Zingiber Officinale, or ginger, as most of us know it, is a plant valued for it’s chunky, peculiarly shaped rhizome. The plant sprang from its native birthplace of coastal India and has since embarked on a long, adventurous journey across the world. Ginger is now a staple foodstuff on every single continent and has made its way into cosmetics, sweets, and, of course, ginger beer. Well known for its culinary uses, ginger’s understated appearance hides a myriad of other properties that make it our best friend in the medicine cabinet, as well as the pantry. Surprisingly, and despite its origin in India, Jamaica has historically been the producer of the highest quality crops – it was once the only source country for medicinal grade ginger. Quality in other regions of the world has since increased dramatically, and therefore it now grows in a variety of tropical locales. Ginger is one of the world’s ten favourite spices, but beyond cooking, your spice cabinet houses a medical marvel. With a pharmacy’s worth of organic compounds contributing to its taste and aroma, it’s well worth exploring the therapeutic scope ginger has to offer.
1. Antiemetic – Helps Prevent Nausea and Vomiting
There’s a long tradition of pregnant women suffering from morning sickness taking ginger, usually in the form of an infusion, to alleviate symptoms. It is noted, however, that although ginger is the best known reliever of sickness due to pregnancy, it is also said to have abortive effects if taken in excess and should be used with caution. It’s antiemetic power, however, also extends to other types of nausea and sickness of the stomach. Both UK and Denmark hospitals have conducted studies looking into ginger’s ability to ease such conditions and have found it to be useful in postoperative situations, as well as for motion sickness, by promoting gastrointestinal circulation.