sauces and fruit dishes, in some Asian countries.
(2) Ginger is also used in liquid of electronic cigarette to aromatize its liquid.
(3) Because of the aphrodisiac properties of ginger, ginger extract can also be added to soup. This gingerly soup will keep the bedroom blues away.
Other Facts about Ginger
(1)In order to keep the ginger root fresh, it is advisable to wrap it in plastic bag and put in the refrigerator. This will keep the ginger root fresh for a week but you if you want to preserve it for a longer duration then it’s time to peel the ginger root and cover the ginger (unpeeled) with sherry wine before putting it in refrigeration process. This way, ginger root can be preserved for up to three months.
(2) Length of the ginger shows the maturity of ginger and if you find long and fibrous ginger root then it is better to avoid them as they are not fresh and have already passed ( or about to pass) their prime age. In the same way, it is advisable to ignore the ginger filled with wrinkles and go for the ginger that appears cooler ( on touching), feels more juicy ( cut a small slice from the corner and squeeze it) and have a smooth skin.
(3) Ginger bread came into existence because of Greeks who used to eat ginger wrapped up in bread,in order to get relief from digestive problem and for preservation of food. The ginger bread that we eat today is modern form of that bread-wrapped-ginger.
(4) For centuries, ginger ranked second to pepper (as a spice), when it was introduced in Europe (approximately 800 AD).
(5) India is the main producer of ginger, followed by China (first and second countries where ginger started growing first). Other than these two countries, ginger is also produced by Nepal, Nigeria, Thailand, Indonesia,, United states and many other countries.
Risks & Side Effects of Ginger
Although ginger is very safe and there are many health and beauty benefits of ginger but still there are some risks associated with ginger and side effects that may arise while consuming ginger. Major risks and side effects of ginger are:-
(1) Stomach discomfort
In general, ginger is good for stomach and also benefits the digestive system but in some people, it may cause problems like heart burn, diarrhea and general stomach discomfort. In some women, taking ginger resulted in extra menstrual bleeding.
(2) Skin Irritation
Ginger is effective in reducing cellulite, improving skin pigmentation and rejuvenating skin, but sometimes and in some people it may also cause skin irritation.
(3) Using Ginger In pregnancy
Ginger is known to be effective in controlling morning sickness in pregnancy women but it is also reported that ginger may cause serious damage to sex hormones and a case of miscarriage (in 12th week of pregnancy) was also reported in a women who was taking it for getting relief from morning sickness. So, it is advisable to consult your doctor on this matter and take ginger only when he/she give you an “okay” signal to do so and only in the quantity recommended by doctor.
(4) Breast feeding
There is not much detail on this and it is not known whether ginger is safe or harmful for consumption during the breast feeding time. So, for a safer side, it is advisable to stay away from ginger during this period.
(5) Effect on Heart Health
Ginger is good for our heart health but high dosage can worsen the situation. So, it is advisable to not to over consume ginger.
(6) Medication Interaction
Ginger may interact with certain medications like Anticoagulant, Antiplatelet drugs, Phenprocoumon and Warfarin. So, it is advisable to consult with your doctor before eating ginger, if you are on any of these medications.
Similarly, ginger may also react with medications responsible for lowering blood pressure and blood sugar level as ginger is known to reduce the blood sugar and blood pressure level. Taking ginger along with medicines responsible for lowering blood pressure and blood sugar level, can bring down the sugar and blood pressure to such a low level that it may be dangerous to your health.
So, again it is important to go with your doctor’s advice on this and consume ginger only when he/she allow you to do so and only in the quantity recommended by doctor.
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How To Make Ginger Tea
We know that ginger root is used as flavoring and seasoning agent in food but other than this method there are also some other method of consuming ginger tea and one of the most common way of consuming ginger is in the form of ginger tea. Ginger tea is the simple tea in which ginger root is added at the time of tea preparation. Below mentioned step will guide you to make ginger tea (Indian style) in the simplest possible way.
(1) Pour some clean drinking water (about one and a half cup) in the frying pan and let it boils for some time (until you see bubbles of hot water popping up).
(2) Add some grated ginger slice into the water and let it boil for about 30-45 seconds.
(3) Add tea, sugar and milk as per your taste (like you normally do while making simple tea).
(4) Let the tea boil for some time (till it start coming out of the frying pan because of the steam present in the liquid) in full flame.
(5) After this, lower the gas flame to medium level and stir it for 45 seconds to one minute.
By this time, your ginger tea is ready and it’s time to filter the tea in a cup and enjoy it.
If you are drinking tea for the first time then you may feel a little burning sensation in your throat. Trying lowering the dosage of ginger tea next time you make ginger tea and gradually increase the ginger in your tea (but don’t add too much).
The information contained in the post is for general purpose only and shouldn’t be considered as a medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, but I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.
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