Sunday, March 17, 2013

Keep ginger on hand! Here's why...

Did your mother give you ginger ale when you had a tummy ache? And it probably worked too!  Here's why: to help aid in digestion, ginger breaks down the proteins to clear the stomach and intestines of gas. It also helps digestion of fatty foods. Mom was right! I'd stick to the real thing though, as I'm sure Vernors has a hefty dose of sugar.

Ginger helps with all sorts of nausea including morning sickness, post chemotherapy and motion sickness. We're sailors, and a staple on our boat is ginger tea, or ginger candy (sometimes it's hard to brew tea when the seas are rough)! But there's plenty of other reasons to keep ginger on hand:
  • It stimulates circulation and relaxes muscles around blood vessels, getting the blood moving around. This is helpful for menstrual cramps as well as lowering high blood pressure. 
  • It can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. In fact, in 1980, a group of Cornell Medical school researchers published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine confirming that ginger completely inhibited the potentially life-threatening process of platelet aggregation. It actually interferes with cholesterol biosynthesis. 
Aspirin - Ginger? You decide...
  • When brewed as a tea, it induces sweating, which can help a fever run it's course.
  • Ginger may prevent ulcers, in fact, at least six anti-ulcer constituents from ginger have been isolated and identified.
  • Many have marveled at how ginger can treat two opposites - prevent nausea & ulcers while treating constipation & diarrhea at the same time. It does this by inhibiting toxic bacteria while promoting friendly bacteria, all without side effects!  
  • Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is our body's response to illness or injury, keeping us from moving a damaged area while it's healing. But, in some conditions, like arthritis, diverticulitis  and heart disease, the inflammation doesn't go away and can lead to other problems. Ginger is used in treating chronic inflammation because it inhibits two important enzymes. Anti-inflammatory drugs only affect one, and not the other, which only addresses part of the problem. Not to mention the side effects like ulcers, whereas ginger has no side effects and does not cause stomach irritation.
  • Some studies are finding that ginger may reduce sugar levels, promising for those with diabetes.
  • New research reported at The American Association for Cancer conference found that ginger actually suppressed cancer cells, suggesting that the herb is able to fuel the death of cancer cells. It has been shown to work against skin, ovarian, colon and breast cancer. 
  • There have been studies that conclude that ginger enhances immunity too. 
So go out and buy yourself some ginger! It comes in many different forms, fresh ginger root (shown above) can be used as a spice or made into a tea. 

To make tea, simmer 3/4 teaspoon of chopped ginger in one cup of water for five minutes in a closed pot. Remove the slices and sip your tea! Drinking before meals will help digestion. 

Dried ginger root can be blended in herbal teas and chai. Ginger powder capsules are available and ginger essential oil is a wonderful addition to blends for sore joints and muscles. I get my products from Mountain Rose Herbs

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