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Enjoy The Health Benefits Of Ginger

In an age where synthetic compounds are often viewed as the best "cures," it might be difficult for some to fully grasp all of the potential health benefits of ginger. This little plant, native to Asia, has a history that dates back thousands of years in cooking and medicinal use. The ginger plant has an extensive list of potential uses that go well beyond the kitchen. Many uses are even recognized by professionals outside the arena of holistic and natural medicine. Available at just about any grocery store, the health benefits of ginger are easy for anyone to explore.

Ginger itself comes from the Zingiber officinale plant. It is the root of this plant that we use in our kitchen and medicines. Ginger root can be eaten fresh or dried, and its forms range from  powdered to candied.

Growing ginger at home is simple. Pick a root that has several buds already showing and plant it in a small pot. The root will grow partially uncovered by soil and should not require a lot of watering or else it could rot. As soon as the first shoots appear, the ginger can be replanted in the garden or left in the pot. Indirect sunlight is best. Under the best conditions, ginger will grow to be two to four feet tall. Bring the plant in before winter and set it aside in a dark cool place until spring. Ginger can be harvested in the fall after the upper portion of the plant has died away.

Ginger is widely grown throughout Asia and is a common food used in cooking in most areas of the world. Some of the potential health benefits of ginger remain unsupported by extensive clinical trials. The benefits of ginger are derived when the plant is processed into a form that can be used topically, orally and even intramuscularly, in some cases.

The specific benefits of ginger vary in their official medical backing, but the list of reported perks of eating the spice or taking products made from it is rather extensive. The primary area ginger has been reported to have an impact on involves stomach-related complaints. Other benefits are likely to exist and some even have limited clinical support, but these uses, such as inflammation fighting, are not as widely accepted.

Ginger's calming effects on the symptoms of nausea and vomiting are widely reported. The medical backing for its actual benefits, however, does seem to vary depending on the root cause of the nausea and vomiting. When considering the benefits of ginger about stomach complaints, therefore, it is often suggested that it be weighed based on the condition at hand.

The University of Maryland Medical Center points to the benefits of ginger in regard to motion sickness. The scientific studies about ginger's impacts on the nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness are contradictory in some cases. Still, the university does acknowledge that, "several studies suggest that ginger may be more effective than placebo in reducing symptoms associated with motion sickness."

Ginger has been used effectively to help combat the life-altering nausea that often accompanies chemotherapy. Both agencies suggest that more studies need to be done. They also mention that other drugs seem to be more effective in this particular case.

In general, the health benefits of ginger about nausea and vomiting have been proven to at least a limited extent. The belief of this plant assisting with digestion and staving off nausea and vomiting is believed to date back more than 2,000 years. Assisting with stomach-related complaints, however, is not the only area that ginger seems to be beneficial.

Another use for ginger is in the treatment of inflammation associated with arthritis. While its real impacts remain largely unknown in this arena, the University of Maryland cites a study of 261 osteoarthritis patients who took ginger extract. The study noted that these patients experienced “less pain and required fewer pain-killing medications compared to those who received placebo." It mentions another study that concluded its benefits were no more profound than ibuprofen or a placebo.

Other potential uses for ginger are noted by many sources, but remain largely unconfirmed by medical science. The potential benefits of ginger in these arenas, however, are likely worth looking at for fans of this spice and supplement.

Ginger may help decrease heart disease risks. This is believed to occur because of ginger's ability to assist in lowering cholesterol and assist in the prevention of blood clotting. Only a few cursory studies have been done and some research is still needed to prove that ginger lowers heart disease risks.

Some believe that ginger also has anti-cancer and even antioxidant properties. The University of Maryland acknowledges that laboratory trials have identified anti-cancer properties that seem to go along with ingesting ginger.

Although medical science does not fully back the use of ginger concerning every health condition it reportedly can help, there have been studies that point to at least a limited confirmation of what the ancients believed. Ginger seems to have benefits that go well beyond its ability to add an interesting flavor to food.

Anyone looking to take advantage of ginger’s potential health benefits will likely find it comes with a variety of options. The spice itself is often found in ground form at most food stores. Supplements in tablet, tincture and even capsule form are available from health food stores and online herbal outlets. Those with stomachaches often drink flat ginger ale to help them ease symptoms. Other options for cooking to enjoy the health benefits of ginger include cookies, salad dressings, and some Asian dishes, to name only a few.

The potential health risks of ginger are considered minimal. A few known but rare side effects can go along with ingesting ginger. Allergic reactions, for example, stomach upset and bleeding problems are the most common. It is advised that those who want to enjoy the health benefits of ginger keep an eye out for potential issues that may arise.

People who are taking blood-thinning medications are also generally advised to avoid the use of ginger. When taking supplements to reap the health benefits of ginger, it is considered smart to disclose this fact to medical professionals if other supplements or prescription medications are being taken. As is the case with all supplements, over-the-counter and prescription medications, if side effects become a concern, it is generally recommended that medical attention be sought.

The health benefits of ginger have been documented on the natural medicine front for well over 2,000 years. Although medical science has yet to fully confirm all the potential uses for this natural supplement and spice, some studies have supported its use for a variety of ailments. Whether it's used in regular cooking or taken as a supplement, it does seem very clear that ginger has an impact on certain medical conditions.

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