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Health WatchA spicy route to good health.

Ginger has been used as a natural remedy for many ailments for centuries. Apart from flavoring your morning cup of tea, ginger works wonders to treat a whole lot of illnesses. Ginger works wonders in the treatment of everything from cancer to migrain. Ginger has been an inseparable part of human lives owing to its aroma, flavor and medicinal attributes. Ginger is widely used all over the world because its numerous health benefits. Ginger has been cultivated since the early days of civilization and is widely used in a variety of culinary preparations all over the world. Ginger is aromatic, pungent and spicy; it adds a special flavor and zest to Asian stir fries and many fruit and vegetable dishes. Fresh ginger root is available year round in the local market. Apart from being used for cooking, the benefits of ginger also include serving as an important ingredient in many of the cures related to alternative medicines like Ayurveda, Naturopathy, aroma therapy and herbal therapy, getting to the health benefits of ginger. It is considered to be a universal remedy which could be present at home at all times. The health benefits of ginger are listed below: Ginger has enjoyed the status of being the traditional medicine for the treatment of cough, cold and congestion in the fields of ayurveda and naturopathy. The medical form of ginger, popularly known as 'Jamaica Ginger', is used for treating dyspepsia and colic diseases and is especially recommended to people who suffer from gall stones. This is due to the fact that the intake of this herb triggers the release of bile from the gall bladder and thus causes the problem to heal over a period of time. The pungent constituents of ginger namely shogaols and gingerols are believed effective in controlling vomiting and nausea because of their ability to control the movements of the gastrointestinal tract, a great health benefit of ginger for many people. Ginger root and ginger oil is often used for stomach upsets. It is one of the best remedies for indigestion, stomach ache, dyspepsia, colic, spasms, diarrhea, flatulence and other stomach and bowel related problems. Ginger or ginger oil is often added in numerous food preparations, especially in India, as it helps in improving digestion. Ginger tea is also used for relieving stomach problems. Further, it increases the appetite of a person. Ginger is antiseptic and carminative. As a result, it can be used for treating food poisoning. It is also used for treating intestinal infections and bacterial dysentery. It is strongly believed in China that ginger boosts and strengthens the heart. Many people use ginger oil as a measure to prevent as well as cure heart diseases. Preliminary research has indicated that ginger may be helpful in reduction of cholesterol levels and prevention of blood clotting. With reduced cholesterol levels and blood clotting the chances of blockage of blood vessels decrease thereby reducing incidences of heart attacks. It can be taken by people who have diabetes and also by those who suffer from heart problems because it is believed to have the health benefit of lowering the cholesterol content of the blood. Ginger has been used by pregnant women to ward off the morning sickness. Some people believe it can be used in the treatment of external wounds and snake bites as well as for internal disorders like ovarian and colon cancers. Fresh ginger juice if applied to minor burns as well as skin irritations provides immediate relief. Ginger oil is used in spas and saloons for a perceived refreshing effect on one's mind and a potential ability to reduce arthritic pain. Extract of ginger is often used in traditional medicine to reduce inflammation. Research has now proved that its anti-inflammatory properties can be attributed to the presence of the substance named Zingibain. A new study has suggested that daily doses of raw or heat-treated ginger are effective for relieving muscle pain following strenuous exercise. It is analgesic in nature and reduces pain caused by muscle aches, arthritis, rheumatisms, headache, migraine, etc. Ginger oil or paste of ginger is often massaged on aching muscles to remove muscle strain. It is further believed that regular use of ginger leads to reduction of prostaglandins which are the compounds associated with pain. Hence ginger helps in pain relief. Ginger can also be used for reducing toothache and the discomfort which arises due to the infection in the upper respiratory tract due to its antibacterial and antifungal nature. Since ginger root and ginger oil is a good expectorant, it is effective in various respiratory problems such as cold, cough, flu, asthma, bronchitis and breathlessness. Ginger is very effective in removing mucus from the throats and lungs and hence it is often added with tea in India. The health benefit of honey and ginger in treating respiratory problems is well known. Ginger is added as a ginger seasoning or flavoring agent in a number of recipes and food stuffs which vary according to the region in which they are prepared. Ginger may be powerful weapon in the treatment of ovarian cancer. A study conducted at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that ginger powder induces cell death in all ovarian cancer cells to which it was applied. Ginger oil, being an essential oil is stimulating and therefore relives depression, mental stress, exhaustion, dizziness, restlessness and anxiety. Ginger is useful for hair care as well. Usage of the juice of ginger is useful in controlling dandruff. Some of the most common ways of having ginger include using it as a flavoring for a variety of culinary preparations, as an essential component of ginger cake, gingerbread and ginger biscuits, in ginger tea, and gingerbread cookies and for the preparation of ginger ale and ginger beer and as a spice which can be added to tea. A word of caution! Ginger should be avoided in the first trimester of pregnancy; and also in those who are awaiting surgery.

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Publication:Yemen Times (Sana'a, Yemen)
Date:Oct 25, 2010
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