Natural Health Remedies – Ginger

ginger

Ginger Root has been used for centuries to treat digestive problems, morning sickness, common cold and nausea. Ginger Tea is the most common treatment.

Ginger has a long tradition of use in healing which began in the Orient then moved to Europe and the Middle East. It was brought to North America by early explorers. Modern clinical trials have shown ginger to be effective in the treatment of many forms of nausea and as a digestive aid.  Ginger has also been used for centuries as a cold remedy.

Nausea Treatment with Ginger

The use of ginger to treat nausea is common among herbal practitioners. Ginger can be used effectively to treat the nausea of pregnancy. Ginger Tea is most commonly used although ginger snap cookies can also help to quell the nausea of morning sickness.

For ginger tea one quarter to one half teaspoon should be steeped in one cup of boiling water 1 to 3 times a day depending on the requirement. Honey may be added to the tea if desired.

Ginger is commonly used to treat the nausea of:

  • Morning Sickness
  • Motion Sickness
  • Chemotherapy
  • Anaesthesia

An English study found ginger root more effective than placebo or dramamine in preventing motion sickness. Some practitioners believe that for effective use of ginger in the treatment of motion sickness the ginger must be ingested for a number of days prior to travel. The most common understanding is that the ginger should be taken at least 4 hours prior to travel.

Studies are currently being done on the use of ginger to relieve the nausea of anaesthesia.

The benefits of ginger for use in nausea stem from it’s anti-emetic action. Although the mechanism for this action is not understood it is thought that ginger acts in a general way on the gastrointestinal system. 

For a more in depth report on the use of ginger in the treatment of nausea stemming from chemo therapy please see the Suite101 article by Victoria Anisman-Reiner entitled Ginger Relieves Chemo Nausea, Study Shows

Common Cold and Ginger

Two important actions of ginger in regard to the common cold are its actions as a diaphoretic and an expectorant.  Both are valuable in the following ways.

As a diaphoretic, ginger increases perspiration and allows the cleansing removal of toxic waste from the body.  As with peppermint ginger may be used to “sweat” the cold out of the system.  By drinking 3 to 4 cups of ginger tea per day during a cold the body increases its ability to excrete toxins.  Ginger tea has been used as a traditional folk remedy for cold symptoms in India and remains in use today by modern herbal practitioners around the globe.

The expectorant qualities of ginger are extremely valuable in relieving cold symptoms.  By increasing the bronchial mucous secretions and promoting their expulsion, ginger allows toxic wastes to be cleansed from the body.

Given the stomach calming and digestive aid qualities of ginger along with its diaphoretic and expectorant actions it is clear that it makes a comforting remedy for cold symptoms.  However, when increasing the level of perspiration in the body it is counterproductive for the body to become chilled and caution should be used to make sure that the cold sufferer stays warm.


For ginger tea to treat cold symptoms steep 1/2 to 1 teaspoon in 1 cup of boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes.  The tea should be steeped in a container with a lid to retain all volatile oils.

Ginger relieves gas aids digestion, relieves nausea and relieves symptoms of the common cold.  It is easy to understand why ginger has held a respected place in natural medicine throughout the ages

References:

Bartram Thomas FNIMH, Bartrams Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Marlowe & Company New York

Boon Heather BScPhm, PhD and Smith Michael BPharm, MRPharmS,ND, The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to the 50 Most Common Medicinal Herbs, Robert Rose Inc. Toronto Ontario

White Linda B M.D, Foster Steven and staff of Herbs for Health, The Herbal Drugstore, Rodale distributed to the book trade by St Martin’s Press