Ginger (Zingiber officinale), one of the most loved and commonly used spice, with its warmth, aroma and flavor has been in fact an integral part of medical Ayurveda since thousands of years. Used in various forms, from teas to dried powders (saunth) ginger has been a healing elixir to treat innumerable ailments.
Modern scientific research confirms its numerous therapeutic powers from the common cold, daily digestion challenges to Alzheimer’s disease and heart ailments it seems there is nothing that this golden ‘drug’ can’t cure!
Here are the top 6 ginger health benefits proven by medical studies:
1. Aids in digestion
From indigestion to nausea, bloating to acidity, constipation to stomach ulcers and IBS to morning sickness, Ginger has been used traditionally, the world over, as an effective digestive aid. It stimulates digestion, eases malabsorption, promotes elimination of intestinal gas and relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract.
Our Tip : Add fresh slices of ginger to a glass of lime juice and add a pinch of salt (preferred option rock salt or sea salt). This drink helps to aid in digestion before as well as post meals.
2. Weight loss
One of the main factors contributing to weight gain according to Ayurveda is a sluggish digestive system or not enough burning of AGNI or the digestive fire. Malabsorption leads to food fermenting in your digestive tract leading to bloating, gas, cramps and weight gain. Ginger helps by stimulating your digestive fire and getting your digestive juices flowing.
Additionally it is also a fat burner and helps you loose actual fat versus water or muscle loss. Another bonus with ginger is that it makes you feel full (soon and lasts long too)thus reducing overall food intake!
Our Tip: Eat some fresh ginger before your meals to build up that appetite.
3. Build your immunity
Gingers warming property is not just useful on a cold windy day but also promotes sweating and heating of the body. this reduces the toxins accumulated in your body and helps to cleanse the lymphatic system too. Ginger has also strong antibacterial powers and thus helpful in enhancing immune function. A strong immunity is your natural protection against diseases and infections and also helps speedy recovery.
Our Tip: Sip some ginger tea – Shred or coarsely grind about 2 inches of ginger and let it boil in 500 ml of water. Boil this for about 10 minutes and strain the liquid and keep aside till it reaches the room temperature. Add a few drops of lemon juice and honey according to taste. Drink a cup daily.
4. Clear the respiratory passages
Ginger works wonders in clearing the sinuses due to its warming properties. It aids in unclogging them and encourages drainage and thus can help with a runny nose, sore throat or sinusitis. It has been found wonderful even in management of asthma.
Our Tip: Drink a ginger tea to clear phlegm and open blocked respiratory passages. Another effective remedy to garner its decongestant properties is through aromatherapy. Diffuse 2-3 drops of ginger oil in a steam inhalation or a diffuser. (optional add 2-3 drops rosemary or eucalyptus).
5. Arthritis & joint pain relief
Ginger’s natural anti-inflammatory properties ease many ailments like arthirits while its pain relieving characteristics (mainly from gingerol content) acts on sensory nerve endings and is a boon for tired joints and sore muscles.
Our Tip: Mix 1tbsp of dry ginger powder with a glass of room temperature water. Apply this paste topically to muscles that are sore. Let it stay on the affected area for about 10 minutes and then wash off with water at room temperature. (Note: It is alright for a temporary redness to occur on the applied area due to the heat in ginger) Alternatively you can add 2-3 drops of ginger oil in an ounce of any carrier oil and massage onto affected area. (optional dd a few drops of peppermint oil to ease pain or grapefruit for enhanced circulation).
6. Fights illnesses like cancer and diabetes
To prevent and treat many types of cancers including colorectal and ovarian cancers ginger has proven extremely effective. For those suffering from cancer also can benefit by including more ginger in their diets. Ginger helps greatly in regulating blood sugar levels, thus improving diabetes. Gingerol are also proven to enhance insulin sensitivity. It helps to prevent and reverse diabetes!
Our Tip: Ginger tea taken several times a day (approx 1000mg of ginger powder or 2 drops of essential oil per cup) has proven effective or you can add organic ground ginger powder to your cooking or slices of ginger to your raw veggie smoothies to keep the sugar level in check.
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Main image: meghantelpner.