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  • Writer's pictureStephanie

Ginger, A Zesty Spice, Pain Reliever, & Stomach Soother

Updated: Apr 2

Botanical Name: Zingiber Officinale

Member Of The: Zingiberaceae Family

Herbal Actions: Anti-Inflammatory, Antioxidant, Carminative, Diaphoretic, Expectorant

How To Identify: Cone-Shaped Clusters Of Small Flowers That Vary In Color From Yellow To Pink To Red, Long, Green, Lance-Shaped Leaves, & Knobby, Pale Yellow Rhizome

Internal Body Benefits: Anti-Inflammatory, Aids Digestion, & Helps Relieve Nausea, Heartburn, Upset Stomach, Gas, Bloating, Diarrhea, Headaches & Painful Menstrual Cramps

External Body Benefits: Can Soothe Irritated Skin, Improve Overall Skin & Scalp Health, Promote Hair Growth, Provide Pain Relief, & Promote Wound Healing

When To Use: When You’re Looking To Ease Nausea, Gastrointestinal Distress, Digestive Discomfort, Headaches, Or Menstrual Cramps, Or You Would Like To Stimulate Hair Growth, Soothe Your Skin, Or Encourage A Wound To Heal

Ginger has been used for its fantastic flavor and as an herbal remedy for thousands of years. In fact, the first recorded use of ginger was found in ancient Chinese herbal texts from around 2,000 B.C.E! Its culinary and medicinal uses span many cultures and civilizations all around the world.

Today, ginger continues to be highly valued and its health benefits are supported by scientific research. 

While it’s commonly called “ginger root,”  the part of the ginger plant that is harvested for both its zesty flavor and medicinal effects isn’t actually a “root” at all. It’s actually a fleshy “rhizome,” or an underground stem that grows horizontally. 

Where Does Ginger Grow?

The ginger plant is native to Southeast Asia. But it is now cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions all around the world. This makes sense since ginger thrives in warm, humid climates, and favors well-drained soil.

Ginger is commonly cultivated in: India, China, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Jamaica.

(India is the largest producer of ginger.)

Ginger can be cultivated in the United States, but it has the best chance of thriving in Hawaii, and Florida, along with other Southern States.

How To Identify The Ginger Plant?

The part of the ginger plant you’re most likely to recognize is its rhizome, which is a stem that grows horizontally underground. Its rhizome is the part of the ginger plant that is harvested for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It’s thick, knobby and ranges in color from pale yellow to light brown.

Above ground, the ginger plant features reed-like stems that can grow two to four feet tall. The stems have alternating, long, narrow, lance-shaped green leaves with a smooth texture. 

The ginger plant also produces cone-shaped flower spikes that emerge from the base of the plant's stems. These flower spikes are composed of small individual flowers that range in color from pale yellow to vibrant shades of orange or red. Ginger flowers emit an aromatic fragrance that is reminiscent of the plant's rhizome.

What Does Ginger Do For The Body?

The ginger plant contains bioactive compounds, including gingerol (which is what gives ginger its spicy flavor) and shogaol, that have potent anti-inflammatory effects. 

These compounds can help reduce inflammation in your body, reduce blood pressure, and enhance blood circulation.

Because of its anti-inflammatory effects, ginger can help ease pain and stiffness in joints and muscles, and help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. It can also support the immune system and enhance overall immune function. 

Plus, the combination of ginger’s anti-inflammatory, and muscle-relaxing effects, plus its pain relieving properties, can help ease menstrual cramps.

Ginger has a warming effect on the body and can help improve circulation. By promoting blood flow, ginger can aid in relieving cold extremities, promote cardiovascular health, and support overall circulation.

Ginger can also help promote the loosening and expulsion of mucus from the respiratory tract. This expectorant action makes ginger beneficial for relieving coughs, congestion, and respiratory infections.

Ginger is also well-known for its ability to alleviate nausea and vomiting, whether it's caused by motion sickness, pregnancy, chemotherapy, etc. Plus, ginger can aid digestion, promote the expulsion of gas, stimulate saliva production, improve gastric motility, and ease indigestion, bloating, and gastrointestinal discomfort. 

Ginger also offers several external body benefits, primarily through its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties.

Some of the external benefits of ginger include:

-Improving skin health, protecting the skin from oxidative stress, and reducing signs of aging.

Additionally, ginger's anti-inflammatory properties can soothe irritated skin and may help with conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

-Promoting hair growth and improving scalp health.

-Alleviating pain associated with sore muscles, arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions.

Applying ginger oil or a ginger-infused compress to affected areas can provide relief from pain and discomfort. Soaking your feet in warm water infused with ginger can help soothe tired feet, reduce swelling, and relieve foot pain. Ginger's anti-inflammatory properties can also help alleviate symptoms of conditions like plantar fasciitis and arthritis in your feet.

-Helping prevent infection and promoting wound healing

Ginger's antimicrobial properties make it effective against certain types of bacteria. Applying ginger extract or ginger-infused ointments to minor cuts, scrapes, and burns can help speed up the healing process.

-Keeping body odor at bay

Ginger contains natural compounds that can help neutralize odors and inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria in your armpits.

Can I Drink Ginger Every Day?

Consuming ginger regularly is generally safe for most people and can provide numerous health benefits, including its anti-inflammatory, digestive, and immune-boosting properties.

***But it's essential to listen to your body and monitor your individual response. 

Who Should Avoid Ginger?

While ginger is considered safe for most people when consumed in moderate amounts, there are some people who may want to consume ginger sparingly or avoid ginger altogether. 

***Every body is different, so it’s important to be mindful of your own individualized response to herbs.

-People taking blood-thinning medications

Ginger has natural blood-thinning properties, which can potentially increase the risk of bleeding, especially when consumed in large amounts. People taking blood-thinning medications such as warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin, or other anticoagulants should consult with a trusted healthcare provider, or an herbalist before consuming ginger supplements or large quantities of ginger.

-People with gallbladder conditions

Ginger can stimulate the production of bile, which could potentially be problematic for individuals with gallbladder conditions such as gallstones or gallbladder inflammation.

-People undergoing surgery

Due to its blood-thinning properties, you may want to avoid ginger before surgery to reduce the risk of excessive bleeding. It's generally recommended to stop consuming ginger around two weeks before scheduled surgery.

***If you have underlying health conditions or concerns, it's advisable to consult with a trusted healthcare professional or herbalist before using ginger for medicinal purposes.

Final Thoughts

Ginger's long and storied history of being used for thousands of years reflects its significance as both a culinary spice and a medicinal herb. Though, it’s no surprise that ginger has been prized since ancient times, as this aromatic herb offers both a pleasing taste for the palate and a plethora of body benefits. 

Ginger will warm you up from the inside, ease digestive distress, soothe your stomach, and provide anti-inflammatory effects.  

Ginger was specifically selected as an herb included in HippyBritt’s Nutrient Dense tea blend because it was created with children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers in mind. 

Ginger is soothing and supportive for the digestive system, can help calm menstrual cramps, and ease nausea- which is a common symptom during pregnancy. Ginger also helps promote circulation, which women can also struggle with while pregnant.

Though HippyBritt created her Nutrient Dense tea blend specifically for women, the herbs included are not only beneficial for women. 

Anyone who feels like they could benefit from a nutritional boost, or digestive support could benefit from sipping on some Nutrient Dense tea.

***This herbal breakdown is for informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice.***

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