Ginger is one of the oldest spices used in ancient China and dates back to the 6th century BC. It was a very popular item on the silk road trade route due to being less perishable and having a longer shelf life.
A native of tropical Asia, ginger (or ginger root) is very popular in Asian cooking. It is considered a special culinary experience. In Asia, ginger is usually preferred in the freshest form rather than dried.
While ginger is mostly known for its role in cuisine, it can also be used for medical purposes as well. The Chinese have traditionally used it to fight colds, sore throat, nausea, pain, loss appetite and many other things.
Ginger was the first Oriental spice introduced to the United States. However, Americans mostly used it as a baking spice rather than the more traditional Asian applications.
Below are three proven health benefits of ginger today:
Ginger has been shown to speed up the body’s ability to empty the stomach. Researchers believe delayed emptying of the stomach is a major driver of indigestion. In addition, ginger helps to fight acid reflux, which is closely related to the slowing of the digestive system.
Having ginger before or during a meal can speed up mobility in the digestive system and discourage heartburn and indigestion. In fact, studies show taking ginger capsules with a meal stimulates digestion so much that gastric emptying occurs at twice the normal speed.
More efficient digestion gives you more energy throughout the day because more than 50% of the body’s energy goes toward metabolism. Improved digestion means faster absorption of key nutrients from food.
#2: Muscle Pain
Ginger has the ability to combat inflammation and reduce muscle pain from exercise. While it does not provide instant relief like pain medication would, it does allow for healthy, gradual relief and faster healing by fighting inflammation in the body. This helps to relieve joint pain and stiffness to improve mobility.
A bonus benefit of the anti-inflammatory effects of ginger is treating arthritis-related joint problems. In studies testing ginger on various patients, physicians found that 75% of arthritis patients and 100% of patients with muscular discomfort experienced relief of pain and/or swelling.
Ginger is known to pack a powerful immune boosting punch. When we think about fighting infections, usually vitamin C comes to mind. But fresh ginger can help promote healthy sweating, which is helpful in fighting existing colds and flus. This type of sweating assists the body with detoxification that helps to flush out infections.
Studies have also found fresh ginger to be effective at fighting the respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV), which is a common cause of cold-like symptoms and respiratory infections. The unique antioxidant properties in ginger also fight off colds by reducing fever and suppressing a cough.
Ginger has also been shown to inhibit the growth of various types of bacteria. It is very effective against gingivitis in particular.