When it comes to digestion Ginger reigns supreme as the go to spice for almost all digestive complaints. Ginger contains many natural enzymes that improve digestion and the absorption of nutrients. This is why it is frequently used as an aperitif since it stimulates the appetite whilst preparing the digestive system for the food that is to be eaten. It also helps in regulating high sugar levels that may disrupt digestion whilst soothing the stomach.
Ginger has been proven to reduce inflammation of the gastro-intestinal tract, with this kind of inflammation leading to all kinds of problems if left unchecked.
Ginger accelerates stomach emptying into the small intestines in healthy people, so it can help in the case of overeating or indigestion.
Finally, this super-spice contains pre-biotic fibres which feed the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract.
There are many studies that promote Ginger as a remedy for nausea and vomiting. It is thought that the active compounds in Ginger promote the secretion of digestive enzymes that can neutralise stomach acid and bile and alleviate nausea symptoms. Ginger has been found to be effective against; morning sickness, motion sickness, stomach flu and tummy bugs. Furthermore, Ginger prevents over activation of the vagal nerve that triggers nausea and vomiting by inhibiting serotonin function in the digestive tract.
Healthy Weight Management
As a natural appetite suppressant, consuming Ginger is an excellent way to help shift stubborn pounds - especially around the belly. This warming spice can target the causes of the accumulation of belly fat - overeating, hormonal issues and lack of exercise due to low energy. Stress and hormonal changes can cause spikes in levels of blood cortisol which can in turn throw metabolism out of balance. Ginger can help to bring about hormonal balance and promote well-being, boosting physical and mental energy levels.
Ginger has also been found to promote thermogenesis (the way our bodies convert food into fuel), boosting metabolism and increasing feelings of satiety. According to the "International Journal of Obesity", consuming foods that have a thermogenic effect can increase energy expenditure, fat oxidisation and counteract the decreased metabolic rate that can occur during weight loss. Research backs this up, with a study finding that participants who consumed a hot ginger beverage with breakfast reported lower food intake, greater satiety and less hunger than the control group.
A staple ingredient in many detox and cleanse protocols, Ginger works its magic by stimulating digestion, circulation and perspiration. Containing over 25 antioxidant compounds, this zingy spice scavenges free radicals whilst stimulating antioxidant pathways.
Ginger combines really well with many other herbs and spices and is a wonderfully supportive and warming root, helping the body in its efforts to detox.
Ginger Essential Oil
Ginger essential oil is highly effective against nausea, making it a handy natural remedy to have with you on long car journeys or bumpy flights. Simply pop a few drops on a handkerchief or tissue and inhale or add a couple of drops to water.
The digestive benefits of Ginger are legendary and this warming, spicy essential oil can be diluted in a carrier oil and massaged into the abdomen and/or soles of the feet to relieve digestive upsets.
Diffusing Ginger oil in an oil burner is a great way to boost energy and mental clarity, especially if you suffer from an energy drop in the afternoon.
Folklore and history
Appearing in the writings of Confucious in the 5th century BCE, Ginger has a long and enduring history as a medicinal and culinary spice. It appeared in the Mediterranean region around the 1st century AD where it rapidly spread across Europe and by 11 AD it was well known in England.
Ginger was first grown in the Caribbean and Latin America in the late 1500s, where the creeping plant has since become a mainstay in the practice of local herbalists. In Trinidad, the root is made into a tea to treat indigestion and morning sickness, whilst in Mexico the fresh root is grated, mixed with water and taken after meals to ensure good digestion. In Brazil it is used to treat cramps, nausea, and gas. The running theme of use has always been to stimulate and support digestion and to remedy a wide range of stomach ailments.
Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 4,000 years, Ginger was used to treat nausea, dysentery and to act as an overall digestive stimulant. As this zingy spice spread across the globe it continued to be used as an effective remedy for stomach complaints, as well as a delicious culinary ingredient and to make a warming tea.
In modern times, Ginger has been studied for its antibacterial, antifungal, pain-relieving, anti-ulcer and anti-tumour properties.
When taking Ginger for medicinal purposes, put a 1/3 teaspoon of the powder in water and drink 3 times per day. Ginger Powder can also be used in cooking and can be included in a herbal tea blend along with other herbal leaves and flowers.
Ginger Essential Oil
Can be used in the bath, or vaporized in an oil burner. It can be added to a massage oil or cream. Use 6-8 drops per bath and 10 -18 drops per 30ml of carrier oil.
Volatile oil (including zingiberine, zingiberole, phellandrene, borneol, cineole and citral); phenols (gingeole, zingerone), shagaol, starch, mucilage, resin, and a possible alkaloid.
High doses should be avoided if the stomach is already hot and over-stimulated, as in peptic ulceration. It should be used with care in early pregnancy, although it can be safely taken in small doses (1g dried root) for morning sickness.