Ginger, known for its healing properties in gastric disorders, is a wild plant in some parts of India and China, as well as in Jamaica and other tropical regions. It is a perennial plant, grows in the warm regions, and is related to curcuma. Ginger’s root is used in culinary and in treatment. In culinary, it enriches different types of food with its spicy and lemon-like flavor, from cookies to roast pork. In addition, ginger continues to have an important place in the traditional approach to treatment.
How does it work?
Across the globe, this spice has been used for many thousands of years to treat various gastrointestinal problems, from bad digestion and winds to nausea and vomiting. Likewise, ginger was also used in the treatment of colds and arthritis. Contemporary researches of the active ingredients of this plant have confirmed its effectiveness in treating many of the problems.
MAIN USEFUL EFFECTS: how can you help a sailor who is suffering from a motion sickness? With ginger! In Denmark, this effect was tested on naval cadets. Forty cadets received a gram of ginger powder each day, and there were significantly fewer episodes of asthma and vomiting (classic motion sickness symptoms) compared to a group of 39 cadets that received placebo.
Ginger mainly works in the digestive system, where it enhances the action of digestive juices and neutralizes acid. This is why it is sometimes taken instead of anti-nausea medications that also act on the central nervous system. A research, conducted on women who had an exploratory laparoscopic surgery or a large gynecological operation, showed that taking a gram of ginger before surgery significantly reduced postoperative nausea and vomiting, which are commonly associated with anesthetics and other medications used during surgery. It also appears that ginger helps with nausea that is the result of chemotherapy, and it is advised that it is taken in these cases with food to reduce stomach irritation.
Because of its beneficial effects against nausea, ginger can also be beneficial in relieving dizziness, which is common in older people, as well as in morning nausea. For years, ginger is the foundation of folk medicine, especially for digestive and stomach irritations. Food supplements with ginger (or fresh pulp mixed with lime juice) are good anti-flatulence agents.
ADDITIONAL USEFUL EFFECTS: since ginger has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, it can help alleviate muscle and arthritis pain. A research conducted on 50 women who are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (autoimmune diseases characterized by severe ankle inflammation) has shown that taking only 5 to 50 grams of fresh ginger or capsules containing up to 1 g of ginger powder relieves inflammation and pain in the joints. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, this plant could be useful for relaxation of small airways in bronchitis and flu.
How to take it?
DOSAGE: to prevent the onset of motion sickness, dizziness, nausea, to reduce flatulence and relieve chronic pain and rheumatoid arthritis: take ginger preparations three times a day or every four hours, if necessary. The usual dose is 100 to 200 mg of a standardized capsule or tablet extract, 1 to 2 g of fresh ginger powder or a slice of fresh root, 1.25 cm long. Other forms, such as tea, can be taken several times a day for similar purposes, as well as for arthritis and for relieving pain. Ginger tea is sold in bags, and you can also pour a cup of hot water over a teaspoon of grated root. When you are on the road, try crystallized ginger: a piece 2.5 cm long and a half cm thick contains about 500 mg of ginger.
For muscle pain: rub a few drops of ginger oil on the painful area of the body, which you had previously mixed with spoonfuls of neutral oils, such as almond oil.
To relieve cold and flu: to relieve the symptoms, take up to four cups of ginger tea a day.
USE GUIDELINES: poor digestion can be the consequence of taking large doses of ginger on an empty stomach. Therefore, ginger should be taken with food, and capsules with some sort of liquid. To prevent motion sickness, you should take ginger three to four hours before departure, then every four hours as needed, up to four times a day. To prevent postoperative nausea, ginger is taken one day before surgery, of course under medical supervision.
Possible side effects
Ginger is a very safe remedy for many problems, regardless of whether it is taken concentrated in the form of a capsule, or fresh (eating) or in the forms of tea or beer. The only observed side-effect is occasional digestive problem.
IMPORTANT: doses up to 250 mg four times a day can help with morning sickness in the first two months of pregnancy, but higher doses or taking medication over a longer period of time require medical attention. People on chemotherapy should not take ginger preparations on an empty stomach because they can cause mucous membrane irritation.