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Online Wellness Community Natural Health and Anti-Aging News
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Ginger

Introduction to Ginger

In herbal medicine, ginger is regarded as an excellent carminative (a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) andintestinal spasmolytic (a substance which relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract). Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects. Ginger extracts have been shown to have both antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects on cells.ginger 150x150 Ginger

Anti-Inflammatory

Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. These substances are believed to explain why so many people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels and improvements in their mobility when they consume ginger regularly. In two clinical studies involving patients who responded to conventional drugs and those who didn’t, physicians found that 75% of arthritis patients and 100% of patients with muscular discomfort experienced relief of pain and/or swelling.

Anti-Cancer

Gingerols, the main active components in ginger and the ones responsible for its distinctive flavor, may also inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells, suggests research presented at the Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, a major meeting of cancer experts that took place in Phoenix, AZ in 2003. Research associate professor Ann Bode noted, “These results strongly suggest that ginger compounds may be effective chemopreventive and/or chemotherapeutic agents for colorectal carcinomas.”

Lab experiments presented at the 97th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer, by Dr Rebecca Lui and her colleagues from the University of Michigan, showed that gingerols, the active phytonutrients in ginger, kill ovarian cancer cells by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) and autophagocytosis (self-digestion).

MORE ON GINGER

PLANT DESCRIPTION

Ginger, the underground stem, or rhizome, of the plant Zingiberofficinale has been used as a medicine in Asian, Indian, and Arabic herbal traditions since ancient times.. The important active components of the ginger root are thought to be volatile oils and pungent phenol compounds (such as gingerols and shogaols).The stem extends roughly 12 inches above ground with long, narrow, ribbed, green leaves, and white or yellowish-green flowers.Ginger has also been used to help treat arthritis, colic, diarrhea, and heart conditions. In addition to these medicinal uses, ginger continues to be valued around the world as an important cooking spice and is believed to help treat the common cold, flu-like symptoms, headaches, and even painful menstrual periods.

USED FOR NAUSEA RELIEF

Ginger is widely used for its nausea relieving medicinal values and have found that ginger is more effective than placebo in relieving nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy. Ginger also assists in alleviating motion sickness, chemotherapy related nausea, andnausea and vomiting following surgery. Conventional prescription and nonprescription medicines that decrease nausea may also cause unwanted side effects, such as dry mouth and drowsiness.

INFLAMMATION

In addition to providing relief from nausea and vomiting, ginger extract has long been used in traditional medical practices to reduce inflammation. In fact, many health care professionals use ginger to help treat health problems associated with inflammation, such as arthritis and ulcerative colitis.

OTHER USES

Although it is too early to tell if ginger will benefit those with heart disease, preliminary studies suggest that ginger may lower cholesterol and help prevent the blood from clotting. Each of these effects may protect the blood vessels from blockage and the damaging effects of blockage such as atherosclerosis, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Laboratory studies have also found that components in ginger may have anticancer activity. More research is needed to determine the effects of ginger on various cancers in humans.

PRECAUTIONS

The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a health care provider qualified in the field of botanical medicine.

Side effects associated with ginger are rare, but if taken in excessive doses the herb may cause mild heartburn, diarrhea and irritation of the mouth. Some of the mild gastrointestinal side effects, such as belching, heartburn, or stomach upset, may be relieved by taking ginger supplements in capsules.

People with gallstones should consult a doctor before taking ginger. Make sure to tell your doctor if you are taking ginger and will be undergoing surgery or placed under anesthesia for any reason.

Do not take ginger if you have a bleeding disorder or if you are taking blood-thinning medications, including aspirin.

POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS

Ginger may alter the effects of some prescription and nonprescription medications. If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use ginger without first talking to your health care provider.

Blood Thinning Medications — Although ginger may interfere with blood clotting, there have been no scientific or case reports of interactions between ginger and blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin and warfarin. However, people taking medications that thin the blood should use ginger only under the supervision of a health care provider.

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