12 Health Benefits of Ginger

Organic Buenos Aires staff

Ginger is an incredible natural healing plant and has been used medicinally for centuries, particularly for nausea, upset stomach and dizziness.

However, it has also been proven to help with a number of serious diseases, due to its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, making it a great natural immune system booster.

Other key properties of ginger include phenolic antioxidants, which help protect against diseases that are caused by oxidative damage, including stroke, heart disease and cancer.

Ginger has also been found to exhibit antiproliferative powers, which suggest it may also be useful as a chemopreventive agent. A British study has found that the in vitro and in vivo anticancer activity of ginger may make it effective in managing certain cancers.

So what health problems can ginger be used for? What health benefits does the amazing plant possess?

1. Ovarian Cancer Treatment and Prevention

A new study has found that ginger may be able to treat and even prevent ovarian cancer. Along with ginger’s antioxidant and cancer-fighting properties, ginger also has a component called gingerol which is anti-inflammatory as well. The study found that ginger stopped growth in cultured ovarian cancer cells, and inhibited the transitional step where tumours move from a dormant to a malignant state.

2. Prostate Cancer Treatment

Whole ginger extract has been found to significantly inhibit growth of prostate cancer cells. In one study, the ginger extract stopped cell-cycle progression as well as modulated molecules that regulate cell death. The ginger extract was found to significantly reduce the size of tumours without releasing toxicity into normal tissues.

3. Colon Cancer Prevention

A study funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute late last year found that ginger root supplements reduce colon inflammation. This has led researchers to believe ginger may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

4. Motion Sickness and Dizziness

Ginger is also great for preventing motion sickness or relieving the symptoms of motion sickness. Again, raw ginger, such as in a tea form, is a great way to combat motion sickness.

5. Migraine Relief

Ginger root helps relieve tension, swelling and pain that cause migraine headaches naturally and without side effects. Ginger contains potent anti-inflammatory properties that help block the prostaglandins which cause migraines. Ginger also relieves pain and eliminates nausea and vomiting, which are all common symptoms of migraines.

6. Morning Sickness Relief

Ginger is a great remedy for nausea and has been found to be very effective against morning sickness. You can take raw ginger or ginger tea in order to relieve the symptoms of morning sickness.

7. Reduces Pain and Inflammation

A 2010 study revealed that ginger worked as a great pain reliever, particularly for exercise-induced pain. By consuming raw ginger, rather than heat-treated ginger, pain was reduced by 25% within 24 hours.

8. Menstrual Cramp Relief

A 2009 study found that women who took ginger while menstruating experienced pain relief equal to that of ibuprofen. The warming properties in ginger increase circulation, relax muscles and ease menstrual cramps.

9. Heartburn Relief

Ginger works as an aromatic bitter, which relieves indigestion and gas by reducing spasms in the intestinal tract. Ginger also decreases inflammation in the stomach and creates a barrier against stomach acid and aids digestion. These properties make ginger great for stomach aches and flatulence as well.

10. Prevention of Diabetic Nephropathy

Diabetic nephropathy is when diabetics develop kidney disease, which is a common problem. Thankfully there are a number of herbal remedies and plant derivatives that can protect against kidney problems, including ginger.

11. Cold and Flu Prevention

Fresh ginger is a great treatment for coughing and fever that comes with colds and flu. Ginger is particularly good in a tea, such as with lemon and honey. Ginger and honey are also well documented as boosting the immune system which is an important factor in preventing and treating colds and flu.

12. Heart Health and Lowering Cholesterol

A particular breakthrough over the past decade is the discovery that ginger offers potent cardiovascular benefits by preventing atherosclerosis and lowering cholesterol levels. Ginger has also been found to prevent oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL).

Not everyone can tolerate ginger, but if you do like the warm, aromatic plant, then you can prepare it in the following ways. Fresh ginger works great as a tea in boiling water with raw honey, or grated in a vegetable juice, or added to food, such as sautéed with vegetables and meat, chopped onto fish, or added to sauces or dressings.

You can also use ginger to soothe tired and aching muscles by soaking in a warm bath with freshly grated ginger added, or by using a ginger compress. You can also buy candied ginger at health food stores or the organic markets in Buenos Aires, which only needs to be consumed in very small amounts. Powdered ginger is also available but the fresh root is much better and available in China Town or at the markets.