What is a Ginger Plant?
Do you know that something as small as ginger packs a whip when it comes to vitamins and minerals? If you have been looking down at this plant, brace yourself for a revelation that would shock you right out of your socks.
Even before you came across this article, there is no doubt you must have heard about the ginger plant. But the question here is, what exactly is this plant, and what is it used for.
Ginger is actually a plant with very leafy stems and yellowish-green flowers. With this description only, you could easily guess this plant isn’t kidding around; it sure has something in store for anyone willing to try.
Now, you should know that the ginger spice comes from the roots of the plant. The plant is mostly found in warmer parts of Asia, such as Japan, India, and China, but now since the revelation of this plant’s goodness, it is grown in parts of South American and Africa. The Middle East also grows this spice, but for them, it mostly for the medicinal properties and the flavor it adds to their food.
Ginger is normally used for many types of nausea and vomiting. So, if you are having any signs of throwing up, get yourself some bites from the ginger spice, and you will be alright in no time. Aside from its help with vomiting and nausea, the ginger plant is also used for migraine headaches, menstrual cramps, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and other conditions. This is exactly why I initially said that this very plant packs many amazing properties that would shock you. Anyway, there is no solid scientific proof to support many of these uses.
In beverages and foods, ginger is used as a flavoring agent. While in manufacturing, the plant is used for fragrance in soaps and cosmetics. Another interesting use of this spice that you may not be aware of is its use in the generation of different chemicals. One of the chemicals in the plant is also used as an ingredient in anti-gas, laxative, and antacid medications.
Before we proceed on the uses of this plant, I will like to bring to your notice the fact that ginger has over thirty other names, so while you are on tour to other parts of the world, the ginger plant may have other names while you are there. Here are some names that were given to this wonderful spice.
Amomum Zingiber, Ardraka, Black Ginger, Rhizoma Zingiberi, Cochin Ginger, Gingembre, Gingembre Africain, Rhizoma Zingiberis, African Ginger, Gingembre Cochin, Gan Jiang, Gingembre Jamaïquain, Gingembre Noir, Gingembre Indien, Siccatum Rhizoma, Zinziber Officinale, Rhizoma Zingiberis Ginger Essential Oil, Shen Jiang, Huile Essentielle de Gingembre, Ginger Root, Imber, Jamaica Ginger, Indian Ginger, Jengibre, Jiang, Kanshokyo, Kankyo, Race Ginger, Nagara, Racine de Gingembre, Recens, Sheng Jiang, Shoga, Shokyo, Srungavera, Sunth, Sunthi, Zingiber Officinale, Zingiberis Rhizoma, Zingiberis Zinzeberis, Shunthi, Vishvabheshaja, Zinziber Officinalis.
How Does It Work?
So, with the already listed notes on ginger, you may be wondering how exactly this spice does all those mentioned goodness. Well, a ginger plant contains chemicals that may reduce inflammation and nausea. Researchers believe the chemicals work predominantly in the stomach and intestines, but they may also work in the nervous system and the brain to control nausea.
Uses and Effectiveness of Ginger
There are so many health conditions which the ginger spice can effectively fight against, and other conditions without any evidence of its possible effectiveness.
Possibly Effective for
- Nausea and vomiting are caused by medications used to treat HIV/AIDS (antiretroviral-induced nausea and vomiting). The research proposes that taking ginger daily, 30 minutes before every dose of antiretroviral treatment for 14 days, lessens the risk of vomiting and nausea in patients receiving HIV treatment.
- Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea). Research discloses that taking ginger powder 500-2000 mg during the initial days of a menstrual cycle, say about 3-4 days, discreetly drops pain in women and teens with painful menstrual periods. Some other research revealed that taking ginger seems to work like some pain medications, like ibuprofen, Novafen, or mefenamic acid. Adding ginger to medicines such as mefenamic acid also appears to be helpful.
- Osteoarthritis. Most research demonstrates that taking ginger by mouth can somewhat reduce pain in some people with osteoarthritis. There is also some evidence that taking ginger by mouth works just as much as an ibuprofen 400 mg daily drug for pain in knee and hip osteoarthritis. But most research disclosed that applying ginger oil or gel to the knee does not in any way improve pain in people with osteoarthritis.
- Morning sickness. Taking ginger by mouth appears to lessen nausea and vomiting in some pregnant women. Sadly, it may work slower or not sometimes not as well as some drugs used for nausea. It would be best if you didn’t forget that taking any medication or herb during pregnancy is a big decision. So, before taking ginger while pregnant, be sure to discuss the possible risks with your healthcare provider.
Possibly Ineffective for
- Muscle soreness caused by exercise. If you are experiencing muscle soreness right after your exercises and you are hoping to have it cured with a ginger supplement, you may be saddened by this revelation. Research has revealed that taking ginger does not lessen muscle pain during exercise. Again, taking ginger does not seem to help in the treatment or prevention of muscle pain after exercise.
- Motion sickness. Now, this is one health condition that everyone has assumed ginger is very effective for. However, most research proposed that taking ginger up to 4 hours before travel may not prevent your motion sickness. Some people also report feeling better after they took ginger; nonetheless, the actual measurements taken during studies suggest otherwise.
Insufficient Prove for
- A sudden and serious lung condition (acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS). The research proposes that administering 120 mg of ginger extract daily for up to twenty-one days helps increase the number of days a patient can go on living without ventilator support. Now, it also affects the number of nutrients consumed and diminishes the time spent in intensive care units for people with the sudden respiratory system. Nonetheless, the ginger extract does not appear to affect death rates in people with this condition.
- Hay fever. Early research confirms that taking ginger extract aids in the reduction of the runny nose just as much as the prescription drug loratadine would do in people with hay fever.
- Loss of appetite in people with cancer. Taking ginger for two weeks might actually help in nausea, reflux, appetite, and other stomach problems in people with this condition.
- Diabetes. As foreign as this might sound, taking ginger appears to lower blood sugar in some people with diabetes. Doses of at least 3 grams of ginger per day need to be taken for this to work. Reduced doses might not help. Now for this to be effective, ginger might need to be taken for at least three months before benefits are seen.
- Indigestion (dyspepsia). The research proposes that taking a single dose of 1.2 grams of ginger root powder one hour before eating hastens how quickly food empties out of some people with dyspepsia.
- Hangover. Early research recommends that taking a combination of the pith of Citrus tangerine, ginger, and brown sugar before alcohol consumption reduces symptoms of hangovers, including nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
- High levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia). Research advises that taking 1 gram of ginger three times daily for forty-five days drops triglyceride and cholesterol levels in high cholesterol people.
- High blood pressure. Having a cup of black tea with ginger might lower blood pressure by a minimal amount in people with high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Insect bite. Early research confirms that applying Trikatu, which contains ginger, black pepper extracts, and long pepper, does not reduce mosquito bite size.
Side Effects of Ginger
When ginger is taken by mouth, it is assumed to be very safe only when this supplement is taken when appropriate. Please do not go around taking this supplement at every turn because you are amazed by all the wonderful benefits it offers. Ginger can cause mild side effects such as looseness of the bowels, heartburn, burping, and general stomach discomfort. In fact, some women had reported more menstrual bleeding when they took ginger.
When ginger is applied to the skin, it is also possibly safe, but this is only when it is applied appropriately and for the short-term. Continuous use of ginger oil or gel has been reported to irritate some people’s skin.