Food equals Medicine: Ginger
I’m a fan of ginger ale. Its the one thing settles my yucky stomach. Canada Dry is my brand. It has real ginger in it. Having said that -its extracted and lots of not so good stuff in ginger ale.
I don’t know why i have never included grated real ginger in my food. It’s delicious, not expensive, easy to deal with. Just grab and grate.
Ginger, aka Zingiber officinale, is a rhizome, a thick underground stem that sprouts roots and shoots.
Ginger as medicine
Ginger is one of the oldest medicinal foods.
Since the herb originated in Southeast Asia, it’s not surprising that ancient Chinese and Indian healers have made ginger a part of their toolkit for thousands of years.
Ayurvedic texts credit ginger as a “universal great medicine”. An old Indian proverb says that “everything good is found in ginger.” Traditional Chinese medicine holds that ginger “restores devastated yang” and “expels cold”.
Today, ginger is still used as food and medicine. Modern Western science has confirmed its usefulness for treating a variety of conditions.
Consuming ginger may help to decrease muscle soreness, inflammation, and relieve osteoarthritis pain.
It’s far from a sure thing (data is mixed), but one theory is that ginger may inhibit COX (cyclooxygenase) and LOX (lipooxygenase), making it anti-inflammatory. NSAIDs work in a similar fashion, but only inhibit COX (leading to upregulation of LOX).
Since ginger appears to inhibit both COX and LOX, it can lead to a lower production of chemical messengers like LTs (leukotrienes), TNF (tumor necrosis factor), and PGs (prostaglandins). This occurs systemically and at the site of inflammation, helping with pain relief.
Ginger has been valued as a digestive aid since the Middle Ages. Ginger can calm over-active stomach contractions, allowing stomach contents to enter the intestines (this may also help to decrease heartburn). It also contains an enzyme called zingibain that may assist in protein digestion.
Animal studies have shown that ginger might help to control high blood pressure.
It’s thought that ginger may act (in a much weaker way) similarly to calcium channel blockers. Over several months, ginger may promote smooth muscle relaxation and more elastic blood vessels. Smooth muscle relaxation might also be a benefit to asthmatics. Note: these effects are based on theory and rat studies so far.
In rodents, ginger can help to lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while raising HDL – at levels similar to conventional lipid lowering drugs. It may also decrease the liver’s production of cholesterol and increase cholesterol excretion (via bile/fecal excretion). Human trials have yet to show benefits. So if you have a rat with high cholesterol he’s all set. For the rest of us worth a try.
Ginger might help destroy oral pathogens and H. pylori (the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers), making it anti-bacterial.
It’s possible that ginger could interact with calcium channel blockers and drugs that lower blood sugar. There have been reports showing interactions with blood thinning drugs. Five grams (or more) of ginger has anti-platelet action.
If you’re taking ginger medicinally, consider using standardized capsules or tablets, so that you can be sure of the dose you’re getting.
Consuming a lot of ginger at once (like, eating an entire knob of it) might result in heartburn, diarrhea, and mouth irritation. Besides that – ginger seems to be safe. After all, you could easily consume a fair bit of ginger normally in foods (such as pickled ginger with sushi).
Don’t forget to peel before you use -you can use a spoon
or make tea
The Health benefits of Ginger