Ginger is a flowery plant with a strong aroma. It is believed to have originated from Southeast Asia but currently, it is grown in Africa, America and other parts of the world.
It is widely used as a cooking spice in many parts of the world. In addition to that, it is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that are good for the body and mind. Some believe it has the potential of easing joint pain, aiding digestion and calming the nerves.
It can be consumed fresh, dried, powdered, oil form and as a tea or juice. It’s numerous benefits has given it relevance in cosmetic and processed food industries.
Benefits of Ginger
Ginger is a well-known cooking spice used all over the globe for making delicious dishes. It is also believed to have medicinal values. Below are the benefits of this awesome plant.
It may relief menstrual pain
According to studies, ginger has the potential of easing menstrual pain. Those that experience painful contraction during their monthly period can sip ginger tea to provide relief to the cramps. It is pertinent to note that taking ginger tea and drugs like ibuprofen simultaneously makes it less active. Therefore, do not drink the tea if you intend using drugs during your period. Or better still, contact your doctor for proper guidance.
2). It may help ease stomach upset
One well known benefit of ginger is it’s ability to relieve gastro-intestinal issues like; nausea, vomiting and stomach upset. It also aids digestion by moving food from the stomach into the small intestine. Note that it does not stop or prevent food poisoning, therefore, contact a physician urgently if there is need for medical attention.
3). It helps curbs morning sickness
Research has shown that ginger has the potential of reducing the symptoms of morning sickness. It is also considered safe to use during pregnancy.
4). It could prevent heart disease
It has anti-inflammatory properties, this helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease. According to studies, regular intake of ginger may reduce the level of cholesterol and blood sugar. However, ginger alone cannot remedy an already serious situation so more vegetables, legumes, whole grain, fish, etc should be consumed in other to properly treat issues like diabetes and heart disease.
5). It may lower the risk of cancer
Ginger has the tendency to reduce cellular activities that leads to changes in DNA, cell death, and the buildup of cancerous cells. It could also make tumors more responsive to treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. Although it may not be a one-stop treatment for all diseases, regular intake of it could greatly improve our overall health.
6). It may enhance weight loss
Studies carried out on animals shown that ginger could have an effect on weight management when it is mixed with other plant-based products. However, this doesn’t imply that ginger alone is a magic recipe for weight loss, a proper diet and exercise plan is necessary to lose weight in a healthy manner.
7). It could be helpful in fighting infections
A bioactive substance called gingerol is present in ginger. This compound is responsible for slowing down or stopping the growth of different types of bacteria. This therefore, lowers the risk of infection.
8). It has anti-inflammatory properties
It has the ability of relieving joint pain, osteoarthritis and exercise-induced muscle pain because of it’s anti-inflammatory properties. Research suggests that people with osteoarthritis disease experienced relief from the pain in their joint when given ginger medications. Although the effect may not be instantaneous, regular intake of it may help to reduce the day-to-day build up of muscle pain.
Side Effects of Ginger
Despite the many positive effects of ginger, there are some negative that should not be ignored.
Effect on pregnancy
The safety of consuming ginger during pregnancy is controversial. Some shared concerns about it affecting the sex hormones of the fetus and also leading to stillbirth. However, studies showed that ginger is safe to use for morning sickness symptoms during pregnancy. There are also some reports of ginger causing bleeding, so experts advised pregnant women to avoid taking it close to their delivery date. With all these, it is important to contact your physician before using any medication during and after pregnancy.
Effect when ingested
Ginger is considered safe when consumed in the right proportion. However, there may be some negative effects associated with it’s intake. The effects could be heartburn, diarrhea, and stomach discomfort. Some women claimed there was increase in their rate of menstrual flow when they took ginger.
Effect on skin
Ginger is considered safe when applied on the skin over a short period of time but some people might experience irritation when they use it. Always carry out a skin patch test before using any product on your skin.
Effect on breastfeeding
There are currently no concrete information about the effects ginger has on breastfeeding mothers, but it is safer to avoid it’s use during that time.
Effect on bleeding disorder
Ginger might increase the rate of bleeding and make the situation worse for people with bleeding disorder.
Effect on diabetes
Ginger may cause a rise in the level of insulin and lower the blood sugar level. This could result in further adjustment of diabetes medication for safety purpose.
How to Use Ginger
Ginger is widely used as a cooking spice for different types of food. It is also used in the cosmetic industry for many beauty products. One very easy way of consuming ginger is through tea and the procedure is discussed below.
How to make ginger tea
This tea is a slightly spicy non-alcoholic drink. It soothes the stomach, relief cold and aids digestion.
- 1 inch chunk of fresh ginger
- 1 cup of water
- Cooking pan or pot
- Mesh sieve
- Teacup or mug
- Lemon or Orange
- Thoroughly wash the ginger to remove all dirt and chop it into smaller pieces, you do not need to peel it.
- Place the chopped pieces in a cooking pan or pot and add the 1 cup of water
- Add any one of the optional ingredients like turmeric, cinnamon and mint for more flavour.
- Apply moderate heat to it and let it simmer for 5 minutes (for a more concentrated taste, you can allow it simmer for 10 minutes).
- Carefully pour the mixture through a mesh sieve into a tea cup or mug.
- Add 1 teaspoon of honey to give it more taste
- You may add a thin slice of lemon or orange to add more flavour to the tea.
- Enjoy your freshly made tea while it is hot.
Ginger is an amazing plant and a gift to mankind. It not only adds nice flavours to our dishes, but it also help take care of some health issues. Nevertheless, it’s not all good news about it, there are some minor and avoidable side effects associated with using the plant. One thing I always say is “contact your physician before deciding on using any medication”. If you enjoyed this article, you can read more articles and have more knowledge about simple things around us.