Gift Of Ginger

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Ginger is the underground rhizome or root of the ginger plant. It can be yellow, white or red in color, depending upon the variety. It is covered with a brownish skin that may either be thick or thin, depending upon the age of the plant when it is harvested.

Ginger is used in different forms, including fresh, dried, powdered or ground, pickled, preserved, crystallized, and candied. The flavor is somewhat peppery and slightly sweet, with a strong and spicy aroma. It is one of the most commonly consumed dietary condiments in the world.

Indians and Chinese are believed to have cultivated ginger as a tonic root for over 5000 years to treat many ailments. Ginger was used as a flavoring agent long before history was formally recorded. Native to southeastern Asia, a region where this wonderfully spicy herb is routinely consumed, ginger has been renowned for millennia in many areas throughout the world. Ginger is mentioned in ancient Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern writings, and has long been prized for its aromatic, culinary and medicinal properties.

After the ancient Romans imported ginger from China almost two thousand years ago, its popularity in Europe remained centered in the Mediterranean region until the Middle Ages when its use spread throughout other countries. Although it was a very expensive spice, owing to the fact that it had to be imported from Asia, it was still in great demand. In an attempt to make it more available, Spanish explorers introduced ginger to the West Indies, Mexico and South America, and in the 16th century, these areas began exporting the precious herb back to Europe.

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the value of a pound of ginger was equivalent to the cost of a sheep. By medieval times, it was being imported in preserved form to be used in sweets. Queen Elizabeth I of England is credited with the invention of the gingerbread man, which became a popular Christmas treat.

Today, the top commercial producers of ginger include Jamaica, India, Fiji, Indonesia and Australia.

Health Benefits Of Ginger

Ginger has a historic tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. In herbal medicine, ginger is regarded as an excellent carminative (a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance which relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract). Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects.

Ginger has been used for thousands of years for the treatment of numerous ailments, such as colds, nausea, arthritis, migraines, and hypertension. Ginger is so concentrated with active substances that large amounts are not required to receive its beneficial effects.

Gastrointestinal and Nausea Relief:

The effectiveness of ginger as an antiemetic has been attributed to its carminative effect, which helps to break up and expel intestinal gas. Ginger is very effective in preventing the symptoms of motion sickness, especially seasickness. Ginger reduces all symptoms associated with motion sickness including dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and cold sweating. Ginger’s anti-nausea characteristic has been shown to be very useful in reducing the nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Its consumption as an anti-nausea remedy in early pregnancy has very few or no side effects.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects:

One of the many health benefits attributed to ginger is its ability to decrease inflammation, swelling, and pain. Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. These substances are believed to explain why so many people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels and improvements in their mobility when they consume ginger regularly.

Strengthening Cardiovascular Health:

Ginger is an incredible super-food that is highly beneficial for the cardiovascular system. It has been found to reduce blood pressure, prevent blood clots and lower cholesterol. The combination of all of these benefits work together to prevent major cardiovascular system problems such as stroke and heart disease.

Protection against Colorectal Cancer:

Gingerols, the main active components in ginger and the ones responsible for its distinctive flavor, may also inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells. Many researchers are optimistic that ginger compounds may be effective chemo-preventive and/or chemotherapeutic agents for colorectal carcinomas.

Kills Ovarian Cancer Cells:

Lab experiments have shown that gingerols, the active phytonutrients in ginger, kill ovarian cancer cells by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) and auto-phagocytosis (self-digestion).

Boosts Immune System:

Ginger has a warming effect and can help promote healthy sweating, which is especially beneficial during colds and flus. A good sweat may do a lot more than simply assist detoxification because sweat contains a potent germ-fighting agent that may help fight off infections.

Defense against Asthma and Respiratory Illnesses:

Ginger has been used for centuries in treating respiratory illnesses. Research suggests that components of ginger contain potent compounds capable of suppressing allergic reactions and might be useful for the treatment and prevention of allergic diseases.

Control Diabetes:

Ginger not only could help prevent type II diabetes, it could be used as a treatment as well. Ginger helps to regulate insulin release and improves the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates and fats. This is especially helpful for diabetics. Ginger has also been found to help reduce glucose levels in the blood as well as help balance cholesterol levels. When all of these levels are balanced and the insulin is being properly released into the body, diabetics are able to manage their diabetes better and it does not have to be a constant struggle.

Improved Brain Function and Memory

The antioxidants found in ginger are known to help reduce oxidative stress, and its anti-inflammatory properties can slow the aging process in the brain. Ginger helps slow down mental decline and boost memory.

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