As a food additive and medicine which has been used daily for thousands of years all over the world, ginger offers a number of benefits to the human body and mind. A tropical plant that was first discovered in South East Asia, ginger is of the Turmeric family.
The ginger roots consist of more than 400 chemical compounds including minerals and vitamins such as Vitamin B3, B6 and C, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Folate, Riboflavin, and Niacin. These compounds carry antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial properties which have a multitude of benefits.
Raw or heat-treated ginger reduces muscle pain by around 25%. This recovering process is supported by the anti-inflammatory properties found in Ginger. In order to get full result, it has been advised to consume ginger after 24 hours from the time the muscles have been worked out. (1)
The blood thinning and anticoagulant effect due to Salicylates found in ginger helps the free-flowing of blood, reduce the chance for blood clotting. As blood clotting and blood thickening usually lead to heart attacks and strokes ginger is believed to reduce the occurrence of heart diseases through inflammation and oxidative stress
Ginger also helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels while it also helps in improving liver function. These effects have parallel support on lowering blood pressure which is another root for heart disease. (2)
Ginger is also helpful in treating Osteoarthritis of the knee through consumption or topical application, mainly due to the COX-2 inhibitor effect in ginger, which is similar to the arthritis medication used to relieve pain. (3)
The cell-protecting properties found in ginger reduces the risk of developing certain cancers. It also sanitizes existing tumours for treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. The anti-oxidants in ginger helps to reduce the free radical in the body that leads to cell damage and diseases. (4)
Ginger is a good source of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that reduces anxiety and depression. Rich with antioxidants, ginger also reduces free radicals that damage DNA, fat and proteins. Anti-oxidants in ginger also protects neurons against oxidative stress that is known to be a root cause for Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. (5)
Diabetes of the brain is a result of the high glucose levels found in the brain. Research has revealed that high glucose concentrations can lead to an increase of beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles, raising a reasonable doubt that Alzheimer’s disease could be the third form of diabetes. The anti-inflammatory property of ginger along with the support received by the antioxidants reduces the Diabetes based ROS production in the brain. (6)
Ginger improves the skin’s elasticity while providing anti-ageing benefits. Ginger contains almost 40 compounds that protect the skin from ageing. Good results can be derived if a mask made of powdered ginger, honey, and fresh lemon juice is applied topically on the face once a week. (7)
Consumption of ginger breaks down fat and speeds up digestion. Similarly, it also helps to eliminate toxins from the body promoting fast cellulite reduction. Ginger improves the blood flow of the face. This helps in the brightening up of the complexion. The anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce any kind of inflammation on the skin while improving the skin’s elasticity. Applying of ginger topically on areas that have scars, reduces their visibility.
Ginger is believed to improve the flow of blood on the scalp and to provides the required nutrition for the hair follicles and encourages growth strengthening the hair from the root to the tip. The antiseptics found in ginger support the nourishment of the scalp reducing the risk of getting dandruff. It also consists of fatty acids that prevent the hair from thinning making it thicker, giving a natural shine.
While scientific research is yet to reveal the full potential of ginger, Eastern Medicinal practices and herbal medication has long used ginger as a potent cure for many ailments;
Reduce Menstrual Pain - Ginger tea, made by boiling fresh ginger slices for a few minutes has proven to reduce menstrual pains.
Sore throat - The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger help to soothe the inflammation in throat soothing the symptoms of sore throat. Best consumed with tea and honey
Nausea - Slow yet consistent consumption of ginger tea can reduce nauseaIndigestion - Ginger’s effect on indigestion and gastrointestinal irritation has long been proven through research (8) Consumption of small portions of ginger juice or ginger tea reduces symptoms of indigestion, gastrointestinal irritation, and acid reflux.