An underground rhizome and not a root as commonly thought, Ginger abundantly appears in recipes of global cuisine. However seemingly a simple and easy to come by ingredient, Ginger is anything but simple! Loved and lost by the Romans and hailed as a magnificent healer by Chinese philosopher Confucius, recorded history highlights both the cooking and medicinal use of Ginger dating back 5000 years.
Gingerol is the main bioactive compound responsible for Gingers medicinal properties. Related to beloved Cardamon and Turmeric, the underground stem or Rhizome of the ginger plant is scientifically proven to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant —and has been shown to lower blood sugars, reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Ginger provides powerful brain protection due to its high antioxidant content which is abundant enough in ginger to enable a decrease in oxidative stress in the brain. Reduced cognitive performance is related to oxidative stress and reduced brain function in general. Ginger stimulates circulation and reduces oxidative stress, enabling the Pineal gland to improve function uninhibited by an accumulation of free radicals. Time to get some Ginger and rev up our pineal power!
Botanical name – Zingiber officinale
Sanskrit Word – Srngaveram -“horn body”
Approximately 35 percent of the worlds Ginger is produced in Kerala, India. However Ginger originated in Southeastern Asia. Ancient Romans and Greek populations were enchanted by this eye-watering and warming spice. A highly sought after import from Eastern lands, Ginger featured consistently among many (wealthy) Roman and Greek recipes. However, when the Roman Empire fell, Europe suffered a spice set-back, unable to access many spices including Ginger and practically forgetting its existence — until Marco Polo reintroduced Ginger to the West which re-established Europe’s love affair with exotic spices. Polo on his Eastern travel adventures, was in China when he noted in his journal the year A.D. 1280 at having noticed the Ginger plant growing on these foreign lands. He then collected some Ginger plants and brought them back with him.
Ginger has been used for as part of traditional natural plant-based medicine for thousands of years. Typically used to treat a wide variety of ailments such as common colds and flu, inflammatory conditions affecting the joints such as arthritis, hypertension, and nausea and migraines. Recent studies have shown Ginger to be effective as an antifungal and possibly effective in the treatment of bacterial imbalances due to Gingerols and Shogaols, which are anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal respectively.
Both a traditional lifesaver and a modern-day remedy which can rival any cold and flu medication, Ginger has a variety of associated health benefits which will continue to endure both the test of time and pharmaceutical advancement.
Researches have established ginger as being able to fulfill an antifungal role in the human body. Ginger contains shagelol and gingerol and these are the main active compounds that act as antifungals. Even though there are more powerful anti-fungal foods available, ginger is suggested as it is able to simultaneously support the liver in the detoxifying of Candida.
Ginger is a scientifically proven and effective anti-inflammatory. Reducing inflammation is also of the primary reasons ginger appears abundantly in traditional medicine. Ginger also has the impressive capabilities of reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines and also blocking the production of peroxynitrite, which is a damaging free-radical. Ginger is therefore especially effective at reducing symptoms of diseases such as arthritis.
Reduces Osteoarthritis Symptoms
Scientific literature suggests that Ginger can reduce the activity of pro-inflammatory chemical substances (including leukotrienes) that are responsible for promoting and triggering joint pain and inflammation. This is also due to Ginger containing salicylates, which when broken down in the body through digestion, converts to Salic acid, which can prevent our nerves from developing prostaglandins. This enables an easing of joint discomfort and pain.
Alleviates Chronic Indigestion
Known as dyspepsia, chronic indigestion presents as recurrent pain and discomfort after eating, particularly in the upper part of the stomach. Dyspepsia can be aggravated due to a delay in emptying of the stomach, as this is a major contributor to indigestion. Amazingly Ginger has demonstrated the ability to sped up and enhance emptying of the stomach, particularly in people who suffer from dyspepsia.
Lowers harmful LDL cholesterol
85 participants took part in a medical study conducted over a period of 45 days. At the end of the study, results showed that participants with existing high cholesterol whom ingested ginger, saw a significant reduction in lipid levels, had lowered their “bad” cholesterol and increases their “good” cholesterol. This is promising news, and the scientific community is in awareness of Ginger’s cholesterol-reducing mechanisms, however, more studies need to be conducted before ginger can be hailed as a natural treatment to reduce cholesterol.