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The Medicinal Properties of Ginger

This member of the Zingiberaceae family originated in Southeast Asia.  Ginger grows best in tropical and sub tropical areas, which have good rainfall with hot and humid conditions during the summer season.   It can be found in the wild in many islands of the Caribbean, where it flourishes spontaneously. The main producer of the world is Jamaica. Other producing countries are: India and China.

The rhizome or "root" is the part of the plant that is harvested and is found entirely under the surface of the soil. The vast majority of the harvested ginger is consumed fresh or in dehydrated form, while some commercial ginger is sugar preserved.

Belief in the medicinal properties of ginger existed in ancient Indian and oriental cultures where ginger was used alone or as a component in herbal remedies. This practice continues today in many areas of the world, including Africa, Brazil, China, Fiji, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Sudan and Thailand. Ginger was introduced to Europe and other areas by Dutch, Portuguese, Arab and Spanish explorers or traders from around the 13th to 16th centuries.

In recent times there has been scientific research undertaken to test out the validity of the medicinal claims made about ginger. A study of the research shows that there have been some exciting results with respect to the medicinal properties of ginger including, control of nausea and vomiting, prevention of coronary artery disease, healing and prevention of both arthritic conditions and stomach ulcers. In addition, ginger has been shown to be effective against tumor growth, rheumatism, migraine and is active as an antioxidant in the body.

Traditionally ginger has been used to treat intestinal / digestive affections, especially related with digestive problems. It seems that, ginger is able to increase the production of enzymes that aid the digestion of proteins. Equally its antibacterial and anti fungal powers are effective against preventing numerous intestinal problems that take place as a result of the alteration of the intestinal flora.


Ginger constitutes a good resource for some circulatory diseases because it assists in blood circulation. It helps to dissolve blood clots in the arteries and diminish the levels of cholesterol. By making blood more fluid it can help to prevent vascular accidents.


Again due to its antibacterial, anti viral, and anti fungal properties , ginger constitutes a valuable ally for the respiratory tract since it helps to prevent some of the illnesses that affect it, such as the common cold, sore throats and laryngitis.


Ginger has been shown to inhibit the production of prostaglandins which are responsible for producing inflammation, therefore ginger is being used externally to mitigate pain and swelling produced in arthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders.  It is also helpful in calming toothaches, as well as producing fresh breath at the same time.


In the kitchen: The common ginger is broadly used in the kitchen as a spice. It presents different forms that go from their fresh variety to the caramelized one. Some other varieties are the dry on and the powdered. Its got a strong and piercing flavour, lightly sweet. It provides a very original touch to the foods to those it adds its medicinal properties.


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