(Health Secrets) Ginger is a happy, warming herb that stirs up memories of family holidays, gingerbread cookies, and pumpkin pies. It is an ancient spice used worldwide, that we are recognizing as one of the most versatile healers on earth.
Ginger is known to:
- Boost bone health
- Eliminate arthritis symptoms
- Strengthen the immune system
- Prevent various types of cancer
- Improve respiratory conditions
- Alleviate cold and flu symptoms
- Increase appetite
- Aid digestion
- Treat nausea
- Reduce flatulence
- Enhance libido
- Relieve menstrual pain
Although ginger, botanically known as Zingiber Officinale, is inaccurately referred to as a root, it is actually the rhizome that is used. It is an essential oil and is one of the oldest herbals. An Armenian monk brought gingerbread to Europe, in the year 992. Early reference logs from Vadstena Abbey record that Swedish nuns were baking gingerbread to ease indigestion in 1440. Queen Elizabeth I of England created the idea of the gingerbread man in the 16th century. The first gingerbread men were revealed at a royal ball where several were made to resemble respected guests.
Documenting the benefits of ginger
There are over 400 active ingredients in this herb, including ascorbic acid, caffeic acid, capsaicin, beta-sitosterol, beta-carotene, curcumin, lecithin, limonene, selenium and tryptophan. The synergy of these ingredients contributes to the therapeutic power and versatility of the herb.
Bone health: A University of Miami study, conducted with several hundred patients from different backgrounds and ages, demonstrated improvement in osteoarthritis with ginger.
Ovarian cancer treatment: A University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found this herb to be a powerful weapon in the treatment of ovarian cancer. Ginger powder induced cell death in all of the ovarian cancer cells to which it was applied.
Colon cancer: A University of Minnesota study found the herb may slow the growth of colorectal cancer cells.
Diabetic nephropathy (kidney damage): A study of diabetic rats found ginger reduced incidence of kidney damage.
Morning sickness: A review of several studies has concluded that the herb is just as effective as vitamin B6 in the treatment of morning sickness.
Motion sickness remedy: Studies have demonstrated it is an effective remedy for nausea associated with motion sickness.
Reduces pain and inflammation: The anti-inflammatory and powerful natural painkiller properties of this herb have been demonstrated in several studies.
Migraine relief: Migraine research has shown that this herb has the ability to stop prostaglandins which cause pain and inflammation in blood vessels.
Menstrual cramp relief: Ginger tea with brown sugar has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for menstrual cramps.
Double the benefits by adding turmeric
Add turmeric to ginger tea, and benefit from the healing benefits of both herbs. Ginger is anti-inflammatory and anti-viral, and turmeric has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral properties. This combination tea is very effective for food poisoning or a stomach virus.
Gingerbread men cookies recipe
Use organic ingredients whenever possible. Recipe makes two dozen cookies.
3 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl.
Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add molasses, egg and vanilla, and mix well.
Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed.
Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface.
Cut into gingerbread men shapes with 5-inch cookie cutter.
Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown.
Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove to wire racks; cool completely.
Decorate cooled cookies as desired.
Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days.
Ginger and Turmeric Tea Recipe
4 cups water
1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 tablespoon ground turmeric
lemon and/or honey (optional)
Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and add turmeric and ginger. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Strain into a mug using a mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
Add honey and/or lemon to taste.
How to get the best from this healing herb
Many of us have dried ginger in our pantry, but to take full advantage of its healing properties try cooking with fresh ginger. First remove the skin from the rhizome using a paring knife or peeler. Try blending fresh ginger root into fruit smoothies or vegetable combinations. Add freshly minced ginger as a finishing touch to sautéed and stir-fried dishes, or for a subtle flavor, add ginger at the beginning of cooking.
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