Earlier this year, I had a day where I experienced a sore throat and sinus irritation. I didn’t reach for a box of any over-the-counter remedy, instead I juiced a fair amount of ginger and lemon and added it to a tea. I was very satisfied with the relief I felt. My experience was nothing new; ginger, or ginger root, has been cultivated and used therapeutically for thousands of years. Traditional medicine systems all over the world have applied it to a wide range of ailments, including calming an upset stomach. Recent studies of ginger have confirmed this effect and much more…
1. Helps Calm Nausea and Vomiting
Clinical studies have proven ginger’s effectiveness at calming nausea and vomiting.  Research has also confirmed its potential against chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). The majority of studies found a positive effect against this side effect of aggressive therapies.  Ginger may be a powerful option for those suffering from toxic medical procedures like these.
2. Digestive Tract Protection
Ginger has also been historically used for flatulence, constipation, bloating, and other digestive complaints. In addition to these gastro-protective effects, researchers have found ginger to be effective for stress related ulcers. 
3. Brain Health
Ginger contains compounds that have demonstrated protective effects for the brain. One of them, known as 6-Shogaol, inhibited the release and expression of redness-causing chemicals known to cause damage to neurons in both in vitro and in vivo models.  The other, 10-gingerol, when sourced from fresh ginger, similarly impacted production of nitric oxide and other chemicals that lead to redness and swelling in the brain. 
4. Migraine Relief
In a clinical trial, 100 patients received ginger powder or a drug given to migraine sufferers. The results showed the ginger powder helped reduce migraine related discomfort… without side effects. 
5. Protection from UV Rays
Research data has shown ginger possesses UV absorbing capabilities that protect against DNA damage related to UVB (ultraviolet-B) light. Extracts from ginger stimulated antioxidant production, suggesting protective effects against potentially damaging UV light. 
6. Supports Stable Blood Sugar
Ginger has repeatedly demonstrated powerful blood sugar balancing effects. It acts on insulin release and sensitivity, and supports the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids.  In one study, insulin levels noticeably lowered with ginger supplementation.  In addition to its effectiveness as a blood sugar stabilizer, ginger has also demonstrated powerful protective effects against diabetic kidney, eye and liver complications.
7. Promotes Healthy Blood Pressure
Thai medical practitioners have traditionally used herbs such as ginger to support healthy blood pressure. Extracts from ginger and other herbs used in Thai therapeutic recipes were evaluated for their effectiveness against hypertension. The ginger extract was the most effective. 
8. May Benefit Osteoarthritis
A recent in vitro study tested ginger against drugs used for osteoarthritis — the ginger extract was demonstrated to be as effective.  Another study involving 43 osteoarthritis patients found ginger to be as effective and more safe than the NSAIDs. 
9. Helps with Muscle Aches and Discomfort
A recent 2013 study has evaluated ginger for use in relieving muscle discomfort in female athletes. Over the course of this 6-week trial, participants taking ginger reported a significant decrease in muscle soreness as compared to the placebo. 
10. May Benefit Cardiovascular Function
One of the active compounds in ginger, 6-gingerol, has been isolated, tested and determined an active factor in regulating blood pressure and supporting cardiovascular health. Based on the results, researchers are exploring the potentials of ginger as a remedy for cardiovascular problems. 
Ginger has an extremely robust flavor which makes consuming it a little bit tricky. It might be too strong to ingest on its own, but as I mentioned, it mixes incredibly well into tea or juice, it can also be a great ingredient in a recipe. What’s your favorite way to consume it? Please leave a comment below and share with us!
– Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
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