As I sit aboard my sailboat writing this post, Seattle is experiencing a very stormy weekend. Outside it’s blowing a gail and raining sideways. But I’m cozy inside, drinking a cup of ginger tea to warm me up.
Ginger root has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine for thousands of years. Ginger is considered a super-food, and is listed in Jonny Bowden’s 150 Healthiest Foods book. Native to Asia, ginger is also a close relative of turmeric, cardamom, and galangal.
The health benefits of ginger are numerous, and ginger is available in many forms, including: ginger root, powdered ginger, pickled ginger, candied ginger, even ginger juice. So what are the top 5 health benefits of ginger?
5 Health Benefits of Ginger
There are four main phytochemicals in ginger that offer the following health benefits:
- Gingerol (phytochemical) is very useful in releaving an upset stomach or nausea. Ginger has long been used to alleviate sea sickness (one study showed that ginger worked better than Dramamine.) Another study in Denmark showed a 75% effectiveness in treating morning sickness during pregnancy.
- Ginger helps with circulation, and can be used to treat cold hands and feet, as well as help with general warmth.
- Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, and has been shown to be effective in releaving arthritis and fibromyalgia pain.
- Some studies have shown ginger to have anti-tumorigenic effects, especially in cases of colon cancer.
- Ginger has antimicrobial and antiviral properties, making it great for fighting colds and flus.
Contraindications for Ginger
It is worth noting that ginger has very few side effects, but has been contraindicated for the following situations. If any of these apply to you, it is recommended that you consult a doctor before using ginger:
- Some studies have shown ginger to increase the absorption of other drugs. Check with your pharmacist if this is a concern for you.
- Ginger has similar blood thinning properties to an aspirin. Care should be taken with medications that prevent clotting (such as Coumadin). Check with your doctor if you are taking anti-clotting medications before consuming ginger.
- Ginger may also be contraindicated for people with gall bladder issues or gall stones, as it can increase bile secretion.
I used to spend each winter being cold…but drinking ginger tea several times a day has made a huge difference in my warmth factor during the winter, and has likely helped to keep me healthy as well. We love ginger’s zingy taste, and grate fresh ginger root into all kinds of dishes from stir-fry to salad dressing. We also like to add a splash of ginger juice to our smoothies, or water bottle. Ginger juice is a quick, easy way to add all of the benefits of ginger to anything.