The history of ginger and it’s many uses
The ginger plant is native to Asia and has been used for thousands of years in both culinary as well as medicinal purposes. It was used very extensively for treatment of such illnesses as congestion of the chest, colds, pain in the joints and indigestion, stomach upset and other digestive tract problems.
The benefits of Ginger have been long known and used all around the world. It is written about in ancient Sanskrit, as well as by the Greeks around the first century, so by no means is Ginger new to the healing arts.
The first time we hear of Ginger in history is in India, from whose shores it made the way across to Africa, the Caribbean, and China. African lore has ginger used to treat the problems brought on by malaria as well as yellow fever outbreaks.
Arabians picked up on ginger and liking the taste of the spicy herb, took it home and cultivated it to use primarily in culinary ways.
Today Ginger is cultivated in nearly every country of the world. The part of the plant that is eaten is the part that is underground, or what is known as the rhizomes of the ginger plant. It is quite often called ginger root, although this is a slight misnomer.
Ginger is very strong tasting and has an effect that is stimulating on the body. The presence of certain things in the ginger oil is what are said to be medicinally valuable. These chemicals, known as gingerol, esquiterpenoids, as well as monoterpenoids are also there, although they are present in lower amounts.
China and India are still the largest producing countries of Ginger, which is used both medicinally as well as for culinary purposes.
It is also helpful in cleaning products, where the oils can be used to assist in cleansing completely. Ginger does have some antibacterial properties as well and is often used in all natural dishwashing liquids. The Japanese also serve ginger with many of its traditional raw fish dishes as a result of ginger’s anti bacterial properties.
Ginger can be used to make the house small marvelous, boiling a bit of ginger in a pan on the stove with cinnamon leaves a lingering fragrance of spices that is reminiscent of gingerbread or cookies. What a super scent to permeate your home when you have lingering smells of fried foods or fish.
In beauty products and aroma therapy, Ginger also excels. Ginger root extract is widely used as a perfume in multiple scents, while mingling it with mineral salts can give you an invigorating bathing experience.
There are several types of ginger, among them white ginger which offers a sweet scent from the blossoms that is commonly thought to have aphrodisiac properties, although this isn’t proven. Hawaiians add the ginger blossoms to the leis of flowers.
Very often mixed with sweeter scents when the spicy oils are used, Ginger and pomegranate or citrus fruits are used together to make marvelous perfumed body sprays. They are also used as bathing salts and even powders. Natural ginger provides an amazing scent and invigorates the senses. In aroma therapy ginger can help to combat depression.
When used medicinally, ginger is generally made into a tea or beverage. For the colds and flu, it is often mixed with alcohol. Very often Ginger brandy, a brandy that has been laced with the oils of ginger is taken several times a day, while ginger ale is used to ease vomiting or to help to settle an upset stomach.
Ginger may also be used in a poultice that is laid on the chest for congestion, although this is not as common as it once was, while it may also be chewed for assistance with congestion of the nasal passages.
Medical research today tells us that the benefits of ginger that can be proven are its ability to lower the incidence of nausea, one reason why ginger ale is given to hospital or flu patients. It is also given to patients post surgery, in the form of a capsule when they are not well able to tolerate other medications that are traditionally prescribed for nausea after anesthetic.
Ginger is used by those who practice herbal and holistic medicine in order to treat the pain of joint injuries or arthritis. While this is still under study by health care practitioners, the reality is that if the product works and has worked over the course of centuries, then it’s quite likely there will be a medical reason for that efficacy, whether or not it is forthcoming in any short time span.
Research is currently being conducted to find out if there is a reason why ginger has shown such a positive effect on osteoarthritis as well as rheumatoid arthritis patients. Ginger has show some very positive effects in assisting them with both pain as well as joint swelling but thus far no determinations have been made about the reasons it works.
Those who swear by ginger capsules for treating their arthritis do not cease their praise of the drug simply because medical science has not yet found the reasons proper why it should work. The fact that it does work is sufficient for them to impel them to continue taking the ginger capsules.
There are currently clinical trials and studies that are checking the benefits of ginger on treating those who have a progressive form of heart disease and they seem to suggest that this benefit of ginger could help to prevent heart attack and stroke when taken on a regular basis. Ginger is known to lower the overall cholesterol and protect the capillaries from blockages. Other studies show that it may be helpful in treating some forms of cancer, as well as in treatment of hypertension, or high blood pressure.
There are some down sides to ginger, such as contraindications in use and treatment. While it is known to be a very safe herb for daily use, it is much safer and of course, more pure when used in the culinary form and there are no contraindications when it is used in this fashion. Ginger pills however should be used with caution in the presence of some medical conditions that require treatment with drugs for the CNS or the renal system.
As with any other form of holistic medicine, there will be those who suffer from allergic reaction to the herb, although these seem to be few and far between.
Now that you have a “taste” of what “Everything Ginger” has to offer, I invite you to take a deeper look at the information, and better yet, become an active participant in the ongoing discussions.