Monday, April 22, 2013

Ginger: A Wealth of Health

A Short History of Ginger

The word ginger comes from an ancient Sanskrit word, singabera, meaning "horn-shaped". This fragrant rhizome (Zingiber officinale) was widely used by the ancient Romans and it was a very expensive spice; one pound of ginger was equivalent to the price of a whole sheep. Ginger almost became lost in history after the fall of the Roman empire, but became popular again when Europe re-discovered it. Ginger has influenced the history of man since ancient China. Wars were waged and entire dynasties rose and fell with the objective of seizing it. The trade of such spices were the root of the world's economy for centuries.

Because ginger is not found in the wild, its exact origins are uncertain. It is likely to have originated from India, as ginger plants there show the most biological variability. Potted ginger plants were carried on local vessels travelling the maritime trade routes of the Indian Ocean and South China Sea in the 5th century AD and probably before. The plants would have rapidly spread to many other countries along the way.

In the 16th century ginger was introduced to Africa and the Caribbean. It is now cultivated throughout the humid tropics.

A Wealth of Health Benefits

For over two thousand years Chinese medicine has recommended the use of ginger to help cure and prevent several health problems. It is known to promote energy circulation in the body while positively increasing the body's metabolic rate.

Here is a list of medicinal properties ginger is known to have:
  • anti-emetic/anti-nausea
  • anti-clotting agent
  • anti-spasmodic
  • anti-fungal
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antiseptic
  • antibacterial
  • antiviral
  • analgesic
  • circulatory stimulant
  • expectorant
  • hypotensive
  • increases blood flow
  • promotes sweating
  • relaxes peripheral blood vessels                                                                                 

Some Home Remedies

Ginger has many uses in the home remedies department and can be used to help arthritis, diarrhea, flu, headache, heart and menstrual problems, diabetes, stomach upset and motion sickness.

Muscle Strains - Apply warm ginger paste with turmeric to the affected area twice a day.

For a persistent cough - Take a half teaspoonful of ginger powder, a pinch of clove with a pinch of cinnamon powder and honey in a cup of boiled water and drink it as tea.

Headaches - Dilute a paste of ginger powder, about 1/2 a teaspoon, with water and apply to you forehead.

Colds - Boil a teaspoonful of ginger powder in one quart of water and inhale the steam - helps alleviate colds.

Ginger Compress - This method stimulates blood and body fluid circulation, helps loosen and dissolve toxic matter eg. cysts, tumors. Place about a handful of coarsely grated ginger in a cloth and squeeze out the ginger juice into a pot containing 4 liters of hot water (do not boil the water). Dip a towel into the ginger water and wring it out. Apply very hot to the affected area.

Diabetes - Some doctors recommend some drinking ginger in water first thing in the morning to help regulate your glucose level.

Ginger Tea - Make with fresh ginger root. Grate a small piece of ginger, about the size of a quarter, into a mug. Add the juice of a half a lemon. Fill the mug with boiling water. Stir in a tablespoon of organic honey.

For relief of nausea - Ginger is generally taken in doses of 200 mg every 4 hours.

For relief of flatulence - Ginger is generally taken in doses of 250 to 500 mg 2 to 3 times a day.

Try these tasty ginger recipes to warm your belly and invigorate your soul:

Ginger Cookies

Triple Ginger Cookies  (for the true ginger fiend)

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