Also known as Zingiber officinalis. Ginger is a tropical perennial that grows from an aromatic, tuberous rhizome that is knotty and buff-coloured. The name Ginger is derived from the Sanscrit ‘gringa’ meaning ‘horn’, and ‘vera’ meaning ‘body’, in reference to the shape of the root.
A perennial native to China and India, ginger root has been used for centuries in Asian cooking and for it’s medicinal properties – it has a recorded history of use in China dating from the 4th century B.C. Ancient people used ginger root to cure everything from menstrual cramps to food poisoning, and it was highly sought after by spice traders. Ginger was considered a ‘universal medicine’ by the ancient people and today, it remains a component of more than fifty percent of the traditional herbal remedies.
In modern medicine, ginger has been used to;
Treat the common cold, congestion and fevers
Provide analgesic and anti-viral properties
Cleanse the colon
Reduce spasms and cramps
Stimulate the circulation
Aid metabolism and weight loss
Lower ‘bad’ cholesterol
Treat bloating, vomiting, indigestion and bowel disorders
Treat nausea associated with morning sickness and motion sickness
In addition to containing beneficial vitamin A, vitamin C, and phytochemicals, this robust rhizome can kill harmful microbes, and help clear toxins from the blood. It is still used in Asian medicine as a treatment for asthma, shortness of breath, water retention, earache, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.
Ginger is a strong antioxidant and effective microbial agent for sores and wounds. It helps protect the gastric system by increasing the pH of stomach acid, reducing its acidity, and thereby lowering the rate of gastric secretions and increasing digestive enzyme activity. Rather than blocking the feelings of nausea in the brain, it acts directly on the stomach and liver to reduce nausea and vomiting. Ginger tea brewed from the fresh root has been used in India and China for centuries as an after meal drink to aid digestion.
Preliminary research has suggested that ginger boosts weight loss by burning calories. By measuring a complicated series of reactions, researchers found that ginger made the tissues use more energy.