How to use ginger to relieve pain and quell nausea

More than just a time-honoured flavouring added to food, ginger is also used to help alleviate some if the most common minor health ailments. Here are some other ways you can use ginger for more than just spicing up a meal.

How to use ginger to relieve pain and quell nausea

The use of ginger for flavouring foods dates back to the earliest civilizations.

  • The Zingiberaceae family includes ginger and two other popular spices — cardamom and turmeric — as well as the banana, an unlikely distant cousin.
  • Cardamom is widely used in tropical cuisines and it lends fragrance to Scandinavian breads and pastries.
  • Turmeric, a major ingredient in commercial curry powders, is also used in Asia to dye fabrics yellow and in Western countries to improve the colour of some margarines and dairy products.

Here are some other ways you can use ginger for more than just flavour:

...as a flavourful folk remedy

Ginger has a long and honoured tradition in folk medicine and for good reason, according to modern research that is exploring the scientific basis for ginger's effects:

  • Recent studies have shown that beta ionone – a terpenoid found in ginger – appears to have anticancer properties. Tumours induced in labora­tory animals grow much more slowly if the animals are pretreated with beta ionone.
  • Various forms of ginger (non-alcoholic ginger ale or beer, pills and candied ginger root) are known to counter the nausea and vomiting of motion sickness. This practice is particularly well-established in Germany, where it is a government-approved treatment for motion sickness and heartburn.
  • A recent study found that ginger was as effective as prescription medication in preventing motion sickness, without causing the drowsiness the drug sometimes does.
  • Sipping flat ginger ale or sucking candied ginger, which has a more concentrated flavour, may help to quell spells of nausea due to morning sickness, food poisoning, gastroenteritis or cancer chemotherapy.
  • Ginger is available in capsule form for those who find that the candy is too strong or irritates the mouth.

...as a possible pain reliever

Because ginger blocks the pro-inflammatory prosta­glan­dins (hormonelike chemicals), it may also be useful in helping those who suffer from the pain of:

Migraines

  • These headaches are thought to be caused by inflammation of blood vessels in the brain. At least one study suggests that taking ginger at the first sign of a migraine may possibly help to reduce the symptoms.

Arthritis

  • Prostaglandins contribute to joint swelling in people with arthritis. Studies have shown that people with either osteo­arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experienced less pain and swelling when they took powdered ginger daily.
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