A Little History
Feeling cold on a chilly day and need something to warm you up? Look no further than ginger! Its warming properties have been used for thousands of years!
Ginger has been a major medicinal plant for over 5000 years. It’s been used to treat many problems, from pain relief to nausea, seasickness to infection, and sexual dysfunction to scurvy.
Today, many of its ancient and traditional folk remedies have found their way into modern medicine!
Ginger, is a member of the family Zingiberaceae, which includes cardamom and turmeric. It was one of the most highly prized spices traded along the Silk Road which connected the Asian Continent with India and as far west as Europe.
In folk medicine, ginger has a long and fabled history. It was commonly prescribed as an aphrodisiac, as well as for the treatment of any number of intestinal and digestive issues including constipation, and was dispensed to relieve colic. Ginger was used to reduce inflammation and to assist with neurological and nervous system problems. It was commonly utilized to treat infections such as colds and flu, and to bring heat to the body.
Ginger is believed to have originated in China and spread quickly to India and Africa, from where it made its way to the ancient Romans and Europeans and on to Jamaica. At one time Jamaica was the leading producer of ginger.
Amazing Nutritional Benefits
Today we understand a lot more about the power of this wonderful spice, and why it held such high esteem in the ancient world not only for its fantastic flavor, but also for its medicinal properties.
Exceedingly low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals as well as phytochemicals such as gingerol, ginger provides fiber, high amounts of manganese and magnesium, and good amounts of phosphorus, calcium, iron, potassium and zinc. Ginger is also a rich source of B-complex compounds, vitamins C and E. Its vitamin C content is the reason ancient voyagers carried this spice with them, to avoid scurvy!
Latest Exciting Research
Gingerol has been shown to be toxic to certain cancer lines in laboratory studies, in particular lung cancer, cancers of the blood system, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and tumors of the pancreas, bowel and ovaries.
Studies have also demonstrated that gingerol acts as a potent anti-inflammatory in fighting the effects of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
It is also shown to fight bowel cancer according to scientists at the University of Minnesota’s Hormel Institute!
Ginger also contains shogaols, which have been shown in studies to reduce inflammation, and have anti-diabetic and anti-cancerous properties as well.
For these reasons, ginger is an awesome addition to your juices and smoothies. Just as little as a ‘thumb-sized’ portion could not only warm you up on a chilly day, but also protect you from infection, inflammation and pain!
Now let’s look at my favorite juice and smoothie recipe with ginger.
I love adding a few greens to ll my juice and smoothie recipes for their incredible nutritional boost!
As a smoothie I also add nuts, protein powder and flaxseeds.