Ginger spice has a long history of use in world cuisine. Sources indicate that the plant originated in the Indian subcontinent and eventually traveled west. After the fall of the Roman Empire, however, ginger disappeared and wouldn’t resurface until Marco Polo brought the spice back from his alleged trip to China almost 1,000 years later. Nowadays, you can find ginger in Christmas cookies, pie spice mixes, and even soda.
But ginger is more than just a tasty spice; for as long as India and China have kept written records, they’ve written about ginger. The ancient Indian text on Ayurvedic medicine “Charaka Samhita” references ginger in numerous medical treatments, as does the seminal Chinese herbology book “Shennong Ben Cao Jing” written around 2800 BC. Even today, the use of ginger as a homeopathic remedy for gas relief, digestive problems, and nausea is widely accepted as scientific fact (the Mandarin word for ginger is “jiang”, which means “to defend”.)
While the antiemetic applications of ginger may not come as a shock, the power of this nifty root can be harnessed in many more ways you might not even have thought of!
Respiratory infection: Ginger root has been observed to dilate bronchial tubes, act as an antihistamine, and loosen phlegm by shrinking mucus membranes in the lungs. This makes ginger a great remedy for chest congestion and tissue inflammation!
Heartburn/indigestion: the volatile oils found in ginger have the ability to speed up the process of removing food from the stomach!
Migraines: Headaches are caused when inflamed blood vessels in the head press down against nerves. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties keep these blood vessels from swelling!
Menstrual Cramps: An overproduction of prostaglandins in the endometrium (uterine lining) is the supposed cause for menstrual pain. The blood-thinning and anti-inflammatory benefits of ginger make it a well-documented pain reducer! It is for this reason that ginger has also been researched as a cure for fevers, arthritis, and even kidney failure!
The Green Teahouse carries a range of ginger-flavored teas; this author’s favorite is Ginger Pu-Erh, a spicy and satisying blend of pu-erh leaves, diced ginger root, and goji berries. If yours is more of a sweet tooth, try our Tangerine Ginger or Ginger Lime!
Ginger’s effectiveness at treating pregnancy nausea: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22545357
The chemical makeup of Essential Oil of Ginger: http://www.scialert.net/abstract/?doi=pjbs.2005.1576.1578
Alternative medicine article with interesting facts about ginger: http://altmedicine.about.com/od/ginger/a/ginger_health.htm