Health Benefits of Ginger

 

Much of tea’s history can be traced back to the mystical lands and deep-seated cultures of ancient India and China, where tea was first cultivated and consumed. It was in that revered time and place that the health benefits of tea were first realized and tea began to be widely enjoyed for its medicinal value and astounding ability to heal the human body and aid its various systems.

With tea being so deeply rooted in a couple of the world’s most complex and refined of ancient civilizations, it can be difficult to imagine that any plant, let alone a plant with such a rich cultural narrative could have a similar history. Even though it may be hard to imagine, ginger has a similar past. Rooted (pardon the pun) in the fields and gardens of Ancient Asia, ginger has served as a medicinal aid for thousands of years. Famous for its abilities to soothe the body’s digestive tract, relieve heartburn, and treat nausea among many benefits, there is little doubt why ginger has remained a kitchen staple for thousands of years.

Perhaps the most widely recognized of ginger’s many benefits is its ability to soothe upset stomachs and keep those who feel under the weather hydrated. Growing up, I can remember my mother making me cup after cup of ginger tea when I was feeling ill. To my childhood self, that pale yellow liquid seemed to be some kind of magic potion capable of healing my upset stomach and making my sore throat feel good once again. Little did I know it at the time, but it was also keeping me from becoming dehydrated. When we are feeling ill, making sure we are drinking enough water is most likely at the backs of our minds and is probably not a priority. In fact, it is often difficult and unpleasant to drink water at all while we are sick which makes staying hydrated all the more important. A warm cup of ginger tea makes drinking water while sick far more appealing. It’s tangy flavour and lingering throat-feel soothes cold symptoms and keeps you hydrated without the unpleasant sensations of drinking water with a cold.

More than just caffeine-free hydration, ginger tea is also capable of treating the unpleasant sensation of heartburn, also called acid reflux. According to Healthambition.com, ginger’s effectiveness as a heartburn treatment is well-documented. The Mayo Clinic explains that heartburn is essentially the result of stomach acids rising from the stomach and coming up into the esophagus. The result is an unpleasant burning sensation that may also be accompanied with a bitter taste. Rush University Medical Center points out that over the long run, heartburn can cause damage to to the lining of the esophagus, altering its cells and even potentially causing cancer. To combat this, many who suffer from heartburn in the post-industrialized Western world treat it with antacids and similar temporary heartburn relievers.

This of course creates its own issues. According to the New York times, these common and readily available heartburn treatments, called proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s) have the potential to cause a myriad of negative health side effects. Antacids and other similar treatments have the potential to block our body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients such as iron. This in turn can lead to other issues such as low red blood cell counts and weak bone matter. Needless to say, if PPI’s can be avoided, they should be. Luckily, ginger serves as a very effective treatment for heartburn that provides a far more natural and health-conscious option (without the nasty side effects) for those affected by acid reflux. Health Ambition confirms this and explains further that ginger is so effective as a heartburn treatment because of the fact that after consuming ginger, the muscle that blocks the esophagus from the stomach and it’s acids is closed, preventing those acids from rising into the esophagus. This makes ginger extremely effective at preventing acid reflux without the negative long term effects of PPI’s.

While discussing the basis for this article with Helen Sanders, the Editor of Health Ambition, I learned quite a bit not only about ginger, but about health in general. In my discussions with Helen, she pointed me to research she had found from the University of Rochester that points to ginger being extremely useful as a treatment for nausea. Nausea, being relatively common among cancer patients being treated with chemotherapy, can be a deterrent for patients in trying chemotherapy as a treatment option. The University of Rochester study was conducted with the use of volunteer chemotherapy patients who had all reported nausea following each session of chemotherapy. The study involved two groups of patients; the first was given a small piece of ginger for every person which was eaten before each chemotherapy session and the second group was given no ginger at all before the sessions. The results were surprising even to those with already high hopes for ginger’s performance. The study found that the group that had been given the ginger before each chemotherapy session was 40% less likely to suffer from nausea than the group that was given nothing at all. This points to ginger being an extremely effective and healthy option for treating nausea not only in circumstances of chemotherapy, but in all areas.

Clearly, ginger is no ordinary plant. Its benefits stretch far beyond its simple, clean and sharp taste. Soothing the throat, treating stomach aches and nausea, and treating the unpleasant symptoms of acid reflux are only a small handful of the many benefits provided by ginger.

In order to add more ginger into your lifestyle and daily routine, try making ginger tea. It tastes great and is an easy and hydrating way to add ginger into your daily routine and to enjoy its many benefits.

Resources:

This article was made possible with the help and expertise of Health Ambition. With all of the confusing and conflicting information about health circling around the world and the web, it can be extremely difficult for the average person to process. Many are left without proper resources on arguably the most important issue; our own health. Health Ambition aims to boil down the confusing myriad of information out there and make it accessible for busy modern lifestyles. Helen Sanders, Health Ambition’s Editor, started Health Ambition with accessibility for the average person in mind.

“I wanted Health Ambition to be different and I made a commitment to making sure our advice can be followed by ​regular people with busy lives, not just Hollywood celebrities with personal trainers and personal chefs.”

  • Helen Sanders

If you are interested in getting accessible, user friendly health information, check out HealthAmbition.com. You and your body will thank you.

 

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