In today’s blog Im continuing on with the Healing Herbs fact sheets with information regarding a delicious and versatile spice, ginger. It has been long used as both a food, and for medicinal purposes since ancient times. Varies dictated notes have been mentioned from Confusious, who wrote about it in his Analects, and from the greek physician, Dicoscorides, who listed ginger as an anti-dote to poisoning.
Commonly known as ginger, Zingiber officinale was named by English botanist William Roscoe in the early 1800s. With green stems that can grow to a metre high, the plant is valued for its rhizomes that can be consumed fresh or dried. Ginger has been used in Asian, Arabic and Indian cultures as a herbal medicine since ancient times. While it originated in South-East Asia, it spread across Asia and other tropical regions and was exported to ancient Rome from India.
Ginger reached the west at least 2000 years ago and was imported in a preserved form. This flavoursome plant is used in many recipes and, in some Asian cuisines, it is pickled and served as an accompaniment. The healing property of ginger comes from the volatile oils, such as gingerols, that are responsible for its strong taste. The rhizomes from younger ginger plants are generally used for cooking because the older the plant is, the more essential oils are present and the stronger the flavour. Rhizomes from older plants are harvested for medicinal uses.
Fun Fact: In 13th / 14th Century England, a pound of ginger cost as much as a sheep in the trading market.
Botanical Name: Zingiber Officinale
Active Constitiuents: Pungent phenolics (known as gingerols, and shagaols), sesquiterpenes (zingiberene).
Part Used: Root (Rhizone)
Anti-emetic (nausea): Ginger is well known to help ease nausea, particularly due pregnancy, radiation, and motion sickness. 5 HTP influence various biological and neurological processes such as aggression, anxiety, appetite, learning, memory, mood, nausea, sleep and thermoregulation. Ginger acts on (play antagonist to) particular serotonin receptors associated with nausea, reducing their action.
Gastrointestinal Activity: Stimulates the flow of saliva, bile and gastric secretions to aid in metabolism and digestion. Anti-spasmodic to the gastrointestinal tract.
Hypolipidaemic: Scientifically proven to reduce aortic plaque lesions, which are characteristics of heart disease.
Anti-inflammatory/Analgesic: Reduces the promotion of inflammatory cytokines and mediators. Modulates the arachidonic acid cascade. (Inhibits genes involved in inflammatory response).
Anti-emetic: Ginger is a great substitute for anti-emertic drugs without the side effects. Dosage is usually 6grams three times daily. Has been shown more effective than Ibuprofen.
Clinical Uses: In practice, varies medical practitioners can therapeutically use ginger for nausea related to motion sickness, pregnancy of chemo-induced, inflammatories disorders such as arthritic conditions, dysmenorrhoea, dyspepsia, fever, internal colic, common cold/flu, thrombosis, and atherosclerosis.
Topical Application: Reduces pain, due to its action of modulating substance P.
Colds/Flu: Ginger acts as a circulatory stimulant, while dilating blood vessels and stimulate perspiration to reduce fever.
Simple homemade recipes to soothe colds/flu.
Make a hot tea to soothe a sore throat, unblock congestion and relieve pain by combining Lemon, Honey and Ginger into a hot tea; you may also add lemon balm, and fennel if you have then on hand.
An Onion Syrup can be made as a home-made cough syrup. Combine one chopped onion and put into a small bowl, cover with Manuka honey. Cover with cling-wrap and sit in fridge for 24-48hrs. Ginger and thyme can be added to this to add extra benefits. Get the kids to help make it, then they’ll be more inclined to try it.
Dysmenorrhoea: Medical term used to describe painful, heavy periods. Suffers can benefits from ginger 250mg four times daily for 3 days before expected menstruation.
Actions Overview: Anti-inflammatory, Anti-ulcerative, anti-microbial, anti-platelet, anti-emetic, carmitive, cholagogue, hypolipidaemic, stimulent, spasmolytic, expectorant, and analgesic.
Caution: Individuals with peptic ulcers, as this may aggravate associated symptoms. Noted High doses with anti-platelet medications including warfarin are know to interact. Other possible safety precautions need to be considered in diabetes, and bleeding disorders.
Note: Sushi bars/Japanese restaurants with pickled ginger (gari) contain MSG and Aspartame in high concentrations. This is why the colour is pink rather than a yellow colour.
Pregnancy Morning Sickness: There have been scientific research studies showing ginger along with B6 supplementation at 25mg three times daily helps improve symptoms.
Blackmores professional do a combination supplement, however, it is always best to seek medical advise before starting a new supplement. Also before sitting up in bed of a morning, eat a couple of dry crackers before drinking any water to calm the stomach.
Dosage: Doses up to 10-15grams per day have been found quite safe, however, consult your medical practitioner before taking ginger in a supplementation form.
My Final Thoughts:
Ginger is an incredible healing herb that, when used in as a food source, is unlikely to induce any unwanted side-effects. Ginger is considered one of the healthiest (and most delicious) spices on the planet. It can make a great compliment to fresh juices, curries, herbal teas, stir-frys and stews. It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body and brain.
Please be advised, if you are thinking of taking a ginger containing supplement, to first speak to a medical professional. As a whole food nutritionist, I would always advise adding these healing herbs to your daily diet to get the optimal benefit it can offer.
Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment