The benefits of ginger
Ginger is widely used as a condiment for food and beverages, but it’s also a renowned herbal remedy that’s been used medicinally for over 2,500 years.1 In traditional systems of medicine, ginger was used to: dispel ‘cold’ from the spleen and stomach, to relieve coughs, as a digestive aid and to alleviate dyspepsia (indigestion). Today ginger is recognized for many of these effects and more. Its main actions include:
- Anti‐emetic – Ginger has demonstrated mild anti‐emetic properties, which means that it may help to relieve nausea and vomiting. Ginger may help to ease morning sickness associated with pregnancy and nausea and vomiting associated with motion and sea.
- Carminative – Ginger has been established as a ‘carminative’ or a herb that helps to relieve digestive discomfort and flatulence.
- Digestive aid – Ginger appears to be ‘stimulating’ and may exert this effect in the digestive tract. Here it increases the flow of saliva, gastric secretions and bile, which helps breakdown fat.2 It may also stimulate gastrointestinal motility, or the movement of material through the digestive tract.2
- Relieves indigestion – Ginger may assist in the management of indigestion. This condition is characterized by mild discomfort in the upper belly or abdomen that occurs after eating and may be accompanied by a burning sensation, bloating and nausea.3 Indigestion may be caused by diet, poor eating habits or stress.3
- Eases osteoarthritis – Ginger has a long history of use for reducing inflammation and many of its constituents have been recognized as having anti‐inflammatory properties.4 It may assist in the management of mild osteoarthritis of the knee by helping to reduce osteoarthritic pain and increase joint mobility.
- Warming effects – Characterized in traditional Chinese medicine as spicy and hot, ginger may help warm the body and relieve cold extremeties.
Ginger products can be taken to manage nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy, motion sickness or other ailments. It can also be used to support normal digestion, relieve mild digestive upset or to provide symptomatic relief of mild osteoarthritis.
Ginger rhizome (root) can be used in cooking, made as a fresh tea or taken as a supplement. Ginger capsules or tablets will typically have higher amounts of ginger and may be a convenient and valuable way to help relieve nausea, gas and mild stomach discomfort. Look for ginger in combination with digestive enzymes to support normal digestive function and help reduce symptoms associated with poor digestion.
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Published February 17, 2015
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