— By Ayan.
Ginger, the herb that Ayurveda loves and one that has perhaps the oldest tradition in the West.
Zingiber officinale, the official name of the common ginger was coined by the famous eighteenth-century Swedish botanist and general naturalist, Carl Linnaeus. While Latinizing the name, Carl Linnaeus also derived the name Zingiber for the generic term, using the Indian Sanskrit name for ginger – singabera, or shaped like a horn.
Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) has a very long history in both China and India for its medicinal properties, in both: the fresh and the dried root forms. Known popularly as a garnish in western culture, this root possess tremendous health promoting properties , so let’s explore them in more detail.
Ginger is an herb that grows all the year-round and has irregularly shaped underground roots that are shiny and juicy when cut. It is this root that has the characteristic aroma and has the medicinal properties in the fresh and dried forms. In fact, Ginger has uses for so many illnesses that it is best to break the benefits down to the actions on individual organ systems.
Ginger is used for:
Nausea and vomiting following surgery
Starting with the Digestive System, Ginger has been known to stimulate digestion and improve the tone of the intestinal tract, which can ease the process of digestion itself and lead to less overall irritation. Additionally, Ginger is a protective agent for the stomach against the damage caused by both non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and alcohol. These findings indicate ginger do have a role in the prevention of gastric ulcers as well.
Shredded fresh Ginger is frequently mixed with lemon juice and honey in Ayurvedic Medicine to reduce both nausea and vomiting.
The Musculoskeletal System uses for ginger are primarily focused on its anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger is known to inhibit the production of cytokines, which are chemicals that modulate the immune response and promote inflammation. Therefore, Ginger is used to treat disorders such as Arthritis, Bursitis other pain syndromes where inflammation is a culprit. Ginger has also been known to enhance circulation, thereby improving its efficacy for treating pain disorders. These characteristics of ginger, along with its side effects free character compared to pharmaceutical medications , give the root a niche in treating inflammation and pain.
We believe that the body accumulates toxins which then lead to infection. The term used in Ayurveda for these toxins is ‘ama’, and ama must be ‘digested’ by the immune system to rid the body of dis-ease. Ginger is used in this role of digesting infectious agents and has been effective in treating Sinusitis, Bronchitis and Allergic Rhinitis for thousands of years. These disease processes are similar in that the accumulation of bodily secretions causes symptoms. This is where the use of dried or fresh ginger in herbal teas can provide a defense against respiratory problems. Also, when taken during the course of viral illnesses such as Influenza, herbal teas with Ginger can induce sweating and fever reduction.
Let us get to know our well wisher friend ‘Ginger’ a little more and allow it to keep us healthy,wealthy, happy and wise!!!
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