Ginger root health benefits – The benefits of ginger root to digestion

ginger root health benefits

Ginger root health benefits have been widely utilised through India, Asia and Africa for thousands of years. Both Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicines make extensive use of the diverse health benefits of ginger, including as an aid to the digestive system.

Ginger and digestion

Ginger increases the activity of lipase and other digestive enzymes. Gingerols, which are the source of ginger’s hot and spicy flavour, stimulate bile flow and are also responsible for ginger’s anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea and antioxidant properties.

Ginger contains a protein-digesting enzyme called zingibain and can be used to treat colic and dyspepsia. One of the essential oils in ginger, zingiberene, works in conjunction with gingerols to protect the lining of the stomach. The aromatic oils in ginger are useful for aiding digestion and reducing flatulence.

Ginger’s secondary digestive support role is played by extending the shelf-life of meat. Marinating meat in ginger has been shown to kill a range of flukes, nematodes, worms and other parasites.

Medicinal benefits of ginger root

Ginger health benefits include:
  • treating travel sickness
  • reducing nausea
  • treating arthritis
  • relieving muscular pain
  • reducing cholesterol
  • treating common colds and coughs
  • as an anti-inflammatory
  • as an anti-rheumatic
  • as an anti-viral
  • improving circulation
  • as a remedy for upper-respiratory infections and flu

Retaining the health benefits of ginger

Heating and drying processes partially reduce the level of gingerols in ginger. It’s essential oils are also better retained when fresh. Add fresh ginger to your food after cooking as cooking processes destroy enzymes and aromatic oils.

A convenient alternative is a herbal remedy such as DigestAssist from Native Remedies (aff.). This remedy for acute and chronic digestive problems contains ginger and fennel, peppermint and stomach bush (a native remedy from the indigenous people of South Africa.)

Cautions

  • It is possible to have an allergic reaction to ginger, so increase your servings or dosages gradually.
  • Use only in low doses during pregnancy and check with your medical practitioner before using ginger.
  • If you are taking anti-coagulant (anti-clotting) medications, do not take ginger without your doctor’s permission.

Click here for instructions on how to make ginger tea.

Articles Related to Ginger Root Health Benefits

References

Beckham, Nancy. (1998) Nature’s Super Foods: Top 40 Medicinal Foods, Herbs and Supplements. Lothian: Melbourne.

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