College of DuPage Nursing Student Mia Alegado asks Healthy Lombard readers, “Would you believe it if there was a plant that had anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties that could help prevent numerous chronic diseases?” Well, ginger root has been a staple of herbal and alternative medicine for thousands of years. It is popular in Arabic, Indian, and Asian cultures and is used for both food and remedies for a number of ailments. It is slightly sweet with a bit of a peppery taste and aroma. It can be an acquired taste for some, but the novel flavor is a small payoff for the plethora of health benefits you can receive.
Ginger helps in the prevention of many diseases because of its antioxidant properties. Free radicals and oxidative stress are common mechanisms in many diseases, but the active components in ginger (gingerol and shaogol) help counteract this and boost the antioxidant status in our body (Mashhadi 2013). This can help reduce the risk of hypertension, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and cancer.
Arthritis and rheumatism are among the most common issues affecting the aging population. It’s painful and debilitating, but the consumption of ginger can help alleviate symptoms. The root has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the swelling of joints and in turn, reduce pain. These anti-inflammatory properties also help ease symptoms in conditions that largely target our immune systems, like general allergies or asthma.
One of the most common uses of ginger is as an anti-nausea agent and for digestive health. Many people consume it to help alleviate any G.I discomfort, whether it’s indigestion or gas. It’s been proven to be very effective at reducing nausea, especially in pregnant women and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy (Bode 2011). It can even be used to treat motion sickness or seasickness!
Ginger not only has many health benefits but there’s plenty of ways to prepare it as well. It can be consumed fresh, dried, pickled, preserved, crystallized, candied, powdered, or ground. The most common way people prepare ginger is in tea, but candied ginger is also a popular choice for both its taste and convenience. Doctors recommend keeping your consumption to a maximum of 3-4 grams per day, or less than 1 gram if you are pregnant (Norris 2020).
Bode, A. M. (2011). The amazing and mighty ginger. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Retrieved September 9, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/.
Mashhadi, N. S., Ghiasvand, R., Askari, G., Hariri, M., Darvishi, L., & Mofid, M. R. (2013, April). Anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of ginger in health and physical activity: Review of current evidence. International journal of preventive medicine. Retrieved September 9, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665023/.
Norris, T. (2020, April 20). Ginger water: Benefits, risks, and more. Healthline. Retrieved September 14, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/ginger-water.