In this article we will cover one of my favorite herbs/spices: Ginger root!
We will be talking about its wondrous properties, side effects and precautions along with how it can be used to heal your gut and remove inflammation!
Caution: Medical Disclaimer
Table of Contents
- 1 Herbal Name and Characteristics:
- 2 About this Herb:
- 3 What is Ginger?
- 4 Benefits and properties of Ginger:
- 5 When and how to take it?
- 6 Safety and side effects
- 7 Cycling
Herbal Name and Characteristics:
- Name: Ginger (root)
Pin Yin: Shen Jiang
- Latin: Zingiber officinale
- Taste: Hot and slightly pungent
- Color: yellow
- Constitution: Warm (Yang)
- Builds: N/A
About this Herb:
I have to admit that Ginger (as well as Turmeric) are quite recent additions in my nutrition. I started experimenting with spices back in 2011 when my journey as an herbalist began.
I soon discovered that ginger, in particular, had a number of other health benefits (other than taste), some of which I witnessed almost immediately (such as fighting off flu) when I used it in my teas. Something else I discovered was how my digestion was improved, my energy levels went up and I could cope with stress much better.
Before I knew it, I was adding ginger everywhere: my foods, my salads and my shakes.
It has a spicy and hot taste which requires some getting used to. This means you need to start with a very small dose and work up to a tolerable amount. I have heard of people trying to eat huge amounts of ginger (for example to treat a cold) and ended up having allergies. People tend to disrespect the power of herbs and end up paying a price in the end.
Personally I use both fresh ginger as well as the powder/spice form. In this section you learn about ginger, its amazing health benefits and how to use it.
What is Ginger?
Ginger is a plant that belongs to Zingiberaceae family (just like Turmeric), the root of which is used for its many medicinal and health properties.
It originally grows in India (ginger) and Malaysia (galangal) and there are documented mentions of its use dating back almost 5.000 years.
References to its properties when used for treating stomach problems can be found in ancient Greece, in Dioscorides’ book which dates back to 200 B.C. It can also be found in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) not only for its benefits to the body but also to the spirit (Shen). Confucius mentioned how he would never eat a meal without ginger (digestive aid).
Undoubtedly, its most common usage comes from Ayurvedic medicine and of course from the Indian, Pakistani, Asian and Middle Eastern culinary practices (cuisine).
It is one of the most powerful superfoods with many medicinal properties due to its bioactive ingredients:
- Gingerols such as 6-gingerol, 8-gingerol, 10-gingerol and Methoxy-10-gingerol,
- Gingerdiones such as 10-gingerdione and 1-deoxy-10-gingerdione,
- Curcumins including hexahydrocurcumin and tetrahydrocurcumin,
- catechin and epicatechin,
Benefits and properties of Ginger:
Summarizing the many benefits of Ginger root:
- It can improve cognitive processes such as memory and reaction times. It also appears to be promising in the fight against Alzheimer’s since the antioxidants it contains can reduce inflammatory responses in the brain and also fight free radicals.
- The latter also implies some anti-aging properties and applications.
- Because of its thermic effect (heat) it can help increase metabolism when consumed as part of a meal.
- It can help with morning sickness and nausea but it does so on a gastric (stomach) level and not by acting neurologically. It can also help with migraines.
- It can help with faster digestion of foods and emptying the stomach faster which means it can fight indigestion and stress-related and/or illness-derived constipation.
- It can reduce heartburn and give relief from gas by reducing pressure on the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES).
- It can reduce pain associated with menstrual problems in women (such as dysmenorrhea) when taken 3 days before menstrual bleeding starts.
- It can increase testosterone production as shown in studies performed on rodents and men (17.7%) however the mechanism of how this happens is not currently known.
- It can raise libido, sperm count by 16.2% and sperm motility by 47.3% in infertile men due to its strong antioxidant properties.
- It can reduce muscle pain as well as delayed onset soreness (DOMS) due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Its anti-inflammatory properties showed a lot of promise to help with osteoarthritis problems when taken orally or when used topically along with mastic and cinnamon.
- It has anti-diabetic properties as it can reduce blood sugar levels. This indicates that it can help reduce cardiac risk.
- It can also reduce total cholesterol levels, blood triglycerides and especially LDL (bad) cholesterol and help sustain good heart health (LDL levels are linked to bad heart health).
- It has shown a lot of promise in the battle against cancer due to its gingerol content and its anti-inflammatory properties but more research is required at this point.
When and how to take it?
Fresh ginger root: The best way to get the benefits of ginger is to eat some fresh organic root.
There are different ways to consume it. You can chop it to small pieces and add it to your salads and foods, eat it as is or even pickle it (and have the added health benefits of apple cider vinegar).
To pickle ginger, just put freshly chopped ginger root in a sterilized mason jar and fill up the jar with organic apple cider vinegar. Put it in a dark and cool place for at least 2 weeks and then open and enjoy!
Ginger Powder: This is a very convenient way to use ginger root. Mike Mahler has mentioned time and time again in his podcasts and seminars that he always carries a small bottle of ginger powder when traveling abroad.
You can add it to your foods, shakes and salads.
Alcohol based Tincture: With this method, you can extract many of the nutrients found in ginger. Hold the dose in your mouth (under the tongue) for 1 to 3 minutes until it gets absorbed. Then you can swallow it.
For people with liver problems (including hepatitis, cancer and other) or alcoholism, the tincture can also be taken in a glass of water. Wait a couple of minute for the alcohol to evaporate and then drink the tincture. This is perhaps the safest way to take a ginger tincture.
Tablets and capsules: Ginger is also available in pill form. In some cases, this form has the advantage of avoiding the hotness of the herb (and for some people, the taste) but nothing beats the real deal.
Ginger tea: Forget your regular so called ginger tea-in-a-bag crap. I am talking about the real deal. Here’s how to make it:
Finely chop some ginger root and add it to a cup. Boil some water and pour over it. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then add some raw organic honey or maple syrup (1 tablespoon) and then enjoy.
You can also do the same recipe by adding ginger powder instead of chopped root.
The drink is very spicy and hot. You have been warned. It is currently my preferred cure for the common cold, flu and throat infections. Works like a charm every single time.
The best times to take it would be:
- With your food at meal times,
- In your healthy shakes,
- At night to help you relax,
- On the onset of a cold or flu.
Safety and side effects
Ginger is generally safe when used in normal doses and taken orally.
When used topically, it can cause irritation and even a burn in people with sensitive skin.
Other side effects that have been reported with oral consumption include:
- General stomach discomfort,
- Extra menstrual bleeding.
Last but not least, Ginger can lower blood pressure so avoid taking it if you already have low blood pressure.
You should not take Ginger if you:
- Have a bleeding disorder as ginger can increase bleeding.
- Are scheduled for an operation as ginger can lower blood sugar levels and can increase the risk of bleeding. Stop using ginger at least 2 weeks before the surgery.
- Have low blood pressure or diabetes as there is a high risk of hypoglycemia from using Ginger.
- Have allergies to this specific herb or any of its ingredients.
The best thing you can do before taking any herb supplement is to test it. If you want to be safe while using herbs I strongly urge you to read my other article on how to test an herb for allergies and intolerances.
Contraindications or interactions with other medication/substances:
Avoid using this herb/spice if you have any medical condition or take any kind of medication without consulting with your doctor first.
Special precautions & warnings:
Use of ginger is a very controversial matter as in some cases it has been mentioned that it can affect pregnancy and result in miscarriage, increase bleeding and even affect fetal sex hormones. Since there are not enough studies performed to determine the full safety of this product, pregnant women or breast-feeding women should avoid using ginger.
Ginger should be used in moderate quantities as a spice or food. You should not use it in high doses and for extended periods of time as it is can be unsafe and cause adverse effects.
Take a small break if you tend to use it on a daily basis, even in small amounts, in order to protect the body from accumulation of other toxins unrelated to the herb itself.
Over the past 20 years I have experimented with literally hundreds of herbs, supplements (and other natural products) and was finally able to discover the right doses for amazing results.
If you wish to learn more about the dosages that I use with my clients for different purposes (better health, hormonal balance, stress management, testosterone boost and more) or how I combine this herb/supp with others, leave a comment below or reach out to me for a consultation through the “Hire me” link.
Closing notes & thoughts:
Ginger is one amazing herb that can improve the quality of your health and life with its strong anti-inflammatory action. If you wish to heal your gut and remove inflammation without the use of pharmaceuticals, you should be consuming this herb.
What is your opinion on Ginger? Have you ever used it and what did you use it for? Let me know in the comments below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Don’t forget to click on the Share button below and show your support to this blog. Until next time live your life: strong, healthy and free!
Also if you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks!
by Nick Sigma
CWC, EH, E-YRT200
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