Ginger is an herb taken from the rhizome of the Zingiber officinale plant. It’s commonly used in many cultures as a spice and an herbal medicine but is thought to have originated in Southeast Asia. Ginger is often used in Ayurvedic therapy and other natural remedies, for treatment of things such as nausea, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, menstrual cramps, bloating, painful gas, stomach cramps, heartburn, indigestion, loss of appetite and more.
Ginger can boost circulation, lower high blood pressure and reduce blood sugar levels. It contains a wide array of essential vitamins and minerals, like dietary fiber, protein, calcium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate, niacin and riboflavin. Ginger also contains polyphenols like caffeic acid and gingerol. Gingerol is the main active ingredient in ginger, and is the source for its unique taste and scent.
Gingerol has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which makes ginger an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis pain and swelling. One study found that ginger had a positive result on the reduction of osteoarthritis pain in the knee, while another study found that a combination of cinnamon, ginger, mastic and sesame oil could decrease pain and stiffness when applied topically to the affected areas.
Ginger is an antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-viral, detoxifying, warming spice that can be used in many different ways. It can be ingested raw, or in the form of powder or oil, and even taken in supplement form. Brew raw, fresh ginger in hot water to make a soothing tea, or chew slices of ginger each day. You can also apply ginger oil to the affected area and massage it in, then allow it to soak into the skin for a further 10 minutes.