Ginger has medicinal value that dates back thousands of years. It's actually the rhizome of the ginger plant, and as a widely cultivated herb, it’s used in various forms across the world in foods, drinks, and beauty products. Ancient texts and literature from the Middle East, Asia, and Europe talk of the immense benefits of the root. It’s also cousins with the famed turmeric root, cardamom, and galangal. In holistic medical practices such as Chinese and Indian Ayurveda, ginger is viewed as a gift from God. And in the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book, ginger is also mentioned as a spice found in Heaven.
Ginger's versatility is incredible, and it can be used in your everyday life. Here are some examples of its health benefits:
1. Blood Flow
Ginger contains chromium, magnesium, and zinc — key ingredients in maintaining healthy and normal blood flow.
2. Morning Sickness
The American Pregnancy Association recommends consuming ginger in different forms, such as tea or in jam, in order to curb morning nausea brought on by pregnancy. However, in a 2011 study, the information regarding ginger and morning sickness was shown to be more anecdotal. Ginger was helpful in some instances, but the “effectiveness was limited and not consistent” overall. Researchers did suggest that women who wanted to incorporate ginger into their diet should consult their physicians, since it does help some women.
3. Improve Metabolism/ Aids Weight Loss
Ginger increases body temperature and can speed up calorie burning sans exercise. It also enhances the thermic effect on foods and makes the body believe that it is full. According to a 2012 study, “ginger showed enhanced thermogenesis and reduced feelings of hunger with ginger consumption.”
4. Decrease Exercise-Induced Muscle Pain
As a powerful anti-inflammatory, ginger helps to reduce and ease muscle pain. Research in the Journal of Pain found that ginger was superior in its benefits to NSAIDs because it helps to blocks the formation of the inflammatory compounds, prostaglandins and leukotrienes, Discovery Health reported. The researchers also found that ginger has antioxidant effects, which help to break down pre-existing inflammation.
5. Inhibit the Growth of Colorectal Cancer Cells
Research at the University of Minnesota's Hormel Institute found that the ingredient that gives ginger its flavor may help to combat the growth of colorectal cancer cells.
6. Treat Asthma
Columbia University researchers say that ginger, paired with bronchodilating medications maybe help to relax the smooth muscle surrounding airways.