Zingiber officinale

Ginger is not only common kitchen spice, but that has been traded across the world for millenia for its medicinal properties. It was valued enough that in the second century AD the Roman Empire was levying taxes on ginger imports, among a short list of other items. The Latin Zingiber, and many present day names for the herb in European languages, were derived from ancient Tamil Ingiver. It’s medicinal values are currently studied clinically, but have been apparent for millennia. Aside from the modern recognition it has been used by western medical traditions, and heavily in Ayurvedic and Chinese medical traditions. [1]

Ginger supports healthy digestion and digestive health, can alleviate nausea, and has a host of other powerful impacts stemming from it’s unique gingerol compounds and anti-inflammatory effects [2].

Such a solid foundation of digestive support and rising to combat chronic health conditions certainly makes ginger a golden superfood.

A Golden Root

1. A Powerful Antioxidant

Gingerol and gingerol compounds (among other things such as it’s flavanols) are a unique and powerful piece of ginger’s potency, especially through the scavenging of free radicals [3,4,5].

Antioxidant effects have a broad spectrum impact on the body and ginger’s antioxidants syngergize with other supportive elements across the body.  It’s not the anti-oxidant effect alone that makes ginger such an ageless dietary prize, but they are a pervasive element of the herb’s potential. [6]

2. Digestive Support

Ginger has been used in as a digestive support for millenia – historically recognized as a “carminative” in western herbalism [7] – and indeed, modern science has explored ginger’s gastric bounties.

It is commonly used to support with gastric issues like constipation, dyspepsia, belching, bloating, gastritis, epigastric discomfort, gastric ulcerations, ad indigestion [8] through a variety of functions including supporting gastric emptying [9] and ulcer protection [6,10],

 3. Nausea Relief

Ginger is oft prescribed by western [11] and eastern [12] doctors,  home herbalists alike [13] as a remedy for nausea.

Not only a home remedy for travel sickness and  pregnancy, it’s even prescribed for post-op and chemotherapy nausea! [14,15,16,17]

4. Supports Metabolism Health

Aside from aiding digestion in general, ginger has a number of beneficial effects on the broader metabolism.

There is evidence to support ginger’s value as a weight loss aid that fights obesity through thermogenesis, increase in lipolysis, suppression of lipgenesis, and appetite control. [18]

It also has a direct anti-hyperglycemic effect that counteracts diabetes [19,20]. Additionally, it may help counteract the damage of hyperglycemia on the brain in those with diabetes via its anti-oxidant impact[21]. It may also support the digestion and metabolizing of high fat diets [22].

It seems the impact of ginger on the metabolism and weight is multifaceted and complex [22].

5. Anti-Inflammatory

Ginger is used as a dietary supplement for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis [6] and studies have shown decided promise indicating it’s effectiveness at reducing pain from chronic [23] and acute [24,25] inflammation. These anti-inflammatory effects are far reaching, and alongside the anti-oxidant effects have broad spectum influence [22].

6. Anti Cancer Support

Ginger has been studied it’s anti-carcinogenic potential including 6-gingerol and 6 shogaol’s role in suppression of cancer development and metastasis, as well as induction of apoptosis. [22,26,27,28,29,30]

7. Heart health

Ayurvedic medicine sees ginger as a tool for combating heart disease and supporting the heart [31,32,33], and indeed studies show it can help regulate cholesterol levels [34,35]. It may be that this is most effective for regulating conversion of dietary cholesterol [36].

8. Prevents Infections

Ginger has been shown effective as both an anti-bacterial and anti-viral.

There’s evidence to indicate part of it’s heralded anti-ulcer activity is due to it’s inhibition of helicobacter pylori growth among other things [37].

Ginger is often used in Chinese and Ayuervedic cold remedies [38], and has been shown to have action against human respiratory viruses [39,40]

Ginger constituents have also been shown to be effective in combating periodontal bactria that cause cavities [41].

9. Menstrual Symptom Support

As part of its anti-inflammatory and even analgesic effects, ginger has long been recommended as a home remedy for women suffering from painful cramps, and also nausea [42]. Indeed, ginger compares to ibuprofen and mefenamic acid (both NSAIDs) even in a double blind clinical trial [43] and out preforms a placebo [44]. In these studies individuals took ~1000 grams of ginger powder spread out over the course of a day.

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