Ginger: Quell the Queasies and Inflammation With This Herb

by on March 7th, 2015
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Many of us are familiar with ginger as a spice used in cooking, however, did you know that this herb can treat medicinal ailments as well? The primary sources in ginger that helps treat the body via aroma and flavor are the gingerols, shogaols, gingerdiones and gingerone. The composition of the volatile oils differs in roots from the different locations where ginger is found. Some of the most popular regions where ginger is cultivated and used are China, Southeast Asia, Japan and Australia. In this article, let’s look at some of the ways this herb can help the body.

Sea and Motion Sickness

For centuries, ginger has been used to quell the queasiness of movement. The Chinese have used ginger for boating and fishing with great success. In the last few decades, studies have found ginger to be an equivalent to the drug Dramamine. Ginger works its anti-nausea properties directly in the gastrointestinal tract, instead of the central nervous system. I personally take ginger for nausea and queasiness associated with motion sickness. Since it doesn’t cross the brain barrier I find this herb easier to endure than medications that make me sleepy or dizzy.

Arthritis

Arthritis is an inflammatory disease of the bones and joints. Most people are instructed to take NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) however these medications can cause havoc with the stomach. Ginger with its active ingredient, gingerol, has been scientifically proven to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Raw ginger can be chopped fresh and used in foods, salads and steeped as a tea. Powdered ginger supplements can also be used.

A Digestive Aid

Ginger is a potent herb to help with digestion and curbing flatulence. It stimulates the digestion process and relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract. Some flatulence (gas) is normal but when it builds up due to food intake, ginger helps the food pass through the act of digestion quicker.

How to Make a Ginger Tea and Other Forms of This Herb

Buy fresh ginger in your health food supermarket and cut off an inch or two from the root. Slice off the sides of the skin to expose more of the ginger. Place the root into three cups of water and boil this for about 10 minutes. Pour this in a teacup and serve warm or place it over ice as a cool drink. Add some lemon juice to enhance the flavor.

Ginger also comes in a candy form to suck on during the day and in standardized powdered capsules. The minimum dose for an adult is 250 mg, however doses of 500 to 900 mg are sometimes needed for medicinal purposes. When taking ginger for motion sickness, it’s best to take it about one-half hour before your departure. Doses of ginger may be taken repeatedly every four hours as needed but not to exceed 4 grams daily.

Contraindications

Ginger is used by many as a spice and even when used medicinally it has very few side effects. Some people say they burp up the taste or get a mild heartburn. If you have gallstones or gallbladder disease, this herb should be avoided as it increases bile acid secretion. Also if you are on a blood thinning medications like Coumadin or Plavix, ginger may cause excessive bleeding. It’s always best to check with your physician or pharmacist before starting any herbal treatment to make sure there are no possible interactions with the medications you are already taking.

Sources:

University of Maryland Medical Center – Ginger

Gottlieb, Bill; Alternative Cures; Rodale Press, 2000

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