Health Benefits of Ginger: Treating Different Types of Pain

In many kitchens around the world especially in Asia, ginger is a common item found. Used in a variety of culinary preparations ranging from soups and savory dishes to even desserts and drinks, ginger (Zingiber officinale) is equally at home to both the savory and the sweet. One advantage that people claim it to have is its inherent medicinal properties. Some of the claimed health benefits of ginger are supported by various scientific studies and therefore its use has been certified and approved of in alternative and integrative medicine. Described below are some of the ways people can use it as well as the conditions that can be treated.

Used to Treat Nausea and Vomiting

Ginger is usually available in its fresh form. People who are experiencing nausea, vomiting, or stomach upset will find relief from using it. One has to peel a piece of it first before consuming. The peeled ginger can be used in a couple of ways. It can be eaten as it is or be chopped, diced, or ground for use in other dishes. The chopped pieces can also be boiled in hot water to create a sort of herbal tea to drink as is or be flavored further with lemon and honey.

Scientific studies suggest that it has active ingredients that can relieve symptoms such as pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting. It is speculated that in studies relating to the use of it, in which a certain active ingredient in the plant called gingerols help relax smooth muscles in the gastrointestinal tract, leading to symptomatic relief. Research conclusions, however, are mixed with regard to its effectiveness against nausea caused by motion, chemotherapy, or surgery.

Be Free of Motion Sickness

If there’s anything that is troubling with traveling by sea, it is sea sickness, the more appropriate term for which is motion sickness. People who are traveling can take some ginger prior to setting foot on a boat, riding the bus, or flying on an airplane in order to avoid symptoms related to motion sickness. Same as with pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting, it has substantiated claims with regard to getting rid of motion sickness.

In a study that involved 80 novice sailors, the group that took powdered ginger had less motion sickness symptoms when compared to those who received placebo. The same results were observed in another study involving healthy individuals. Studies suggest, however, that other pharmaceutical preparations are more effective, although comparing ginger and motion sickness medication side by side reveals that the use of ginger has virtually no side effects.

Used for Pain Management

It can also be used just like aspirin. Some herbal medicine proponents report that one teaspoon of fresh ground or grated ginger soaked in two teaspoons of honey can be taken just like NSAIDs to relieve pain and swelling. According to such sources, the said preparation should be taken every 12 hours.

What does science say? Although results have been mixed, there are studies that indicate its effectiveness as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory. One study that was published in the Journal of Pain Medicine concluded that with 4 to 36 weeks of daily doses, ranging from 30 to 500 mg per dose, subjects suffering from osteoarthritis had reduced knee and joint pain. Another study suggests that taking 2-gram capsules (the equivalent of one teaspoon of fresh ginger) is useful for relieving muscle pain after exercise.

Helps Relieve Sore Throat

The plant is very popular for the treatment of sore throat. In the Philippines, the local people prepare a traditional morning beverage called “Salabat”, which is the infusion or tea recipe using chopped ginger mixed in with some sugar. The said ginger tea is popular in the Philippines that even singers take it to soothe their voices. Other popular preparations are grated ginger steeped in honey and ginger candy.  The sore throat relieving capability is most likely associated with its analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.

Fights Cancer

Benefits of GingerA daily diet that includes ginger has been found by researchers to prevent and fight cancer. One research study showed that in mice that were afflicted with cancer, the group that was fed gingerbread had slower rates of cancer growth. Such research has suggested that ginger contains substances that are 5-LO inhibitors. The substance 5-LO is suggested to play a role in converting arachidonic acid into 5-HETE that is said to be the substance that cancer cells such as those in prostate cancer thrive upon.

Once known as a cure-all, it appears that ginger is now living up to its historical reputation as an agent of healing. Given the fact that ginger is not known for causing any side effects, it can be concluded that it is a very useful natural alternative to other drugs.

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