Ginger is the root of the plant Zingiber officinale. For many centuries it has been used either as a spice or as a herbal remedy. What are ginger actions and how can we benefit from taking ginger?
What is ginger
Ginger is a perennial plant that grows primarily in Asia and has been used in cooking, perfumery, and phytotherapy to treat a variety of conditions such as arthritis, indigestion, colitis, nausea, etc. The active part of the plant is the root of the ginger. It belongs to the same family of plants as turmeric and kukule and contains over 100 substances. The active compounds of ginger are phenolic compounds and mainly gingerol. The root has few calories but many nutrients and vitamins.
The anti-inflammatory effects of ginger are due to the reduction of prostaglandin production and the inhibition of leukotriene production, substances that play a leading role in chronic inflammation. It has also been found to have analgesic effects, as it can relieve swelling and pain, especially in joints.
Ginger has been shown to have a strong antioxidant effect by inhibiting the oxidative damages caused by various environmental factors and also appears to improve and affect the action of glutathione, one of the most powerful antioxidant mechanisms. Thanks to its antioxidant action, its role in cardiovascular health is also under research.
Nausea and vomit
The most common and widely known use of ginger is to relieve the symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Its anti-emetic action is due to its ability to reduce and eliminate intestinal gas from the gastrointestinal tract and also appears to affect the uptake of serotonin from its receptors. In addition, it helps reduce the flatulence and especially the discomfort caused by the food and it is effective in dealing with and preventing the onset of nausea caused by the sea.
Thanks to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory action, ginger is used to reduce pain in cases of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It also appears to help reduce pain and swelling that occurs in the joints, thereby improving their mobility.
According to many studies, the daily intake of 1gr. of ginger can greatly reduce the feeling of nausea and the tendency for vomiting, experienced by pregnant women during the first trimester of pregnancy. Its use is not recommended for more that 4 days and the intake should exceed 1gr. during the day. Ginger has little effect on relieving morning sickness.
Nausea and vomiting are also a major problem that degrades the quality of life of people undergoing chemotherapy. According to various studies, supplementation of ginger exerts anti-emetic activity and reduces nausea caused during chemotherapy. There are also studies which indicate that ginger has anti-cancer properties.
Due to the fact that ginger contains a number of substances, many studies have examined whether ginger exerts antithrombotic properties, reduces glucose serum levels in people with diabetes, contributes to the treatment of urinary tract infections and constipation or has aphrodisiac properties. However, there is insufficient data to support its effectiveness in the above situations.
Forms of ginger
Ginger is available in dried form as a spice, as rhizome, as tincture, in capsules and oils.
The usual dosage is between 250-1gr daily. Pregnant women should not receive ginger without informing first their gynecologist. Increased intake causes heart burning and gastritis.
Contraindications – interactions
People who take anticoagulants, antacids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin, or medicines for heart arrhythmias should not take supplements with ginger. Also people with peptic ulcer, cholelithiasis and hypertension, as well as diabetics should advise first their physician.
In Vita4you you can find a big variety of ginger supplements.