I have been putting ginger in everything lately.
Funny, I used to hate ginger and now I am putting it in my shakes, my shrimp taco salsa, and in my salads! Did you know that ginger can be used for nausea and vomiting, motion sickness and has also been used to help treat arthritis, colic, diarrhea, and heart conditions?
Ginger — the “root,” or actually the rhizome, of the plant Zingiber officinale — has been a popular spice and herbal medicine for thousands of years. It has a long history of being used as medicine in Asian, Indian, and Arabic herbal traditions. In China, for example, ginger has been used to help digestion and treat stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea for more than 2,000 years. Ayurvedic texts credit ginger as a “universal great medicine”. An old Indian proverb says that “everything good is found in ginger.” Traditional Chinese medicine holds that ginger “restores devastated yang” and “expels cold”.
Ginger is a knotted, thick, beige underground stem, called a rhizome. The stem sticks up about 12 inches above ground with long, narrow, ribbed, green leaves, and white or yellowish-green flowers. Researchers think the active components of the ginger root are volatile oils and pungent phenol compounds (such as gingerols and shogaols).
Today, health care professionals may recommend ginger to help prevent or treat nausea and vomiting from motion sickness, pregnancy, and cancer chemotherapy. It is also used to treat mild stomach upset, to reduce pain of osteoarthritis, and may even be used in heart disease. The evidence is good for osteoarthritis but mixed for motion sickness. Ha, ginger may help your sex life? A famous Arab physician Avicenna wrote that ginger “increases lustful yearnings”, and ginger appears in the Kama Sutra, as it may help increase the testosterone. I do not see any evidence of this after reviewing the literature!
Dosage: Adults: In general, don’t take more than 4g of ginger per day, including food sources. Pregnant women should not take more than 1g per day.
- For nausea, gas, or indigestion: Some studies have used 1g of ginger daily, in divided doses.
- For pregnancy-induced vomiting, some studies have used 650 mg to 1 g per day. Don’t take ginger without first talking to your doctor.
- For arthritis pain: One study used 250 mg 4 times daily.
- For GERD: A single drink of 1g of ginger powder in 100mL of water improved symptoms.
Ginger may interact with prescription and nonprescription medications. If you take any of the following medications, you should not use ginger without first talking to your health care provider.
- Blood-thinning medications — Ginger may increase the risk of bleeding. Talk to your doctor before taking ginger if you take blood-thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin.
- Diabetes medications — Ginger may lower blood sugar. That can raise the risk of developing hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
- High blood pressure medications — Ginger may lower blood pressure, raising the risk of low blood pressure or irregular heartbeat.
Buy Prepare Eat Drink
When you purchase ginger make sure you choose a root with a tight skin. Break it apart to help you peel easier. The Chinese peel it with the square end of the chopstick, but I use my regular peeler. To get in and around the knobs, I use a spoon to scrape off the skin. I then slice it into 1/4 inch slices, layer it on a plate and put in the freezer. When the slices are frozen I put them in a plastic bag in the freezer for whenever I need them. I usually use one slice in my shakes in the morning and the taste goes great with spinach, fruit, protein powder, and almond milk.
You can also make a healthy tea using 2 slices and adding to 2 cups of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain into a cup and add a squeeze of lemon! I drink this when a feel a cold coming on. The recommendation is to drink a few cups of this tea a day for colds or flu. Asians believe that when consumed, hot liquids dissolve the fat in the blood and lower cholesterol. I am encouraging my kids to add this to their diet to help aid their asthma as it is supposed to have anti-inflammatory properties as well, although further research is needed in this area
Add this super food to your diet and let ginger be both thy food and thy medicine!