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The Amazing Benefits of Ginger and Possible Side Effects

Ginger is one of the most important spices worldwide. For over 2 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. Ginger was also 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 was the root of the world’s economy for centuries. Ginger is a herb but is often known as a spice, with a strong distinct flavor that can increase the production of saliva. The part that is used as spice on the plant itself is the rhizomes or ginger root. The health benefits of honey and ginger in treating respiratory problems are unmatched by any other concoction!

Here is a list of medicinal properties ginger has been known to have throughout history:

antiemetic/antinausea

anticlotting agent

antispasmodic

antifungal

anti-inflammatory

antiseptic

antibacterial

antiviral

antitussive

analgesic

circulatory stimulant

carminative

expectorant

hypotensive

increases blood flow

promotes sweating

relaxes peripheral blood vessels

Though ginger is lauded for its medicinal qualities, it may be difficult for the some people to palette its raw form and ingesting it may require a certain amount of strong will or another less pungent accompaniment. Used as a common cure for congestion and the common cold, raw slices of ginger can be steeped in hot water and brewed as ginger tea. This can also be done by placing dried ginger slices and tea leaves in boiling water and letting the mixture “sit” for a while before adding honey or sugar and drinking it. Lemon can also be added as a variation. This very same treatment can also be used for relieving indigestion and fever as well. Ginger is also touted as being very useful in treating nausea and headaches. This is because of its analgesic qualities and a natural approach to overcoming discomfort instead of taking more popular drugs like Ibuprofen.

Types

Ginger is used in several forms. Whole raw ginger roots have a pale yellow interior, while the skin color may vary depending on the country of origin. For instance, Jamaican ginger is pale buff, while Indian and African ginger are darker brown. Very fresh roots have a light green skin and are usually found in Asian markets. Preserved ginger is made from young roots that are sliced and canned in heavy sugar syrup. Pickled ginger is sliced and pickled in vinegar, a common accompaniment to Japanese sushi. Dried roots are referred to as either black if they’re not peeled or white if they are peeled. Dried ginger roots are used to make powdered ginger.

Home Remedies using Ginger

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.

Sore Throat – Boil some water and add a dash of cinnamon, a little piece of ginger, 1 tsp honey and drink.

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.

Ashma – A teaspoon of fresh ginger juice mixed with a cup of fenugreek decoction and honey to taste acts as a excellent expectorant in the treatment of asthma.

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.

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.

Ginger also contains antioxidants. Antioxidants react with free radicals in the body, which are responsible for cell damage. There is also some belief in eastern traditional medicine that ginger is also a good aphrodisiac. Interestingly, it is also advisable to take ginger for any menstrual disorders like heavy cramping and a delayed onset, this is interesting to note because most drugs that have the same benefit can induce a period at any time without taking the body cycles into account. There is some evidence and belief that ginger is a good treatment for arthritis. This is probably because of its analgesic qualities and less due to any benefits done to the affected joints. There are no current cures for arthritis, for it is a degenerative condition.

You can harvest your own ginger and grow them at home! The best time to plant ginger is in the spring. Simply buy some fresh ginger roots at a local grocery store or Asian market. Choose a smooth, shiny looking root that has some buds beginning to form. A mature ginger plant will grow between two to four feet tall. Stems and leaves may reach up to a foot long and resemble those of a lily. Harvest ginger roots can either be stored in a dry cupboard or refrigerated for later use.

Side effects of GINGER

There are few side effects associated with ginger, but you should still be aware of the risks before consuming any herb.

Most of the common side effects associated with ginger occur in the digestive tract, particularly the stomach and intestines. These side effects rarely occur in low doses but are a greater threat as dosage sizes increase. Side effects include heartburn, diarrhea, oral irritations, burping, heartburn and upset stomachs. Many of these side effects can be avoided by taking ginger supplements in capsules, such as enteric-coated capsules, which delay the body’s digestion of the herb until it enters the digestive tract.

Ginger can prevent blood-clotting in the circulatory system by preventing platelets to clump together. While the number of instances where this has occurred is unknown, it is nonetheless advised by medical experts that individuals avoid taking ginger if they are taking any blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin or warfarin. You may also consider talking to a health care professional about the possible interactions between ginger and blood-thinning medications and take ginger according to doctor’s orders.

While ginger is recommended to help treat nausea related to pregnancy, pregnant or nursing women are advised to take no more than one gram of the herb daily. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, this is enough to effectively treat the nausea without posing any health problems to your child.

As far as ginger’s effects on the cardiovascular system, according to the National Institutes on Health, ginger may cause changes in the heart’s rhythm, although research definitively confirming this side effect is lacking. Ginger may also cause fluctuations in one’s blood pressure.

There are some dangers of using too much ginger. In order to best avoid toxic side effects, try to consume ginger less than three times in a day. According to MedlinePlus, a medical service of the National Institutes on Health, ginger can interact with numerous other drugs. Antacids can be affected by ginger, which may stimulate the stomach’s production of acid. Ginger can affect medications for the heart, antihistamines, cancer treatments and weight loss drugs.

Sources: University of Maryland Medical Center, Medline Plus, HealthDiaries.com, WHFoods.com, HerbWisdom.com

 

24 Responses so far.

  1. tope adesodun says:

    thank you very much for this write up. With this, im going to be taking it for the cure of severe menstrual cramp which has made me undergone surgery two times now with a lot of monthly medications. I pray that ginger will work for me. God bless you.

  2. Tahir Hameed Ch says:

    it is very useful information

  3. mahadi says:

    Thanks for your nice post.

  4. Danny says:

    Our body can get a lot of health benefits from drinking ginger tea and losing weight is one of them too.

  5. Gerri Nichols says:

    I started taking a small amount of ginger powder mixed with tsp of honey and fresh lemon juice in a small amount of warm water,after taking this for three mornings I broke out in a rash on my arms,back and thighs can this be a side effect,the itching is severe. I have stopped but it appeared to help my asthma and energy but need to know if the rash and itching is from the ginger because when taking the mixture w/o ginger there were no problems.

    • Dr. Nancy says:

      Hello Gerri,
      If taking the ginger powder seems to bring about the skin irritations, discontinue use. Every “body” reacts to different foods and supplements differently. I am curious to see where the ginger powder is manufactured (country and brand) and if it is organic or not. I would suggest you to use fresh ginger root (thinly sliced) instead of the ginger root. See if that helps. Good Luck.

  6. Johnny says:

    My girlfriend had a severe flu illness could barely talk and bad coughing. I made her a hot cup of apple juice with a teaspoon of fresh ground ginger root 1 tablespoon of fresh honey 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Within about 15 mins her coughing subsided and she felt much better. Her voice returned in about an hour. I started drinking the same mixture as soon as some cold symptoms appeared and never got sick .it stopped the cold dead…..what a great remedy

  7. Jenn says:

    How much is too much ginger? If you had a piece of fresh ginger root, how long of a piece would be too much to juice for tea?

    • Nanker says:

      excellent question that never seems ti get answered. I too would like to know as I drink 3-4 liters of ginger tea [ginger steeped in hot water] throughout the day and use the leftover flesh, no longer so pungent or firm in my smoothie mix. I feel like I ingest a lot of ginger, but so far without any incident of side effects after several weeks. So yeah, good question: how much is a lot of ginger?

    • Dr. Nancy says:

      Each and every “body” is different. Body doshas and make ups as well as intestinal condition, ethnicity and body make up history all are in consideration when answering this question. The best is to chart your daily intake and how you feel and body reacts. If you are beginning to see stomach pains, heartburn, and increase in hypertension or nausea, lessen your intake. Biofeedback and body awareness at its best.

  8. butterfly333 says:

    I just tried the ginger root tea tonight. I had the flu last week and I took Tamiflu 5 days. I initially went to visit the doctor bc I though I had a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) Both tests came back negative, but, the Dr. said she thought the flu test was false negative. So, here I am a week later and I was having severe lower pain. I kept telling her how bad I was cramping inside. So, I went to another Dr. yesterday and we did a urinary test and it came back with leukocytes and protein, so, I am taking Cipro now. When I woke up this morning I raised up to get out of bed and was having excruciating pain in my lower abdomen. I had to take a 3rd urine specimen to the lab for a urine culture. I felt like nobody was hearing what I was saying and how bad the pain was hurting me. I was considering going to ER. I spoke with a friend and she told me to go get some ginger and cut a piece off about 1/2 size of your thumb, and then boil some h2o and drink ginger tea 3x a day. My pain had spread all the way up to below my ribcage. I was really getting concerned. I did as she suggested and the pain is all gone except for the lower left region. I am so thankful. I can’t believe how fast it worked to give me relief from the pain. I think because I got a false reading on the 1st urinary sample a week ago that it caused me to be in so much pain from the spreading infection. I hope and pray I wake up tomorrow and all pain will be gone, but at least I can go to sleep and not worry. I am going to be drinking ginger tea 3x day for a very long time. Thank God for Ginger! It works!

  9. Marc says:

    I’m a gingerholic to say the least, I love ginger! However I did notice that the side effects only seem to occur when you take meds. Therefore I think it might be a great idea, to take Ginger to prevent any illnesses. I juice probably too much ginger each morning and I’ve never felt better in my whole life!

  10. Sue says:

    Chinese medical doctor and herbalist told me to make ginger tea with hot water and a slice of fresh ginger. It has been wonderful. Do not make it too strong at first then you can increase the slices if you like.

  11. Michelle says:

    As long as you are not on any medications, I’ve never seen any side effects of large ginger dosages other than a bit of heartburn and/or slight diahrreah. Adding it to your juicing recipes is always a plus! And if you have a cold, I personally swear by hot ginger tea with honey ;)

  12. A Muppidathi says:

    Kindly intimate me that I have used a ginger tea in daily morning time. This is good for my health or otherwise. So that I may be followed otherwise I dis- continue the same.

  13. Love says:

    I have been on ginger drink for quiet some time. Now i am pregnant one month gone, in noticed when i drink the fresh ginger mashed in my tea i feel relaxed and feel very good. I am also want to belive that with time the headach will stop. Not too bad anyway. Waiting for an answer.

  14. Joann says:

    I love Ginger, with or without honey. I have been experiencing a lot of pain in my shoulders, possibly Arthritis, which make it hard to sleep at night. I drink Ginger tea and my shoulders do not hurt at night. However, I do take medication for Extreme Hypertension and Aspirin. I have been reading more about Ginger and have decided to drink it only in the evening. Yogi makes Ginger tea in bags and it is very good.
    Thank you so much for this information.

  15. Mak says:

    I have been taking fresh ginger root which helped me earlier but now it is not working as it used to for acid reflux or heartburn, My dosage was 3 times a day!

    Can anyone suggest what to do in this situation !

  16. Mark says:

    I am from the Uk but live in Hong Kong with my wife who is HK Chinese. I have started drinking ginger tea in the morning – my mother in law drinks it every day and looks fantastic for her age (ok it might be here Asian genes!). However the Chinese make one thing about ginger very clear – it is good for you taken in the morning but bad for you at night. I think this might have to do with the fact it heats up the body and the body should cool down to sleep better. I used to be very cynical about the hot cold Chinese way of seeing the body but as I say my mother in law (around 60 yrs old , I don’t ask!) looks great and rarely gets ill.

  17. Max SINGH says:

    I quitted smoking and was told by a friend to suck slices of dry ginger, to stop the cigarette craving, it helped I quitted, but I think I now have heartburn and burping issues, too much ginger

    • Dr. Nancy says:

      Congrats on quitting smoking. Too much of anything is not good. Try instead to alter the behavior of oral fixation with something that is done with the mind. Perhaps meditation, journaling or body movement? This will train the brain and body to reach for something else when cravings augment. Chewing gum is good, or drinking a tall glass of warm lemon water.

  18. I want to know if ginger can cause hypertension ? Or if it is contraindicated in hypertensive patients?

    • Dr. Nancy says:

      There has been some research that points to a few herbs that can cause a slight elevation in hypertension at the beginning of the use of herbs in a daily routine. Ginger, Ma-Huang, Licorice and Ginseng are among the few. More research needs to be done to take this claim, but it is important to note that every “body” is different and you should use and introduce herbs into your daily routine with awareness and caution. For most people, ginger is very beneficial in moderate amounts.

  19. kman says:

    I always hated ginger as a flavoring in meals and my wife loves it in the food. So we compromised and she uses larger pieces so I can remove them. I always end up with them in my bowl…
    But we tried raw ginger and raw tumeric as a tea at night and I love the tea. We use a thumb size of both, shred the root, boil water, then add the tumeric and ginger and turn off the heat right when the roots are added. Let it sit for 3 minutes, add in a few drops of our favorite extracts (houttunyia, enula, black walnut, samento) and let sit for a minute. Then enjoy. it is amazing. It reduces swelling throughout my body, reduces any rashes and helps me have deep sleep. We try to make sure that the heat is turned off as soon as the roots hit the water to reduce loss of the nutrients.

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