Aside from being regarded as a culinary staple in Asia, ginger has also been proven useful for its therapeutic qualities. Although ginger is often used as a spice, it is now considered as a healthy organic remedy for everyday aches and pains. Ginger is widely promoted for its healing properties in countries like China and India.
Ginger is available in the market in dried, pickled, powdered and preserved forms. It can also be made into tea, candy and pastry, and can be used as a salad ingredient. Because of the many uses of ginger, it is not only deemed a valuable ingredient in Asian cooking, but also a cheap yet highly effective alternative medicine.
Ginger and Its Known Benefits
The part of the ginger plant that is used as a spice is actually a rhizome, or underground stem, which appears and tastes somewhat similar to other spices such as turmeric and galangal. Ginger is rich in numerous vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A and C, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. Aside from its nutritional contents, ginger has the following health benefits.
1. Relieves Cramps, Morning Sickness and Motion Sickness
Ginger eliminates morning sickness that is normally experienced during the early months of pregnancy. It also relieves migraine and dizziness. Drinking ginger tea can relieve menstrual cramps and motion sickness.
2. Improves Digestion and Lowers Cholesterol
If you are suffering from either constipation or diarrhea, try drinking a cup of ginger tea for immediate relief. Ginger aids in digestion, and eliminates stomach cramps and bloating due to excessive gas. Ginger also acts as a sedative, providing soothing relief to an upset stomach and stimulating food absorption, thus preventing colorectal cancer. Drinking ginger tea can help cleanse your intestines by flushing out toxins from your body, and assist in proper blood circulation.
3. Eases Cough, Cold, Flu and Asthma
Wheezing, coughing, and a runny and clogged nose are common respiratory symptoms that you can have during the cold months. Ginger can help abate these symptoms by acting as an effective decongestant to release phlegm. If you have asthma and often experience difficulty in breathing, ginger can give you relief as well.
4. Alleviates Muscle and Joint Pains
As you age, your bones become brittle and your joints are not as flexible when you were younger. You might suddenly feel muscle and joint pains, which may turn out to be rheumatoid arthritis. Rubbing ginger oil on the affected area can help reduce the pain. Ginger is an extremely potent analgesic, acting as an all-natural painkiller without the harmful side effects. Certain studies have shown that ginger oil may also prevent skin cancer.
Slice or pound ginger to release its juices and give off its pungent scent. You can boil fresh ginger directly in water or steep a prepared ginger tea bag in hot water for a few minutes to make a ginger tea. You can also put ginger in chicken broth for a delicious and flavorful meal. Try preparing a healthy dip by mixing grated ginger with sesame oil.