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Health Benefits of Ginger

Health Benefits of Ginger

There are many reasons to love the pungent aroma and great taste of ginger, but there is increasing evidence that ginger provides strong health benefits as well as great taste. Ginger has a long tradition of use in traditional medicine, and cultures around the world have long used ginger as a healing compound as well as a cooking ingredient.

For many hundreds or even thousands of years, the spice we know as ginger has had great significance to the practitioners of Chinese, Japanese and Indian medicine. The nausea reduction effects of ginger have long been known, and some recent studies suggest that ginger can be effective against the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatments.

Ginger is also thought to be good for the circulation, and many ginger enthusiasts have used it for that purpose. Ginger is thought to aid circulation and help the body sweat, and this can be an important factor in fighting colds and flu. Ginger is even being studied as a possible way to reduce the incidence of heart disease. It is not certain whether these possible heart benefits are a result of the increased circulation produced by ginger, or if there is some other mechanism at work.

Ginger has a great many uses in traditional folk medicine, and there is much anecdotal evidence of its reported health effects. Those health benefits are the subject of much ongoing research, and many clinical studies are currently underway into the many health benefits of ginger.

Many frequent travelers swear by the effectiveness of ginger at preventing motion sickness, and some studies have suggested that it is just as effective as Dramamine and other common drugs used to treat motion sickness. While these effects are still being studied, it can't hurt to add some ginger to the meal you eat before hopping on that plane or boat.

Most major supermarket chains carry fresh ginger root, and if they do not chances are the local organic grocery store or health food store does carry this herb. When choosing ginger, it is important to choose those roots that are firm, and that have a distinct aroma. The more strong the odor of the ginger in the store, the more aromatic it will be in your recipes.

If you need ideas on how to use ginger in your recipes, be sure to check out recipes used in traditional Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. These cultures have made extensive use of ginger for many centuries, and there are some excellent recipes using ginger in combination with lamb, beef and even tofu.

Ground ginger can be quite a valuable substitute when fresh ginger root is not available, but fresh ginger is always preferred, both for its greater health benefits and for its superior taste. Fortunately, in most parts of the country fresh ginger root is available year round, so finding it should not be a problem for most shoppers. Ginger may be an ingredient that is unfamiliar to many, but it definitely pays to get to know this great herb.

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