This ancient root offers many health benefits from stimulating digestion to detoxifying the body.
A rich source of iron, ginger has been widely used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. This gnarled root, which was once thought to hold magical powers, has many modern-day health benefits.
Used to ease nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, coughing and motion sickness, ginger is also a powerful anticoagulant. Ginger stops blood cells from making thromboxane, the substance that enables blood platelets to stick together and form a clot.
Preliminary research also suggests that ginger may help to prevent certain types of cancer. Because of its natural detoxifying effects, ginger also acts as a natural cleansing agent, helping to cleanse the kidneys and intestines.
The root system of a plant grown in Asia for more than 3,000 years, ginger is now grown throughout the tropics as well. In Roman times, it was ground into a powder and exported to the Middle East and Europe. This humble root has a rich and illustrious history in the annals of folk medicine.
Ginger was especially popular in Great Britain during the Tudor period, when Queen Elizabeth had her cook make gingerbread cookies in the shapes of her courtiers, giving rise to the gingerbread men we know today.
Ginger is, quite literally, as old as recorded history. Its name comes from the Sanskrit word for “horn root,” which refers to its distinctive knobby appearance. Ginger root typically ranges in color from pale greenish-yellow to ivory and has a peppery and slightly sweet flavor, as well as a pungent and spicy aroma. A mainstay in Asian and Indian cooking, the Chinese consider ginger a yang or “hot” food, which balances the cooling yin foods to create harmony in the body.
Ginger stimulates the digestive system, helping promote gastric secretions and aiding food absorption. Excellent for indigestion, flatulence, nausea and colic, ginger also stimulates circulation and helps warm cold hands and feet. It has a beneficial effect on the lungs, helping bring up mucus and phlegm.
Taken hot, ginger promotes sweating and can be particularly helpful in treating colds and flus. A hot ginger tea – brewed with chunks of fresh ginger root and topped with a liberal dose of cayenne pepper – can help treat colds, flus or respiratory ailments. Chewing the peeled root stimulates saliva and soothes a sore throat.
When selecting fresh ginger, look for roots that have a firm, smooth skin, with a fresh, spicy fragrance. A wrinkled, shriveled appearance means that the root is old.
Invoke the ancient power of ginger as part of a healthy lifestyle. This invigorating, tasty root has countless applications to help you stay healthy and function at peak performance.