Ginger, or Zingiber officinale, is a well known plant and popular herb used for centuries , with an unmistakeable taste and smell. It has been used for digestive problems, to help nausea, asthma, period pain and diabetes. Whether you’re a fan of ginger or not, there are unmistakeable benefits from using ginger, both in your diet and as a herbal medicine.
The part of the ginger plant used in cooking and herbal preparations is generally the root or rhizome. It has many beneficial health effects and can be used to treat headaches, colds, osteoarthritis and cancer, just to name a few.
Ginger’s anti-nausea action can be used to help travel and motion sickness, morning sickness and nausea following chemotherapy and surgery. It also has a strong anti-inflammatory action that is particularly useful in treating the pain caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.  This same action also helps to treat menstrual cramps and promote better circulation. Ginger can help to promote a healthier cardiovascular system by making platelets less sticky, thereby reducing the chance of blood clots forming.
Ginger is also proving useful as an antioxidant, antiviral and an anti-cancer agent.
Ginger can be taken in a variety of ways. If you are buying ginger, fresh is best. Avoid ginger that has dry, wrinkled skin, mould or soft spots. Grating the ginger or using a garlic press will give you the most benefit. Ginger has a very strong taste which may not be palatable by all so fresh ginger is best used in cooking.
Grating the ginger root and mixing it with diluted lime juice can help to soothe the digestive tract and reduce flatulence. Ginger can also be made into an oil and massaged into areas of localised chronic pain. It can be taken as a supplement but it is best to choose a supplement that contains ginger’s natural compounds – gingerols and shogaols – as these are the plant’s active ingredients.
If you are eating fresh ginger root, eat it no more than three times a day, and eat ½ an inch at a time, peeled. Ginger tea can be taken several times a day, and crystallised ginger can be eaten twice a day.
Ginger is a fantastic herb, one of the many tried and true remedies that has survived for centuries, and great during the winter months for warming things up. Why not try adding a little when you’re cooking dinner tonight?
Here at the clinic, we use Ginger for arthritis, warming the body, increasing circulation and promoting digestive well-being.