Used for at least two thousand years in China as a remedy for upset stomachs, Ginger’s history in Asian cuisine actually goes back at least five thousand years!
In more modern times, it was believed by Europeans to have come directly from the Garden of Eden, while the first American settlers used it to make beer.
These days, Ginger is still used by many herbologists to cure digestive problems, but it has also had success in treating the common cold, motion sickness and arthritis.
Ginger is a herbaceous, perennial plant native to South Eastern Asia. It is commonly called Ginger root but it's actually a rhizome, or a horizontal underground stem that gives rise to shoots above the ground.
This aromatic herb has a spicy, pungent, and citrus-like taste that has made it popular in Asian cuisine. It is grown in large quantities in Jamaica, but is also cultivated in many Asian countries and around the world.
Ginger has a powerful antiviral action, due to the twelve separate antiviral agents that have been identified in it. As such, it is a great remedy for colds and flu. Additionally, its gentle sedative effects help patients to rest, while its pain relieving action helps to alleviate symptoms like sore throats and headaches.
Ginger is most commonly used to treat mild digestive complaints. It can help with nausea and vomiting from motion sickness, pregnancy and post-operative nausea. It acts as a very mild, natural supplement to the medication that motion sickness sufferers are already taking.
Researchers have also found that ginger can alleviate the aches and pains of chemotherapy treatment, although this is still unproven. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory, easing the symptoms of arthritis and other joint conditions.
Ginger increases bile secretion, helping to prevent liver toxicity. It is also packed full of flavonoids, powerful antioxidants that will keep you looking fresh and slow the effects of aging.
Ginger is used as flavouring for candy, cakes, sweet carbonated drinks (e.g. ginger-ale) and used as a spice added to coffee. It is also used for cooking an array of sweet and spicy dishes in cuisines throughout the world, but especially in Asia.
A mixture of ginger tea and lemon can be substituted for coffee as an invigorating alternative.
Ginger is used in aromatherapy as an essential oil. This strong, aromatic, warm and spicy concoction is used to treat back pain, arthritis, nausea, and poor circulation. Ginger essential oil is also effective to relieve itchiness from insect bites.
If pregnant, don't take large quantities of ginger. Also avoid if you have gallstones or a bleeding disorder. Stop taking it immediately if you feel any allergic reactions.
Always consult your doctor before starting a course of herbal medicine.