Ginger, mostly known as a spice, is a plant with healing properties that are especially suitable for treating digestive difficulties and travel nausea (seasickness, car sickness). Ginger, also known by the English term “Ginger,” is a herbaceous plant native to the Far East but has also been cultivated in Europe for centuries.
The plant has a characteristic fleshy and branched “rhizome, “this is the part from which the stem extends in height and generally runs in a horizontal line just below the ground; it is there that the pharmacologically active complexes accumulate. In “pharmaceutical botany,” the part of the plant from which these substances are extracted is called a “drug.”
Use Of Ginger In cooking
In the ginger rhizome, there are particular substances (above all gingerols and shogaols ) that give it a typical flavor: spicy and aromatic, hence its use in the kitchen as a spice: both as dried and pulverized Ginger and fresh, to be cut into thin slices; its use as a spice to season foods is practiced above all in Eastern cuisine, but for some time now also in Western cuisine. This peculiarity makes Ginger very welcome in the composition of soft drinks and liqueurs.
Do not use Ginger as a side dish, but only in small quantities, and occasionally, excessive consumption can create annoying problems (see below).
Use Of Ginger In Herbal Medicine
The rhizome powder forms the most common intake forms, such as tablets or capsules.
Especially in Motion Sickness (or Motion Sickness), i.e., motion sickness such as seasickness, car sickness, etc., reduces the sense of nausea with activity similar to dimenhydrinate (present in the most common anti-nausea drugs) but without its undesirable effects in fact, it does not act at the Central Nervous System level but at the stomach level, reducing the typical contractions of nausea. However, its use in sickness during pregnancy is controversial: some studies report the possibility of damage to the fetus, and the Health Authorities advise against it unless under medical supervision.
Digestive Difficulties (Dyspepsia) And Inappetence
It is, in fact, eupeptic and stomachic, i.e., stimulating the digestive functions: it increases the secretion of saliva, gastric and biliary juices, stimulates the peristalsis of the stomach and intestines ( prokinetic effect ); this is useful both to stimulate the appetite ( aperitif effect ) and to facilitate digestion.
Excess Intestinal Gas (Meteorism)
Limits the formation of gas and, above all, its stagnation, favoring its expulsion ( carminative effect ).
It reduces the painful cramps of the viscera ( antispasmodic effect ) due to excess gas or colitis.
Other Ginger Activities
- Anti-inflammatory as it inhibits the “Arachidonic Acid cascade,” it limits the formation of inflammatory mediators; for this reason, it is also anti-platelet aggregation ( it thins the blood with an antithrombotic effect);-
- Stimulating the circulation (mainly peripheral)A practical use of Ginger to relieve chilblains on the feet is to add it to the water of the foot baths;
- Diaphoretic (stimulates sweating) can, therefore, be an adjuvant to lower body temperature in case of fever (together with its mild antipyretic activity);
- Antimicrobials are helpful in the gastrointestinal tract against the proliferation of putrefactive germs that cause meteorism.
The Possible Adverse Effects Of Excessive Use Of Ginger
Excessive use can cause effects contrary to the therapeutic ones, with the appearance of diarrhea and excessive flatulence, but above all, gastric pain or burning; an overdose can cause arrhythmias.
Contraindications To Taking Ginger
- Gastritis or gastroduodenal ulcer;
- gallstones (cholelithiasis);
- tendency to bleeding;
- pregnancy and breastfeeding (unless under medical supervision);
- under the age of 18.
Ginger can also increase the activity of drugs such as over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, anticoagulants, antidiabetics, and calcium channel blockers used to treat hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.