Ginger Root Background and Benefits
Ginger is the common name for Zingiber officinale, a flowering plant in the Zingiberaceae family. Other plants in this family include cardamom, galangal and turmeric. Plants in the Asarum genus are commonly called wild ginger due to their taste, although they aren’t closely related to true ginger. Ginger originated from south China, although it also grows wild in other parts of Asia, West Africa and the Caribbean. India is currently the world’s largest commercial producer of ginger.
Ginger is a perennial plant, although it grows new stems each year that can exceed a height of three feet. Its flower buds are pink and white, which bloom into yellow flowers bloom in the spring. Ginger is also easy to propagate, making it a popular landscaping plant in subtropical climates.
The rhizome of the ginger plant is commonly known as ginger root, although this term isn’t botanically accurate. It is the most commercially valuable part of the plant, which is commonly used in cooking and herbal medicine. Most of the rhizomes are harvested after the stalk withers in the fall. They are then washed with hot water and scraped to prevent them from sprouting during storage. Ginger root contains many active components, including gingerols, shogaols and zingerone.
Uses of Ginger Root
The uses of ginger root as a health supplement typically involve the digestive system. Additional uses of ginger include the management of nausea, discomfort and help support healthy inflammation management.
Healthy inflammation management
Ginger extract may help to support healthy inflammation management.
Ginger contains phenols that may support digestive health. These benefits typically consist of supporting the production of secretions such as bile and saliva. Ginger may also help to manage gastric irritation and contractions.
Oral supplements of ginger extract may help to manage the nausea and vomiting of morning sickness in pregnant women.
Ginger supplements may help to manage discomfort, including muscle discomfort due to exercise and menstrual cramps.
Signs You May Need Ginger Root
Digestive problems are some of the most common signs you may need ginger root extract. These signs include gastrointestinal (GI) irritation and difficulty with moving food through the GI tract. Pregnant women with morning sickness may also benefit from ginger. You may also need ginger root if you have severe menstrual cramps and sore muscles from exercise. Unhealthy inflammatory conditions are additional signs that you may want to take ginger root.