Ginger is a wonder spice that we’re all familiar with. It is known for adding an enticing flavor and aroma to numerous dishes. It has also been known for being used as a traditional treatment for a great many ailments.
This incredible spice is actually a subtropical plant’s underground stem, also known as the rhizome. The rhizome has brownish skin that is either thick or thin, depending on how young or old the plant was when harvested. When peeled, the ginger’s flesh can be white, yellow, or red; the color of the flesh depends on the type of ginger.
Ginger has a long history of being both a spice and a source of medicine in Asia, India, and the Middle East. It has been present in millions of dining tables in India as an ingredient in their dishes and even drinks (ginger tea – a favorite for Indians). Two thousand years ago, even the ancient Romans started importing this spice from China because of its many uses. Its popularity spread across Europe even though it was an expensive spice since it had to be imported all the way from Asia. To help make the price of ginger go down, Spanish explorers introduced ginger to Mexico, South America, and the West Indies sometime in the 16th century. Today, ginger’s popularity still abounds. It is available all year round at your local market and is sold in various forms – powdered, candied, fresh, pickled, and crystallized.
1. Cancer Prevention
Ginger can be used to prevent or inhibit the progress of certain types of cancer. It may even be more effective than chemotherapy; repetitive chemotherapy has shown that cancer can build a resistance to the action of the drug which makes it lose effectiveness over time. Ginger is able to fight cancer more effectively because the cancer cells do not become resistant to its effects.
Research conducted at the University of Michigan Medical School has shown that ginger root supplements are able to reduce the inflammation of the colon which is a precursor to colon cancer. By reducing the inflammation, the chances of developing colon cancer are reduced. In another study, this time conducted by researchers from the University of Minnesota’s Hormel Institute, it was discovered that gingerols (the main components of ginger) are also able to inhibit the growth of colorectal cancer cells.
In 2011, an animal study on the effect of ginger on prostate cancer cells was conducted at Georgia State University’s Department of Biology. The results, which were published in the PubMed journal of the National Institute of Health, showed that ginger extract can prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells by 56%, inhibit their reproduction, and even cause their death by apoptosis (cell suicide). More importantly, it was discovered that ginger extract does not harm healthy, non-cancerous cells – something that can’t be said for other forms of cancer medication/treatment.
Ginger extract has also been found to be effective in killing ovarian cancer cells. In addition, it is believed that a pro-inflammatory state is an important contributor to the development of ovarian cancer. With ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties, some of the key indicators of inflammation found in the ovarian cancer cells were reduced.
How it Works
When exposed to ginger extract, cancer cells die because they are induced by the gingerols in the extract to either commit apoptosis (cell suicide by destroying themselves) or autophagy (they ate themselves). Gingerols are also responsible for the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger. They suppress the production of pro-inflammatory compounds. Ginger also has antioxidant effects that stop existing inflammation. Stopping or preventing inflammation can help prevent the creation of breeding grounds for certain cancer cells, particularly ovarian and colon cancer cells.
2. Help with osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a problem people are faced with and studies have shown that taken on a period of at least 6 weeks, ginger extract can help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis quite efficiently. It is an anti-inflammatory plant and this makes it able to treat this inflammatory condition.
How it works
Using the ginger extract on a number of people suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee, it was proved they needed less medication as the pain disappeared. It can also be used as a mix of oils containing – ginger, mastic, and cinnamon and sesame oil. This should be applied daily on the problem area and result will not delay in appearing.
3. Lower blood sugar levels
Too much sugar in your blood has bad effects and can lead to diabetes. Recently it was discovered that 2 grams of ginger powder daily, can improve the blood sugar levels from the body. This is good both for the patients that suffer from diabetes as well as for those that have various heart diseases risks.
How to use it
It can be used as ginger supplements or as ginger powder in your tea. Make sure you consult with your doctor and do not give up the medicines treating your conditions.
4. Fights infections
It has anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties, thus it can easily help one, fight infections and treat a cold. It is also good against some diseases of the gums like gingivitis or periodontitis.
How to use
The fresh ginger is the best in these cases. Grate some ginger and mix it with hot water, lemon juice and a tablespoon of honey.
5. Protects the stomach
Digestive disorders are very often and fortunately, we have ginger to help us with these. Ginger helps boost digestion and relieve the stomach cramps.
How to use it
Mix some ginger and artichoke and have it on an empty stomach. After 4 weeks of taking this mix the digestion, bloating and stomach pain will go away.
After a very heavy meal, you can drink a cup of ginger tea and it will help your stomach digest faster.