A member of Team Costhetics was having a little gastric distress the other day and reached for a bottle of Cascade Dry.
We all shared stories about dad, mum, an aunt, uncle or other relative giving us a tummy-soothing class of ginger ale. No one seemed to know why they were given the spicy yellow elixir, but everyone agreed that it worked.
Costhetics is Australia’s leading resource for information on cosmetic surgery, plastic surgery, aesthetic enhancement, and healthy beauty. We were surprised to learn that this lovely flowering plant from China has a long history in various forms of alternative medicine, but in traditional medicine, too. These facts got us hungry for more information about ginger. Was it only good for a stomach upset or were there other reasons to love it?
It turns out there probably are 101+ health benefits provided by the snappy little ginger root, but today we’re going to focus on some of our favourites…
We are Family
Ginger comes from a good family. The Zingiberaceae family (ginger plant) and is rich in gingerol. The Family Z plants are closely related to turmeric and cardamom plants, both of which are known for their health benefits, too. These aromatic herbs grow in moist areas of the tropics and subtropics, including some regions that are seasonably dry.
Ginger may not be right for everyone. People who suffer from gallstones, gastric ulcers or reflux should speak to their doctors before diving into the ginger pool. According to ABC Health’s natural health guide, ginger is considered well tolerated, but side effects can include
- Gastric Irritation
Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger. Gingerol is responsible for much of ginger’s medicinal properties including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. No wonder ginger is having its day in the sun as a health and beauty aid.
5 Ways Ginger Can Make You Beautiful
Ginger is one of Mother Nature’s most fabulous beauty creations. Here’s why…
- Ginger Helps Fade Scars – In a study titled Skin Ageing: Natural Weapons and Strategies, researchers found that ginger’s toning and antioxidant properties help reduce the appearance of hypo-pigmented (white/light) scars. Many people simply put slices of ginger on the affected areas. In some cases, however, when ginger is applied directly to the skin it may cause irritation. Costhetics recommends that you speak to your dermatologist or skin care expert before using ginger in this way.
- Ginger Makes Skin Glow – Ginger helps prevent free radical damage, a key contributor to ageing skin. It can also help improve skin tone and elasticity. Beyond that, “Ginger has been revered as an anti-aging ingredient in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for thousands of years,” reports Readers Digest. The antioxidants present in ginger
- Increase collagen production
- Reduce skin damage
- Reduce inflammation
- Ginger Makes Your Scalp Hair-Friendly – Ginger is good for circulation, bringing blood to the scalp and stimulating hair growth. Ginger is also filled with a variety of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that help strengthen strands and combat hair loss.
- Ginger Makes Your Scalp Dandruff-Unfriendly – Ginger’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties soothe an irritated scalp while clearly away loose flakes. Massage ginger oil or a mixture of two parts freshly grated ginger and three parts olive or sesame oil onto your scalp, and let it set for 15 to 25 minutes. Do this on a twice-weekly basis, and you’ll be dandruff-free.
- Ginger Is a Cellulite-Buster – Unsightly, unwelcome cellulite is an accumulation of fat deposits under the skin. It is especially troubling for women who, according to research, are 98% likely to suffer from it at some time in their lives. If you’ve got skin dimples anywhere other than your cheeks, try this body scrub: 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger, and the zest of one lemon.
8 More Reasons to Love Ginger
What ginger can do to help your outward appearance is truly amazing. What it can do on the inside is even more exciting:
- Keep You From Tossing Your Cookies Due to Illness, Pregnancy & Chemo – Ginger is effective as an antiemetic—something that soothes nausea. Ginger consumption has been examined in pregnancy and Parents Magazine reports that it is effective in preventing morning sickness. A little dab will do you: one to one-and-a-half grams of fresh ginger is all it takes.
- Takes the Bite out of Arthritis – Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that cannot be cured. This is problematic as the long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause havoc with your stomach and organs. According to a study conducted by The Arthritis Foundation, a highly concentrated ginger extract reduced pain and stiffness in participants’ knee joints by 40% more than the placebo.
- Get Rid of Bloat – When you overeat or feel gassy after a meal, sip ginger tea to help reduce some of your gastrointestinal pain. Ginger can help reduce bloating and gas by calming the intestines and dispelling gas that’s trapped in there and adding to your discomfort.
- Keeps Your Blood Sugar Less Sugar-y – Prevention Magazine reported on a 2012 study that looked at the relationship between blood sugar and ginger. Participants who took ginger reduced their levels of fasting blood sugar and haemoglobin A1c. This suggests that taking a ginger supplement may help relieve some of the chronic complications of type 2 diabetes.
Wait! There’s more. Ginger can also
- Soothe migraine headaches
- Reduce PMS symptoms
- Ease post-workout pain
- Lower cholesterol
Eat Your Ginger Every Day: Tasty Recipe
Ginger can be used fresh, dried, powdered, or as an oil or juice. With this recipe, you can enjoy ginger all day long whenever you might normally grab a cup of coffee or tea.
- 2-1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 organic lemon, sliced
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons honey (optional)
- Bring the water to a boil
- Remove water from heat and add the lemon, ginger and turmeric
- Steep for 30 minutes.
- Strain and enjoy
The tea may be reheated, just be careful not to let it boil.
There’s a lot more to know about ginger. It’s been used by cultures around the world for thousands of years and people use it as a food, a medicine, and even as an aphrodisiac! Needless to say, some of the members of Team Costhetics are particularly hot to do research on this last item. We’ll keep you in the loop when we know more.