Ginger, medicine in phytotherapy

Ginger used to be so expensive in Europe that it was used as currency. Ginger entered Europe from India via Greece via traders from Arabia. Ginger has always been both an eating herb and a medicinal herb. Nowadays we mainly use it in food, but the medicinal effects are undiminished. Ginger is a good remedy for: motion sickness, indigestion, low blood pressure, migraine and rheumatic diseases.
NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Botanical drawing of ginger / Source: Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)

Contents:

  • Ginger naming
  • Grow your own ginger
  • History of ginger
  • Active ingredients ginger
  • Ginger, good for the stomach
  • Ginger against nausea
  • Ginger as an antiseptic
  • Ginger, good for digestion
  • Ginger as a blood dilating agent
  • Ginger good for arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • Ginger, good for the libido
  • Ginger, good for the lungs
  • Ginger as a blood thinner
  • Ginger, good for vitality
  • Consult a herbal therapist

 

Ginger naming

The language that scientists use among themselves uses the Latin names of a plant. The aim of this is to exclude mistakes. The Latin name for ginger is Zingiber Officinale . Zingiber is a word that comes from Sanskrit and Pakrit. It means: ”The shape of antlers”. That would refer to the shape of the ginger root as it grows underground. Another explanation for this word is that it is a corruption of Zanzibar; that is the name of an African island whose root has been extensively traded. Dutch has a number of nicknames for this plant, most of which are outdated: Gijnebeer, Gingom and Zevenknobbel.

Grow your own ginger

Flower lovers can grow ginger indoors in a pot. When it is nice and warm in Europe (about two weeks in July or August), the ginger can be left outside. It is a tropical plant with a special red flower. In the tropics it is a very easy plant to grow and flower.

History of ginger

Ginger comes from India but it does not grow in the wild; the plant has not been found in the wild anywhere in the world. Ginger was shipped to Europe and from there to the rest of the world. It is a beloved plant everywhere, both for its culinary and medicinal properties.

Active ingredients ginger

Only the roots of ginger are used. These are dried after the above-ground part of the plat has died. The root contains 17 types of essential oils in ample quantities. It also contains oleoresides in the form of various gingerols and shogaols. It also contains the phenols gingeol and zingerone and the protein-splitting enzyme or protease zingibaine. To a lesser extent, ginger root contains: bound and free polyphenols, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, C and beta-carotene, the minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and selenium. Fats such as linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, lecithin, oleic acid and betasitosterol, carbohydrates, proteins, organic acids and fiber.

Ginger, good for the stomach

Ginger is a stomach-strengthening root. Gastric juice secretion increases and this is accompanied by a warming sensation. Heat-sensitive receptors are stimulated by ginger. It protects the stomach against the development of ulcers. Zingiberene, 6-gingerol, 6-shogaol and zingiberone are mainly responsible for this medicinal effect. Because of these medicinal properties, herbal therapists can prescribe ginger for the following indications:

  • Weak gastric secretion,
  • Stomach ache,
  • To prevent stomach ulcers.

 

Ginger against nausea

Ginger has even more positive effects on the stomach. The most important of these is that it calms the urge to vomit. Ginger increases gastric peristalsis and absorbs acids and toxins. Gingerols, shogaonene and zingerone contribute to this effect. Scientific research proves that one gram of ginger powder is more effective than 100 mg of metoclopramide, the regular anti-nausea medicine. Ginger is good for all kinds of nausea, including motion sickness and morning sickness. Four grams of dried ginger powder, taken throughout the day, significantly reduces nausea. For this medicinal reason, ginger is prescribed for:

  • Motion sickness, motion sickness, carsickness, seasickness,
  • Nausea after surgery,
  • Pregnancy sickness,
  • Nausea due to chemotherapy or alcohol.

If a pregnant woman can manage with less than 4 grams of ginger powder per day, it is recommended to do so.

Ginger as an antiseptic

Ginger is an antiseptic. The essential oils in ginger make bacteria less likely to grow. Infections are prevented in this way. In addition, it absorbs toxins and acids in the intestines. This effect improves digestion. Herbalists can prescribe ginger root for these reasons for the following indications:

  • Diarrhea, dysentery,
  • Food poisoning, mussel poisoning,
  • Diverticulitis or intestinal bulges.

 

Ginger, good for digestion

Ginger has an extensive positive effect on digestion, as already shown in the three paragraphs above. In addition, the digestive process itself is optimized by ginger root. This applies in particular to the digestion of proteins. Digestion already starts in the mouth. Saliva ensures that the food is digested. Ginger increases salivation, making food better digested. It is a natural appetite stimulant. Zingiberene is one of the substances that makes ginger root a carminative agent. Carminative means that it reduces the formation of intestinal gases. Ginger is also an antispasmodic. For these medicinal effects, ginger is prescribed for the following indications:

Ginger flower bud / Source: Ogniw, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

  • Indigestion, dyspepsia, acid reflux,
  • Weak digestion of proteins and fats,
  • Anorexia,
  • Gastrointestinal cramps and colic,
  • Flatulence, meteorism,
  • Irritable bowel syndrome,
  • Leaky gut syndrome
  • Decreased salivation, Sjögren’s disease,
  • Adjuvant for liver diseases, liver disorders.

 

Ginger as a blood dilating agent

Ginger is a vasodilator; that is a medical term meaning ‘vasodilator’. Zingerone is a substance that dilates blood vessels. This causes the blood to flow better. This, among other things, makes you feel warmer. The blood circulation, especially the skin, is stimulated by ginger. The blood vessel improving effect also has a positive effect on the heart muscle and the blood vessel system in the brain. Ginger is used for:

  • Poor blood circulation,
  • Circulation problems,
  • Cold hands and feet, chilblains,
  • Heart failure, heart weakness,
  • Low bloodpressure,
  • palpitations,
  • Migraine.

 

Ginger good for arthritis and osteoarthritis

Ginger is an anti-inflammatory agent. It reduces the seepage through the intestines of macromolecules that can lead to the breakdown of cartilage. This makes it a remedy that is recommended for rheumatic diseases. In the medical world it is considered chomdroprotective or cartilage protective. In addition, it is an analgesic. For these reasons, ginger is prescribed by herbalists for the following indications:

  • Arthritis, osteoarthritis,
  • Rheumatoid arthritis,
  • Joint complaints due to humidity and cold.

 

Ginger, good for the libido

Ginger is a blood circulation improving herb. This also applies to the lower body. That is one of the reasons that the libido is increased. Ginger also promotes male fertility. Both sperm count and sperm motility are improved after eating ginger. The gingerols in particular are effective for the latter properties. Ginger can be recommended for:

  • Decreased libido, impotence, sexual weakness,
  • Reduced male fertility, reduced sperm count,
  • Decreased sperm motility,
  • Absence of menstruation, insufficient menstrual bleeding,
  • Painful menstruation.

 

Ginger, good for the lungs

Ginger is an expectorant. It warms the lungs. 1,8-Cineal, citral and cymene are substances that fight pathological bacteria in the lungs and airways. It is an antitussive. It is also a diaphoretic and antipyretic. In addition, the respiratory center in the brain is stimulated by substances in ginger. It is also an immunostimulant, which means that the human resistance mechanism is improved. Due to these medicinal properties for the lungs, ginger is a natural medicine for:

  • Bronchitis or respiratory tract infections,
  • Pneumonia or lung infections,
  • Chronic bronchitis, cough,
  • Cold with mucus formation,
  • Prevention and treatment of flu, colds,
  • Early fever, shivering fever, fever with cold feeling.

Ginger should not be given in case of a high fever!

Ginger as a blood thinner

Ginger is a natural, plant-based blood thinner. Because the blood is diluted, it has a preventive effect on a number of conditions. It reduces platelet adhesion. The active ingredients include ALA, kaemferol, shogaol and coumarins. Because of these healing qualities, ginger root is prescribed by herbalists for the following indications:

  • Prevention of thrombosis,
  • Prevention of thick blood, viscous blood,
  • Prevention of arteriosclerosis,
  • Prevention of migraines.

 

Ginger, good for vitality

Ginger is a general tonic; a tonic. In addition, it is an anti-mutagen, or a food that prevents cancer. That’s because ginger has strong antioxidant properties. Gingerols, shogaols and polyphenols act as antioxidants. In addition, ginger lowers blood sugar levels. Because of these broad medicinal effects, it is used for:

  • General lack of energy, lack of vitality,
  • Depression,
  • Prevention of cancers,
  • Adult-onset diabetes.

 

Consult a herbal therapist

Anyone who wants to use ginger as a medicinal product is recommended to consult a herbal therapist. Ginger extracts and medicines in the form of mother tincture, powder, dried herb, liquid extract and decoction should only be used on the prescription of authorized persons. A herbal therapist can tell you more about this, as well as about possible side effects and interactions with other medicines or herbs. There are also beneficial combinations with herbs. Some herbs can enhance each other’s effects; that’s called synergy. All medicinal effects of this medicinal herb mentioned in this article are based on scientific research and come from Geert Verhelst’s Large Handbook of Medicinal Plants, a standard work in the field of healing plants. The book is used in phytotherapy.

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