Ginger, whose botanical name is Zingiber officinale, is a perennial plant with green leaves that can grow up to one meter in height. The root and stem of this plant is a very valuable rhizome used for cooking due to its spicy flavor and unmistakable smell.
Origin of ginger
The root of this plant has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese and Indian culture. For example, they used it as seasoning and as one of the best remedies for health since it can help to treat many diseases.
In the 16th century, the Spanish settlers brought it to Europe. With time, it became one of the most popular and valuable spices in the continent.
However, we still need to learn a lot about its multiple benefits for health and its healing properties. In fact, ginger has bioactive agents that help to treat many disorders and diseases.
Historically, it has been used to relieve headaches and migraines, lower the blood pressure and treat colds. Surprisingly, it could also be a promising testosterone enhancer for men with fertility problems.
Properties of Ginger
Pharmacologically, ginger is a serotonin receptor antagonist, which is a neurotransmitter that suppresses the insulin release in specific pancreatic cells. Consequently, taking this root is directly related to an insulin increase and a lower blood glucose (higher in rodents). Therefore, it can relieve some of the problems of having high blood sugar levels, like less gastric motility.
Ginger root has many properties for our health
Benefits of Ginger for our health
The clinical studies have confirmed what Asian people have known for thousands of years. That is, it has many healing properties and benefits for health:
- Stimulating the organs, energizing and relaxing the muscles
- Preventing and treating headaches, colds, coughing
- Reducing the inflammation in cases of migraine, tension or cramps
- Detoxifying the organism and supporting weight loss
- Fighting against chronic fatigue, tiredness and stress
- Strengthening the immune system
Ginger is also one of the best remedies to prevent and heal headaches, colds, coughing and colds.
Moreover, it can help with indigestion, stomach inflammation, constipation, nausea and vomits.
On the other hand, ginger powder has proven to be particularly effective to relieve the pain and reduce the inflammation. Even in cases of rheumatism, arthritis, migraine, tension and cramps.
This plant has another renowned property that consists of detoxifying the organism. In turn, it supports weight loss processes for those following a weight loss diet.
Also, it is a great energizer that helps to deal with chronic fatigue, tiredness and stress.
In addition, it strengthens the immune system while preventing the colds and flu.
Ginger powder is usually available so that we can use it for cooking
To make an infusion, you will need approximately 1g of freshly grated ginger and a little bit of lemon juice. You can also add it to soups or cook hot chicken consomme with grated ginger.
Another way would be taking an extract supplement in capsules, tablets or powder.
How does it provide other benefits for health
Ginger is the best natural remedy to prevent dizziness and nausea when we travel. So much so that even the first sailors always carried some ginger.
Several clinical studies have assessed its excellent anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. They have concluded that its effects are similar to those of anti-inflammatory medicines like diclofenac.
Therefore, a ginger supplement can help to relieve headaches and migraines. A clinical study proved that those who suffer osteoarthritis can relieve the pain by taking between 30 and 500 milligrams daily.
Ginger is effective when it comes to reducing muscle pain, arthritis and rheumatism. If we want to treat headaches or migraines, it is enough to take 1cm of ginger cut in small pieces mixed with half a liter of water, juice or tea. Drink it throughout the day.
Nevertheless, you can take ginger in tablets, capsules, oils or simply chew some fresh root. That is up to you!
Effects and how to use it
Ginger is a very versatile spice with many different uses: fresh, powder, in brine, confitted, dry, oil. For cooking, people mainly use fresh powder to season foods. However, it has been used as seasoning in Asia for thousands of years.
We can use fresh grated or chopped ginger in order to season many meals: soups, chicken, lamb, seafood, salads and vegetables.
Moreover, it also adds a special touch to spicy sauces, marmalade, fruit compote, brine or pickled products. It can also be used to make bread.
Japanese people tend to eat pickled ginger with sushi while British people use it to make beer and tea. Actually, it makes a great combo with curry. In fact, Indian people tend to take some slices of fresh ginger with boiling water, a perfect drink for the body. You can add some honey in order to strengthen the metabolism.
Both in China and India, ginger roots are regarded as an aphrodisiac, apart from being a very versatile spices to season fish.
Benefits of ginger against menstrual pain
Ginger is a natural remedy to relieve the menstrual pain. You can take it either in infusions, capsules, pills, oils or chewing the fresh root.
The essential oil is specially aimed to control the pain. To do so, you just have to squeeze the ginger until you get a few drops and mix 1 part of ginger with 5 parts of sesame oil. Use this blend to massage the area of the body where you feel pain.
Another benefits of ginger for our health consists of preventing and treating respiratory diseases.
Ginger treats coughing and chronic bronchitis
Tuber has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that heal chronic coughing and bronchitis. Moreover, its essential oils have anti-spasmodic effects that combat the coughing and mucosity. It is advisable to drink a ginger infusion a day in order to treat said problems. Or you can inhale the steam from a blend of fresh ginger root with a towel over your head.
Other simple remedy could be the following: dissolve two teaspoons of ginger powder in 500ml of hot water (around 75ºC approximately) and let it soak. Now, soak a cloth on this blend and put it over your chest, back or affected area for 30 minutes.
What are the benefits of ginger for pregnancy
A ginger supplement helps to fight against the nausea and vomits which are common to a pregnancy.
However, pregnant women should take this tuber with moderation, since an excess can trigger contractions.
The best thing in case of pregnancy is consulting your doctor before taking it.
Ginger relieves gastrointestinal problems
The gingerol from ginger inhibits the growth of Helicobacter pylori bacteria in the gastric mucosa. Therefore, it produces a positive effect on the treatment of stomach problems.
Ginger also increases the gastric acid secretion and bowel peristalsis, improving the digestion and blood flow. The spicy root does not irritate the mucous membranes, rather, it protects the stomach and prevents the onset of intestinal diseases.
Around 1-3g of ginger daily can be helpful when we suffer diseases that involve nausea, hyperglycemia, pre-menstrual syndrome or pregnancy. It seems that its effects do not depend on any kind of food, although it is advisable to avoid eating meals high in fat and/or very high in carbs.
It can help us lose weight and detoxify the body. Even if it can improve the digestive system, it could not be a great ally for those who are susceptible to stomach acidity.
An infusion is a perfect ally in any weight loss diet. In fact, it increases the metabolism and blood flow. Consequently it provides heat to the body, which stimulates and improves the elimination of many calories, fats and toxins in a completely natural way. Moreover, this tuber helps to eliminate the effects of substances like alcohol more quickly.
We can drink a ginger infusion when we follow a weight loss diet and when to want to cleanse the body. Apart from eating the tuber, it is advisable to follow a healthy diet that will supply all the essential nutrients.
Ginger and its effects against type 2 diabetes
The researchers from the University of Medical Science from Tabriz in Iran, published a study on the “International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition”. According to said study, ginger can increase the insulin sensitivity of those who suffer type 2 diabetes.
The study lasted two months and it was conducted on 64 people with type 2 diabetes. They randomly either took a placebo or 2 grams of ginger daily. At the end of the study, those who took ginger opposed less resistance to insulin and considerably lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Another study, this time conducted by the University of Sydney in 2012, concluded that: a ginger extract can help to increase the glucose absorption in cells even independently of insulin. The researchers noticed that the substances responsible for this quality are a type of phenols called gingerols.
Gingerols seem to increase the distribution of protein known as GLUT4 which makes it easier for the muscles to absorb glucose. A GLUT4 deficiency is one of the main causes of insulin resistance and high blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes.
There was yet another study, this time published the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition in 2011. It proved how ginger can inhibit the effect of the enzymes alpha-glucosidase and alpha-amylase as well as the pro-inflammatory enzyme cyclooxygenase. The inflammation is closely connected to a great number of chronic diseases like diabetes.
Another study from 2009 published in the “European Journal of Pharmacology” determined that ginger extract lower the blood insulin levels in 10%. As well as the blood sugar levels in a 35% approximately.
Ginger and better testosterone levels
After 30 weeks of treatment, the serum testosterone had increased in a 17.7%; the serum luteinizing hormone in a 43.2%; and the follicle stimulating hormone in a 17.6%. However, the researchers did not reveal the ginger dose used. In a study conducted by researchers from the University of Tikrit showed a significant increases in serum hormones (p <0,01) in infertile men.
These higher testosterone levels are due to the fact that ginger can effectively reduce the sperm DNA fragmentation index (DFI).
However, it is still too early to give a concluding explanation about the physiological mechanisms that have such promising results.
How to take ginger
There are many ways to include ginger in our daily diet
- Natural and fresh ginger root: You can chew it or grate it to season your meals.
- Infusion: It can help to relieve pain in general and stomach and intestinal problems.
- Sage and ginger infusion: Advised to detoxify the body and to lose weight.
- Lemon and ginger infusion: It invigorates the body and helps to treat digestive problems or colds.
- Essential oil: Use it to massage the areas where you feel pain, prepare a relaxing bath or use it to burn incense. It improves the blood flow, relaxes and relieves the symptoms of arthritis, rheumatism, joint and muscle spasms. In fact, it stimulates the blood flow to the muscles and metabolism while breaking down the lactic acid from the muscle tissue. Consequently, it relieves muscle pain, which is why it is so advised to reduce the muscle tension or do massages before or after the workout. At the same time, this essential oil helps to take care of the skin and relaxes the body to decrease the fatigue, tension or stress.
- Pickled ginger: It preserves all the ingredients and benefits from this tuber and it is delicious. Add it to all kinds of recipes or cook some biscuits.
- Capsules: they are very practical, since you can carry them in a pocket and take them whenever you need. Moreover, they are quite effective to avoid the nausea when we travel. Each capsule has 250mg of ginger powder and it prevents the dizziness, nausea and vomits.
- Ginger capsules combined with vitamin B1 and C: This product is meant to provide all the benefits from ginger to the body, apart from vitamin B1 and vitamin C. They can help us take care of our metabolism and digestion.
- Tablets: Specially advised for those who have digestive problems. It contributes to the proper functioning of the digestive system while keeping the immune system stable.
- Ginger powder: The drying process stimulates the gingerols from ginger. Consequently, it enhances its anticancer properties. Another property consists of stimulating the production of stomach acid, improving the digestion and stimulating the metabolism to increase the blood flow. All in all, these effects will help to prevent dangerous deposits in the blood vessels, avoiding thrombosis or strokes.
- Ginger gummies with lemon: A combination of spicy ginger and acid lemon. Although it has sugar, it is still a healthy snack that we can enjoy at any time thanks to its delicious flavor.
You should never exceed the recommended dose for each of the formats we have mentioned. Check the product instructions before taking it. Also, let’s not forget that food supplements should not replace a balanced diet, rather, combine them with a healthy nutrition.
If you want to buy the best ginger supplements you can do so in the HSN online store
Who can benefit from a ginger supplement?
- Those who want to keep their glucose levels stable
- People with pre-diabetes, diabetes, overweight or obesity suffer insulin resistance
- Those who want to improve their digestive health or try a natural alternative against digestive problems (heartburn, indigestion…)
- As a natural remedy against common colds, since ginger has mucolytic properties
- As a remedy against nausea and vomits
- People who have joint problems due to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects
- Men who want to increase their testosterone levels with a natural product
- Al-Kadir Mares, W.A., Najam, W.S. (2012). The effect of Ginger on semen parameters and serum FSH, LH & testosterone of infertile men. Tikrit Medical Journal;18(2):322-329
- Gonlachanvit, S., Chen, Y. H., Hasler, W. L., Sun, W. M., & Owyang, C. (2003). Ginger reduces hyperglycemia-evoked gastric dysrhythmias in healthy humans: possible role of endogenous prostaglandins. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 307(3), 1098-1103.
- Hu, M. L., Rayner, C. K., Wu, K. L., Chuah, S. K., Tai, W. C., Chou, Y. P., … & Hu, T. H. (2011). Effect of ginger on gastric motility and symptoms of functional dyspepsia. World J Gastroenterol, 17(1), 105-10.
- Shariatpanahi, Z. V., Taleban, F. A., Mokhtari, M., & Shahbazi, S. (2010). Ginger extract reduces delayed gastric emptying and nosocomial pneumonia in adult respiratory distress syndrome patients hospitalized in an intensive care unit. Journal of critical care, 25(4), 647-650.
- Surh, Y. J. (1999). Molecular mechanisms of chemopreventive effects of selected dietary and medicinal phenolic substances. Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis, 428(1), 305-327.