Whether you love the crunchiness of a ginger cookie, the delicious sweetness of crystallized ginger, or the warm tang of fresh ginger, there’s no doubt this versatile ingredient is one of your best choices for home remedies.
This knobbly rhizome, with its fibrous brown skin and creamy red or yellowy flesh contains a host of beneficial properties that make it a top choice for natural remedies. Ginger grows in tropical countries such as India, Australia and Indonesia, but Jamaican ginger is generally considered to be the finest. In fact, it’s difficult to think of a property that ginger doesn’t have. It’s a natural antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-spasmodic, and contains a host of vitamins including Vitamins A, C, E and B Complex, as well as iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium.
There are many ways to eat ginger. Fresh root ginger and pickled ginger are commonly used in oriental cooking, dried and powdered ginger is a baking ingredient, and crystallized ginger can be eaten as a snack. Ginger preserves make a superb accompaniment to your morning toast. Ginger tisane and ginger beer are both delicious drinks and ginger also adds some warming bite to juices and smoothies.
Nausea and morning sickness
Ginger is well-known as a home remedy for nausea. Nibbling on a few nuggets of crystallized ginger will help prevent motion sickness, whilst pregnant moms will find that drinking ginger tea is a refreshing solution for morning sickness. Ginger can also be taken to perk up your appetite if you don’t feel like eating and you’ll also find that ending your meal with a few crystals of ginger can aid digestion.
Colds and flu
Next time you have a head cold or a bout of flu, don’t reach for medication – reach for the ginger instead. Its natural anti-viral and anti-inflammatory elements will help to reduce inflammation in your sinuses, ease your headache and even lower your fever. Make a delicious steaming ginger tea by boiling 20-40g of fresh ginger in a cup of water. Add a slice of lemon and a spoonful of honey to soothe your sore throat and deliver a comforting lift. Or steep 2 tbsps of grated root ginger in 2 cups of boiling water and inhale the steam to relieve nasal congestion.
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Ginger has been shown to be fabulously effective in treating stomach upsets, vomiting and diarrhea. Its anti-spasmodic properties help your intestines to relax, reducing colic and stomach cramps and allowing your digestive system to work smoothly. You’ll have less gas and bloating and anti-bacterials also tackle diarrhea very effectively. Ginger tisane is the ideal remedy because it needs the minimum of digestion and it also helps you stay hydrated.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
There have been several studies into the effectiveness of ginger to manage the symptoms of arthritis. Compounds known as gingerols are found in ginger, and it’s believed that gingerols limit the body’s production of cytokines, the proteins which encourage cells to move towards areas of inflammation in the body. Normally the action of cytokines is a good thing because it aids our healing when we’re injured, but if this process malfunctions it can cause problems like arthritis. Evidence shows that taking ginger regularly can reduce painful joint inflammation, lowering swelling and increasing mobility.
Scientific studies have also indicated that taking ginger regularly may play a role in preventing some cancers. Because of its positive effect on the digestive system, it seems that ginger can play a preventative role in colorectal cancer, and it also looks as though the antioxidants and anti-inflammatories found in ginger can target ovarian cancer cells. Although this research is at an early stage, results so far look promising.
There are so many delicious ways to take ginger that we’re really spoilt for choice. Powdered ginger keeps for weeks, and crystallized ginger can be kept on hand. Fresh ginger keeps well, and can be grated and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for convenience. Sliced ginger, together with lemon slices, can be packed into a jar, covered with honey, and kept in the fridge ready to make ginger tea. You can even buy ginger in tablet form if you don’t like the taste. With so much in its favor, ginger should be a staple ingredient in every home.