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A Little Bit About Ginger

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We use Ginger in alot of our products, so when i started working on my Herbalism course, this was one of the spices i wanted to find out more about, I knew it helped with sickness and i knew it had a warming effect on the body, which in turn helped people who suffered with arthritis, but that was from my aromatherapy side, I now wanted to learn more about it from the Herbalism side, so here is what i found out.

 

 


Ginger:

Botanical Name: Zingiber officinale. 

Family Name: Zingiberaceae 

Common Names: Jamaican ginger, Indian Ginger, gan-jiang, , African ginger, black ginger, zingiber officinale. 

TCM: sheng-jiang

Parts Used: The rhizome of the plant is used, both fresh and dried. 

Description: The ginger plant is an erect plant that grows from one to three feet tall. India and China are the largest suppliers of the herb used today. The large, scaly rhizome (underground stem) is the part of the plant used in herbal and medicinal use. It is cultivated in most tropical and sub-tropical countries now, but its origin is unclear. 

Native: It is a tropical plant found in East Asia and Australia. 

Harvesting: As the root is near the surface, you will often see small nobs at the soil line of your plant(s) that can be selectively cut for culinary use. Start harvesting about four months into the season and choose roots around the outer edge of the pot. At the end of the growing season when the leaves start to fade, uproot the plant and take a larger harvest if you need to. 

CONSTITUENTS: 

Ginger contains up to three percent of a fragrant essential oil which is extracted and commonly available on the market. During a study1 on this essential oil, researchers isolated 10 primary compounds; three were identified as monoterpenes and four more were identified as sesquiterpenes. The dominant component of this oil is zingiberene, with smaller amounts of other sesquiterpenoids such as â-bisabolene, â-  sesquiphellandrene and farnesene, as well as the small monoterpenoid fraction (â-phelladrene, cineol, and citral).  Zingerone, shogaols, gingerols, Volatile oils, terpenes, Iron, Manganese, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin B3.

Taste: Slightly Sweet & Dry

Energy Acrid, Hot

Organs & Systems affected: Stomach, Digestion, Sinus

Ginger essential oil combines well with lavender, citrus oils, jasmine and patchouli.

ACTIONS

antiemetic/antinausea, antispasmodic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anticlotting agent, analgesic, antitussive, circulatory stimulant, carminative, expectorant, hypotensive, increases blood flow to an area (topically), promotes sweating, relaxes peripheral blood vessels.

USES 

Ginger has been a mainstay in Asian medicine for thousands of years. It can be found in the pharmacology of the ancient Chinese as well as Sanskrit texts, and the Romans and the Greeks were also quite fond of Ginger. The popularity of the plant began to rise in Europe during the 10th century, where it found employment as a spice and condiment. It was brought to America sometime during the 16th century. There is still some debate surrounding the origin of the plant’s name. The commonly accepted belief is that the word Ginger springs from the Sanskrit word srngaveram, formed by the compound of srngam (which means horn) and vera (which means body), a history that is easy to believe if you’ve ever seen the shape of the root. However, there is another school of thought that labels this origin as mere folk-lore, asserting instead that Ginger comes from an ancient Dravidian name that also produced the Malayalam name for the spice–inchi-ver, from inchi (which means root). Since both of these etymological origin points seem viable, we’ll let you decide which side to cheer for. The oil is extracted from the unpeeled roots of the Ginger plant through steam distillation. Ginger has been used for in cooking and traditional medicine for thousands of years. It is currently one of the most widely used herbs worldwide. It has been used traditionally for a long time to treat nausea. Scientific evidence confirms its uses as an herbal remedy for nausea and related ailments such as morning sickness and motion sickness. Ginger contains many anti-fungal compounds which make it a popular herb for treating athlete’s foot. Studies have shown that ginger root inhibits the production of cytokines, which promote inflammation. Therefore, the traditional Indian use for treating inflammation is gaining new-found popularity. Some of the other traditional Asian uses for this herb include stimulating the appetite, promoting perspiration, and fighting body odor. It has also been used to treat pain and traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicinal uses include ginger root in a herbal arthritis treatment. A three year study of 56 people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis found that 75% of the participants felt relief from pain and swelling when taking Ginger root essential oil. Additionally, it has gained accepted use as a treatment for the onset of nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness. It has been shown to slow the production of LDL and triglycerides in the liver and prevent the clotting and aggregation of platelets in the blood vessels, associated with atherosclerosis and blood clots. Ginger root has been used to treat common gastrointestinal complaints such as flatulence, indigestion and diarrhoea. Ginger has been used to treat many other symptoms such as the common cold and flu by loosening phlegm and treating chills, Cough, asthma, halitosis, high fever, sinusitis, menstrual cramps and colic.  It is a popular herbal remedy for heartburn. postoperative nausea, pernicious vomiting in pregnancy, and seasickness. During clinical studies, Ginger essential oil was shown to protect the liver from the toxic effects of valproic acid and as useful in the treatment of epilepsy and other seizure disorders. Scientifically, almost all of the folk beliefs have been verified. Ginger does prevent motion sickness, thin the blood, elevate low blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol, and prevent cancer in animals. Extracts are reported to exhibit numerous pharmacological properties, including stimulating the vasomotor and respiratory centre's and lowering serum and hepatic cholesterol levels. Chinese researchers have reported that fresh ginger is highly effective in the clinical treatment of rheumatism, acute bacterial dysentery, malaria, and inflammation of the testicles. Ginger has proven active against such organisms as malaria, Shigella dysenteriae, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida albicans, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pheumoniae, Streptococcus spp., and the Salmonella spp. Gingerol is an acrid component, responsible for most of its hot taste and stimulating properties. The shagaols form as the plant dries and are more strongly irritant. 

Ginger is not only effective for motion sickness, but according to the British medical journal Lancet, ginger seems to be more effective than some standard drugs in treating motion sickness and dizziness. it has also proven to be useful in relieving postoperative nausea in trials conducted at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London in 1990. Zingibain is an enzyme in ginger that has anti-inflammatory properties. There are also many antioxidants that counter inflammation as well. Other components reduce production of certain prostaglandins, thereby easing pain. Gingerols, the substances that give ginger its pungency, are thought to be responsible for its usefulness in treating fever and pain. Its volatile oils may be natural killers of cold and flu viruses. It is also used in controlling and relieving the nausea after chemotherapy treatments. Researchers in India, in 1997, tested this ability and found that ginger was able to increase the rate of endurance. They have found that the acetone extracts collectively known as gingerol, were responsible for increased bile production, indicating that it plays an important role in digestion and food absorption. Some migraine sufferers reported that ginger aborted a headache if taken during the early stages. The theory is that this ability comes from substances called shogaols and gingerols, which reduce platelet clumping, thus preventing the blood-vessel inflammation that causes migraine pain. 

The ginger family includes not only the official ginger but also cardamom, tumeric, and zedoary. Various Zingiber species are used medicinally but do not equal ginger for benefits, including that of Turmeric, a close relative. In Asia, all members of this reedlike family are considered good for the health. The Arabs use two other members of the same family, galanga (Alpinia officinarum) and zedoary (Curcuma zedoaria) for treating stomach ailments and general weakness. The roots of these two plants are considered to be stimulants, aphrodisiacs, and, amazingly, a cure for amnesia. Pounded with olive oil, they are added to a hot bath or rubbed onto the body for any form of muscle complaints caused by overexertion. In North Africa, this usually comes from ploughing; but, in the western world, it is likely to result from overexertion at the gym. Ginger has a wide range of actions on the human body and has been found effective in the treatment of cataracts, heart disease, migraines, stroke, amenorrhea, angina, athlete’s foot, bursitis, chronic fatigue, colds, flu, coughs, depression, dizziness, fever, infertility, erectile difficulties, kidney stones, Raynaud’s disease, sciatica, tendinitis, and viral infections. In China, the science of ginger is so exacting that ginger from different parts of the country are used for different purposes. Fresh ginger is used to cure coughs, nausea, gas, and dysentery, as well as treating fevers and mushroom poisoning. Dried ginger is used for all things that the fresh ginger is used for, as well as for hemorrhages, pervered lochia, constipation, and urinary difficulties. A natural diuretic, ginger stimulates the kidneys to flush out toxins faster. The fresh root is used mainly to promote sweating and to reduce fevers while warming and soothing the body during coughs, cold, flu, and other respiratory problems. It is also an expectorant for colds and chills. Its antiseptic qualities make it a highly beneficial remedy for intestinal infections, including some types of food poisoning. Western herbalists regard it as a good circulatory stimulant, helping blood flow to the surface and making it a valuable remedy for chilblains and poor circulation to the extremeties. By improving circulation, ginger also helps high blood pressure. Since it stimulates peripheral circulation, it is warming to the extremeties and helps prevent the kinds of chills associated with malaria, colds, and flus. One of its more unusual uses is for burns. When used externally in a poultice or as an ointment, ginger soothes inflammation and promotes healing. The juice of fresh ginger, soaked into a cotton ball and applied to a burn, for example, acts as an immediate pain reliever (even on open blisters), reduces blistering and inflammation, and provides antibacterial protection against infection. Some herbalists recommend mixing fresh ginger juice with a neutral oil and applying it to the scalp to control dandruff; and mixed with lemon juice, vinegar, and honey, ginger makes a soothing gargle for a sore throat. Wild ginger is specific for painful cramping of the bowels and stomach.

How To make homemade ginger ale:

Take fresh ginger and flatten the unpeeled root. Place one cup of the flattened root in a gallon of water and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat, strain, and add honey to taste. It can be drunk as is or added to carbonised water.

SAFETY

Pregnant women should be careful with ginger due to its potential to cause uterine contractions. It has also been shown to interfere with the absorption of dietary iron and fat-soluble vitamins. Stomach upset is a common side effect with larger doses. It may potentiate the effects of blood thinners, barbiturates, beta-blockers, insulin, and other diabetes medications. Due to the blood thinning effect it should not be used before surgery.

References

Botanic engery

Herbal supplement resource

Cloverleaf

herb2000

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