Ginger reduces pain, may boost memory
Ginger is something you’ve probably walked past a thousand times in the grocery store and may have passed up.
It has some incredible medicinal benefits and offers people a natural approach to many ailments. Many women use ginger for morning sickness during pregnancy.
Sometimes you see it crystallized with sugar to improve flavor. But today I’m talking about the fresh ginger root you can buy in food markets.
Pain relief, including arthritis
We may think of fresh or powdered ginger as a flavor agent, but ginger is powerful medicine. It is an antioxidant and a strong analgesic.
Known officially as Zingiber officinale, ginger contains many therapeutic compounds, all of which have well-documented medicinal actions in the body.
In studies with people who ate dried ginger spice in their meals, 75% experienced relief from arthritic pain and swelling. Ginger contains dozens of compounds that have pharmacological activity.
Sometimes you have to heat or dry the ginger to extract a specific compound. For example, zingerone is negligible in fresh ginger; however, cooking it transforms the gingerol to zingerone. Fortunately, the dried (powdered) ginger spice does contain zingerone.
Zingerone is well researched, and it’s incredible. Studies have determined that it reduces inflammation, regulates blood sugar, eases muscle pain and spasms, helps with arthritis, speeds fat breakdown and ramps up immune function.
In an animal study, ginger compounds protected rodents from brain damage and memory loss, so now drug companies are trying to morph it and patent it into an Alzheimer’s drug.
I say just eat it! However, it can thin the blood, so you have to avoid or minimize it if you are taking anticoagulant medications.
Fights free radicals
Ginger can block your enzyme xanthine oxidase, which is good because that reduces ROS (reactive oxygen species).
The fact that ginger can degrade these ROS free radicals means it protects your DNA and mitochondria. In fact, ginger promotes mitochondrial health.
Mitochondria store energy for you in the form of ATP, and ginger root increases ATP production, according to one NIH study last year.
If you have liver disease or hepatic injury (for example, alcohol-related, or hepatitis), consider ginger in all of your recipes because studies show that zingerone has a hepatoprotective effect.
Here’s another fun fact: Ginger might have some heavy-metal binding abilities, because it can reduce cadmium levels, according to animal studies.
It can also reduce the body’s burden of organophosphate pesticides. If you have a PON1 gene, make ginger your friend!
Not only does ginger spice up your recipes, it makes for a quick and delicious tea. Look for a recipe on my website, as well as a free ebook called Spices that Heal.
Ginger is a delicious, safe and affordable way to improve health while adding a warming spice to your meals.
This information is opinion only. It is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition. Consult with your doctor before using any new drug or supplement.
Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist and the author of The 24-Hour Pharmacist and Real Solutions from Head to Toe. To contact her, visit SuzyCohen.com.