Ginger is a popular culinary flavor in everything from Indian and Asian cuisines to soda flavoring, but did you know this knobby rhizome is good for you too? For more than 2,000 years, ginger has been used to treat nausea and stomach ailments in Asian medicine. However, modern research is discovering even more amazing benefits of this amazing root:
1. It Can Relieve Nausea
Cancer patients report a 40 percent decrease in chemotherapy-related nausea by using ginger, and it is a time-tested relief for morning sickness and motion sickness. Because it stimulates digestion and assimilation of nutrients, it has also been shown to reduce flatulence.
2. It May Reduce Inflammation
Experts agree that inflammation is one of the biggest symptoms of a multitude of health problems, ranging from asthma to cancers. A recent study found that ginger can reduce inflammation in the colon, and research examining muscle pain discovered that raw ginger supplementation decreased exercise-related pain and inflammation by 25 percent! Another study found ginger was an effective and safe means to reduce the severity of menstrual pain. And ginger compresses were found to be an effective treatment for patients with osteoarthritis.
3. It Can Help With Blood Circulation
Because studies show ginger increases circulation and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as protects nerves and lowers blood fat levels, it may be an effective treatment to relieve complications in diabetics. There is evidence that ginger consumption can also reduce protein levels in urine, and reverse proteinuria (kidney damage caused by excess protein in urine).
4. It Can Ease Congestion
Chinese medicine has used ginger to treat colds and flu symptoms because it is a decongestant as well as a natural expectorant. Make a delicious tea to relieve symptoms by peeling and chopping fresh ginger finely, and steeping it in hot water. Add sweetener and a splash of lemon if desired.
5. It May Kill Cancer Cells
When scientists applied a ginger powder solution to ovarian cancer cells in laboratory tests, they discovered the cancerous cells died as a result of contact with the solution. While no testing has been done outside of the petri dish, this research bodes well for safe, natural means to treat and prevent cancers.
Hooked? How to Grow Ginger At Home
It’s easy to get a daily dose of ginger in your diet, especially with tasty recipes like these, but growing ginger in your garden is simple too!
Ginger is a rhizome. Often mistaken for a root, the part of the ginger plant we consume is actually the underground stem, and new plants aren’t grown from seed. Rhizomes are cool because broken off pieces of the underground stem become an entirely new plant, which makes it ideal to grow from kitchen scraps. However, you can often purchase ginger plants from your local nursery or online. They don’t do well in cold climates, so if you live outside of zones 7 – 10, you’ll want to keep your ginger plant indoors.
Ginger rhizomes grow close to the surface of the ground, and prefer moist, but well-drained soil and partial shade. Simply place your ginger knob, with the knobs pointing up, under a thin layer of soil. The rhizome with produce roots and bamboo-like leaves. After about 8 – 10 months, or once the plant begins to die down, you can harvest your ginger. You can divide up the rhizomes, keep some for eating and transplant the rest, or just harvest the whole bunch. You can harvest the ginger before the plant has died down, but the ‘green’ ginger will be milder in flavor and potency. If you choose not to harvest the ginger, you may eventually, after a year or two, see gorgeous and fragrant ginger blooms
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