(NaturalNews) Ginger is a warming spice and its strong taste and stimulating effect on the body makes it an effective medicinal spice. It has been used to treat yellow-fever and malaria, and Chinese sailors chewed ginger root for seasickness thousands of years ago. Vertigo and motion sickness responded better to ginger than the standard pharmaceutical drugs. Recently, ginger has been recommended to alleviate nausea, and it is a safe remedy for morning sickness.
Ginger is one of the most cultivated spices in the world today; its versatility, popularity, and importance are unquestionable. In China and India it has been used for over 5000 years for cooking and as a natural remedy for healing ailments, such as colds, indigestion, joint pain, diarrhea and nausea; ginger has analgesic, sedative, and antibacterial properties and it contains essential fatty acids, phytochemicals, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, B-vitamins, and zinc. It is no wonder that ginger has so many important healing qualities. Ginger, which is native to Asia, is considered on the same level of importance as salt and pepper.
Ginger is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Indian and Scandinavian studies have shown consistently that ginger is useful for treatment of most kinds of arthritis. Ginger offers a big advantage over NSAIDs and aspirin, both of which are irritating to the stomach, according to Dr. Krishna Srivastava, of Odense University in Denmark, a medical researcher on spices.
Dr. Charles Dorso, of Cornell University Medical College found that, after eating a large quantity of ginger, it is also an effective anticoagulant. Ginger is often referred to as a universal medicine in Indian Ayurvedic teachings and is used in most traditional Chinese herbal formulas.
Cultivated in tropical Asia for over 3000 years, ginger`s exact origin is unknown. Gingerroot was also used in the Middle East and southern Europe well before Roman times. The Portuguese introduced it into Africa and the Spanish took it to the West Indies. By the 1500`s, the Spaniards had a flourishing Jamaican ginger trade with continental Europe. Jamaican ginger is prized for its strong, perky flavor. Jamaica currently provides most of the world`s supply and is followed by India, Africa, and China.
Ginger is one of several spices which offer culinary uses along with its medicinal therapies. The underground stem, or rhizome, is the part that is used as a spice; it is in the same family as turmeric and cardamom. There are several forms of ginger: fresh, dried, pickled, preserved in syrup, crystallized and powdered.
Excessive doses of ginger may cause mild heartburn, diarrhea and irritation of the mouth; it may also cause some mild gastrointestinal side effects, such as belching, heartburn, or stomach upset. This may be controlled by taking ginger supplements in capsules.
People with gallstones should consult a doctor before taking ginger. Do not take ginger if you have a bleeding disorder, or if you are taking blood-thinning medication, including aspirin. Although ginger may interfere with blood-clotting, there have been no scientific or case reports of interactions. Before using ginger it is best to talk to your healthcare provider.
Ginger is a culinary superstar because it is a popular ingredient in stir-fries, curries, peanut sauces, and dishes with soy sauce. It is treasured in Caribbean, Indian, African, and Asian Cuisines. In Chinese cuisine, fresh ginger is always preferred to dried ginger. In any form, ginger picks up the flavor of dull foods, adds a fresh bite to seafood, and cuts the fattiness of rich meats. In America, ginger, in its powdered form, is primarily used for baking.
Alice E. Marson is a natural health published author and researcher. She is a retired teacher and writes for Mature Living and ActiveAmericans.com mainly on health topics. As a breast cancer survivor she is a strong believer in natural and alternative medicine and avoiding prescription drugs. Alice has given public and TV presentations on toxic products in the home.