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The Health Benefits of Ginger
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is native to Asia, and Arabian traders brought it to Ancient Rome about 2000 years ago. Chinese herbalists have used ginger since the 4th century BC for treating nausea, cold, coughs and a variety of other ailments.
Ginger was introduced to the West Indies and Mexico by Spanish explorers where it now thrives. Ginger is used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine for treating inflammation and rheumatism.
The largest producers of ginger are India, Indonesia, Jamaica, and Australia.
Ginger is a good source of magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper and vitamin B6. Ginger is a source of gingerol. a potent inhibitor of NO (nitric oxide) synthesis, which in plain language means it has powerful antioxidant capabilities.
Fresh and dry ginger are similar in their properties. The only difference is that fresh ginger is not so easily digested as the dried type.
|Ginger root, raw||Nutritional value per
100 g (3.5 oz)
|Energy||80 kcal (333 kJ)|
|* Carbohydrates||17.77 g|
|Dietary fiber||2.0 g|
|* Fat||0.75 g|
|* Protein||1.82 g|
|* Vitamin B6||0.160 mg|
|* Folate (Vit. B9)||11 mcg|
|* Magnesium||43 mg|
A comprehensive breakdown of nutrients can be found in the Nutrition Database where this food can also be added to a meal planner.
In cholesterol-fed rabbits treated with ginger, total serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels were reduced and the atherogenic induct was reduced from 4.7 to 1.12.
The marked rise in body weights, glucose, insulin, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, free fatty acids and phospholipids in serum of rats that followed 6 weeks of high-fat diet treatment were significantly reduced by extract of ginger treatment.
The effect of ginger powder on lipid levels was investigated in a double blind controlled clinical trial involving forty-five patients in the treatment group and 40 patients in placebo group. There was a significant reduce in triglycerides, cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL), very low density lipoprotein (VLDL).
In the Ayurvedic system of medicine ginger is used as an anti-inflammatory drug.
Ginger suppresses prostaglandin synthesis through inhibition of cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2, much the same way non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs do, but without the undesirable side effects.
A common side effect of treating inflammation with modern drugs is that they can lead to ulcer formation in the digestive system. Ginger not only prevents the symptoms of inflammation, but it also prevents ulcers in the digestive tract.
Ginger extract has been shown to inhibit chemokine (inflammatory protein) expression, which may be useful for suppressing arthritic inflammation. A number of commercial preparations are marketed as arthritis treatments and contain 500 mg dried, powdered ginger rhizome.
At the Department of Rheumatology in Tel Aviv, Israel, 29 patients with gonarthritis (inflammation of the knee joint) showed a significant decrease in pain levels after 6 months of treatment with ginger extract.
A study reported more than 75 percent of patients receiving 3 to 7 g of powdered ginger daily for 56 days had a significant reduction in pain and swelling associated with either rheumatoid or osteoarthritis.
Other studies have shown ginger to be effective in reducing inflammation and swelling in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and muscular discomfort. 261 osteoarthritis sufferers received ginger extract or placebo in a 6-week double blind study. The group who took the ginger extract experienced a reduction in knee pain while standing and while walking.
In one clinical trial, extract of ginger and greater galangal extract significantly reduced symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee.
The World Health Organization (WHO) document (2000) reports that 5 to 10 percent ginger extract administration brought about full or partial pain relief, or recovery of joint function and a decrease of swelling in patients with chronic rheumatic pain and lower back pain.
Zinaxin, a highly concentrated extract of ginger, significantly reduced the knee pain in 247 patients with osteoarthritis.
A of combination ginger and Tinospora cordifolia showed better results for rheumatoid arthritis compared to other traditional medicines.
In Thailand, powdered ginger, together with cloves, are mixed with water and rubbed on the body for the relief of rheumatism.
Ginger has been proved in a number of clinical studies to be an effective remedy for treating or preventing nausea, dizziness, and vomiting caused by travel or motion sickness.
In a clinical trial subjects were subjected to a rotating chair while blindfolded under controlled conditions to induce motion sickness. It was found that ginger was significantly more effective in reducing motion sickness than the antihistaminic dimenhydrinate and a placebo.
There is evidence to suggest that powdered ginger is more effective than Dramamine for motion sickness.
Double-blind crossover studies showed that 1 g/day/4 days powdered ginger diminished or eliminated symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum (severe form of morning sickness)
In a double-blind randomized crossover trial, 1 g/day of ginger was effective in reducing the symptoms of morning sickness and did not appear to have any side effect or adverse effect on pregnancy.
A survey has found that whereas 55 percent of sources recommended ginger as being safe and effective in pregnancy, 16 percent stated that ginger should not be used in pregnancy due to its potential to cause miscarriage.
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3. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
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18. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Spices. James A. Duke