Ginger has a long medicinal and culinary use dating back centuries. It adds flavour and heat to curries and stir-fries and is a major ingredient in Asian cooking. It also makes a refreshing and invigorating tea. The health benefits of ginger include nausea relief, gastro-intestinal health, immune boosting, inflammation prevention, cancer prevention and detoxification.
Ginger is not particularly rich in any one nutrient but it does contain some potassium, magnesium, copper and manganese.
Ginger for Gastro-intestinal Relief and Nausea Treatment
Ginger is both a carminative (relieves intestinal gas) and an anti-spasmodic (relaxes the smooth muscle walls of the intestinal tract). Many well-designed studies have shown that ginger is very effective in relieving morning sickness and other forms of nausea, including motion sickness. It is also safe to use in pregnancy.
Ginger as an Anti-Inflammatory
Ginger is strongly anti-inflammatory, which is why it is use as a remedy for arthritic pain. The anti-inflammatory substances in ginger are called gingerols. The mechanism of action has to do with its antioxidant capabilities as well as gingers ability to suppress pro-inflammatory cytokines that can compromise the synovial fluid around the joints.
Ginger for Colds and Flu
Ginger has been used wit success as an adjunctive treatment for colds and flu. It can help expel mucous and also boosts immunity. It is also beneficial in some cases for stomach flu and digestive upsets.
Ginger for Detoxification
Another of the health benefits of ginger is its ability to detoxify the body. Ginger and ginger tea is often used to help detoxify the body. Ginger helps induce sweating and is also rich in antioxidants and immune boosting substances.
Ginger for Cancer Prevention
There is some evidence linking ginger consumption to a decreased risk of stomach and colo-rectal cancers as well as ovarian cancers. A study conducted at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that ginger powder induces cell death in all ovarian cancer cells to which it was applied.