Ginger is one of the oldest and most popular spices. It is absolutely amazing what all it can do for you! Also known as Zingiber officinale, it is a flowering plant with a root which has been used in herbal medicine for more than 5000 years. Much research has been done on Ginger, and it has been shown to help boost the immune system, , lower inflammation, kill cancer cells in many different ways, lower cholesterol, and lower blood sugar.
It is best known and most often used today to decrease inflammation, nausea and vomiting.
Ginger is best known for treating:
- Motion sickness
- Pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting
- Chemotherapy nausea
- Nausea and vomiting after surgery
- Pain and inflammation
- General pain relief
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Lower Blood sugar
Ginger’s Safety Profile
Ginger is very safe although there are some possible side effects. Side effects are mostly based on consuming excessive amounts, which is very important when pregnant. Side effects from high doses may include mild heartburn, diarrhea, and irritation of mouth. Ginger may have additional risks if you are taking certain medications. Caution should be used with blood thinning medications, as ginger may increase risk of bleeding. Ginger may lower blood sugar, so there may be a risk of hypoglycemia when taking with diabetes medicines. Hypoglycemia can cause anxiety, irritability, confusion, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, sweating cold hands or feet. Since ginger can lower blood pressure there may be a chance of hypotension or irregular heartbeat when taking with blood pressure lowering drugs.
When and how to use it
Research data indicates that 1500mg of ginger is beneficial for nausea relief, though 1 gm showed a very good safety profile for pregnant women.
In the study “Ginger Alleviates DSS-Induced Ulcerative Colitis Severity by Improving the Diversity and Function of Gut Microbiota” ginger showed it relieved some of the symptoms of ulcerative colitis and increased the good gut bacteria in the colon. Good gut bacteria is very important to GI, immune and overall wellness.
In the article, “Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis” conducted on 247 patients found, “the reduction in knee pain on standing was superior in the ginger extract group compared with the control group.
In another article entitled, “Ginger as a miracle against chemotherapy-induced vomiting,” a study conducted on vomiting associated with chemotherapy found the number of vomiting cases in the group taking 250 mg of ginger 4 times a day, were significantly lower than the placebo group at anticipatory, acute, delayed, and total phases.
Additional uses for ginger
Ginger can be very beneficial in reducing mouth pain after dental work. I recommend taking 1” of peeled ginger to 2 cups of water and place in a blender for 1 minute. Strain out ginger, use room temperature or cold to rinse mouth for 1 minute. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory effects can help with many types of pain. However, it probably should not be used right after surgery because of its mild blood thinning effects.
I have also found it amazing for women with dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps). In scientific analysis of many studies researching menstrual cramps and ginger found, “the available data suggest a promising pattern of oral ginger as a potentially effective treatment for pain in dysmenorrhea. Overall, ginger was reported as more effective for pain relief than placebo, and no significant difference was found between ginger and NSAIDs.” NSAIDS are the most popular over the counter pain relievers prescribed for menstrual cramps.
Because ginger causes mild vasodilation, it helps the body rid itself of chemicals that cause inflammation and pain. The way I recommend its use is to boil 1 inch of peeled ginger in 4 cups of water and drink warm as needed every 4 hours for pain.
If you don’t have ginger sitting in your kitchen, add it! Have it on hand to make Ginger Ale, use it when you feel nauseous or take when you need a pain reliever.