Ginger is an amazing spice and natural medicine. It belongs to the family Zingiberaceae and scientific name is Zingiber officinale. It is a source of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, protein, sugars, sodium, vitamin B, calcium, iron, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, folate, riboflavin and niacin. It also contains phenolic compounds such as gingerol and shogaol which are its active constituents.
Health benefits of ginger
- Antimicrobial: Gingerols and shogaols are active ingredients in ginger that fight viruses, bacteria and fungi. This makes it effective in treatment of periodontal and respiratory infections and also candida albicans.
- Calms menstrual cramps: Ginger tea helps relieve menstrual cramps and is an alternative to pain relief medications e.g nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs which can cause adverse effects such as gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Antiinflammatory: Gingerol found in ginger has antiinflammatory actions, this makes ginger a common remedy for joint pain such as osteoarthritis.
- Cures cold and flu: Ginger when mixed with honey and lemon relieves symptoms of cold and flu
- Antiemetic: When feeling nauseous or vomiting, munch on ginger or drink the tea to stop nausea, vomiting or morning sickness.
- Relieves cough: It helps clear the throat and get rid of phlegm causing cough.
- Dyspepsia: Also known as indigestion and characterized by feeling full, belching, flatulence, heartburn, upper or mid abdominal pain, bloating can be relieved with ginger.
- Anti-cancer: 6-gingerol and 6-shogaol in ginger also fight cancerous cells.
- Anti diabetic: Research findings has shown that ginger helps regulate blood sugar level.
- Promotes blood circulation: Minerals such as zinc, magnesium and chromium in ginger promote blood circulation and prevent blood clots.
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants in ginger have the ability to fight free radicals thereby reducing risk of diseases.
Benefits of ginger for hair and skin
- Anti-aging: Antioxidants present in ginger fight wrinkles.
- Soothes burns and blisters: Applying a paste of ginger on affected part can relieve burns and blisters pain.
- Hair growth: Because of its ability to increase blood circulation, ginger when applied to the scalp promotes circulation resulting in hair growth
- Skin toning: Ginger when used as a facial mask or scrub can remove dark spots, acne and blemishes thereby giving your skin an even tone.
- Radiant skin: Make a paste of ginger and honey, spread all over your face and wash off after 30 minutes to reveal a glowing skin. The paste can be a little bit peppery though.
- Anti dandruff: Because of its antimicrobial effect, ginger can get rid of dandruff
- Shiny hair: Add ginger to your deep conditioning mix for shiny hair
- Sunscreen: It can also protect the skin from ultraviolet rays.
How you can enjoy ginger
- Add it as a spice to your cooking to give a distinctive taste and aroma.
- Drink ginger juice or add ginger to your fruit juice recipe.
- Enjoy ginger tea with lemon and honey.
- Do not use ginger if you are on anticoagulant (blood thinning) medications such as warfarin.
- Consult your physician if you are on medications before using ginger to prevent interaction. E.g. antidiabetic and antihypertensives
- Lastly, use in small doses.