Zingiber officinale

Origin - Israel, China, India, Nigeria

Part of the plant used - Rhizomes

Description - Ginger is one of the most widely used roots both for culinary purposes and for medicinal ones. Recent medical studies have confirmed the ancient uses of ginger as a carminative, cholalogue, antitussive, diaphoretic and to help the absorption of other remedies throughout the body.

Pharmacology - Volatile oils (bisabolene, cineol, phellandrene, citral, borneol, citronellol, geranial, linalool, limonene, zingiberol, zingiberene, camphene), Oleoresin (gingerol, shogaol), Phenol (gingeol, zingerone), Proteolytic enzyme (zingibain), Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Linoleic acid. The pungency of ginger is due to GINGEROL which is the alcohol group of the oleoresin (when resins are associated with volatile oils, they are called OLEORESINS). Ginger owes its aroma to about 1 to 3% of volatile oils, which are bisabolene, zingiberene and zingiberol.

Historical Uses -

Medicinal Uses - Most of the medicinal effects of ginger appear to be due to the pungent components which are standardized. Recent research published in The Lancet and other prestigious journals have confirmed the traditional uses for ginger. Ginger was found more effective than drugs at treating motion sickness and nausea. Ginger is able to calm the stomach, promote bile flow and improve the appetite. Ginger is also known for its warming expectorant action on the upper respiratory tract, suppressing coughs, and encouraging the release of mucus and phlegm. With its diaphoretic action, promoting sweating, and increasing circulation, it is additionally useful for colds and low grade fevers. Ginger tea has long been a standard remedy for sore throats, colds and flus. Recent studies have found that ginger lowers blood cholesterol and reduces blood clotting. The pungent compound, gingerol has been found to have a structure similar to the well-known anticoagulant, aspirin, which may explain the similar effect that the two compounds have on prostaglandin. Ginger is also a very effective antibiotic agent. The high content of Magnesium, calcium and phosphorus in ginger makes it a useful candidate for muscle spasms, depression, hypertension, muscle weakness, convulsions, confusion, personality changes, nausea, lack of coordination and gastrointestinal disorders. The high content of potassium in ginger will protects the body against bone fragility, paralysis, sterility, muscle weakness, mental apathy and confusion, kidney damage, and damage to the heart. In addition to potassium's role in blood pressure regulation, it also regulates heartbeat. Ginger has a high content of antioxidants. This makes it a free radical scavenger. This means, it has antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties

Toxicity, Cautions & Contra-indications - Avoid taking in acute inflammatory conditions. Although there is some evidence that ginger may actually be helpful in gastritis and peptic ulcertation, care is needed in these conditions as any spice may excaccerbate the problem. Avoid when pregnant or trying to get pregnant (large doses may have abortifacient effects). Avoid therapeutic doses if taking anti-coagulant therapy such as warfarin and seek advice if taking medication for heart problems. High blood pressure should always be monitored by a healthcare professional. Do not use if suffering from Gall stones.

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