Our ancestors were well-versed in their use of naturally sourced roots and herbs for healing and pain relief. Ginger has been used as an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial for over two thousand years and, although it originated in Asia, it is now a popular healing root in the Middle East, India, the Caribbean, Africa and other regions.
While the Western world may know ginger as a common spice, the root-like stem of the plant called the rhizome grows underground and is the medicinal portion. It is the source of many rich antioxidants including shogaols, gingerols, zingerones and others. It has a broad-spectrum ofantiviral, antibacterial, anti-parasitic and antioxidant properties as well as over forty actions that are pharmacological.
There has been much research on the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger, including a 2001 study involving the application of ginger oil in the reduction of knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. Another 2013 study resulted in a finding that athletes that added less than one teaspoon per day of cinnamon or ginger in their diet per day had a significant reduction in muscle soreness. The pain relieving properties of ginger go beyond the normal spectrum and it is even associated with reducing the pain and severity of migraine headaches. These are important findings as many people take harsh medication for pain relief and experience side effects that can cause other medical situations in the body. Ginger has also been shown to have enhanced bronchodilating effects and studies have shown that it is a safer alternative to the medications that are on the market for asthma.
It seems that ginger contains natural compounds that can assist in many of the chronic inflammatory diseases and there is research to show that this may include cancer. Published in the British Journal of Nutrition, a study showed that the in vivo and in vitro anticancer activity of ginger may be an effective recommendation in prostate cancer management. Additional research shows that ginger’s anti-tumor activity may assist in some of the difficult-to-treat cancer types such as ovarian, lung, breast, skin, colon and pancreatic. Ginger has also been shown to assist in prevention of the toxic effects that are caused by many substances and chemicals, including the drugs used for cancer treatment and it may be useful to take in addition to the standard treatments for cancer.
There seems to be no end to the healing properties of ginger as it has shown to be useful in both therapeutically and preventively via the insulin release and action effects as well as improvement in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, the body processes that relate to diabetes. A clinical trial found that those participating diabetic patients that consumed 3 grams of dry ginger per day for a period of thirty days had significant lowering in triglyceride, glucose, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. It is therefore thought that ginger may have a positive effect for diabetes treatment due to its ability to inhibit enzymes in metabolizing carbohydrates, allows an increase in insulin sensitivity and release and offers an improvement in lipid profiles.
Always confer with a primary health provider before making any changes or additions to your dietary and physical daily routines and regiments.