Zingiber officinale,commonly known as “ginger” or “sunthi (dried ginger)”, is a popular spice used in traditional medicines for more than 5000 years. Previously, Indians and the Chinese used it as a tonic for treating migraine, arthritis, high blood pressure, and several other conditions. Zingiber officinaleis is mostly valued for its aromatic and medicinal properties.
What is Zingiber officinale?
Zingiber officinale is a perennial, herbaceous plant that belongs to belong to the Zingiberaceae family. It originated in Southeast Asia and is widely cultivated in India, China, Nigeria, Australia, Nepal, Thailand, Maluku Islands, and several other regions.
Zingiber officinale is a tropical plant that requires a warm climate and well-drained organic soil for proper growth and development. It is a reed-like plant grown widely for its rhizome. The plant is usually 3 to 4 feet tall with long, elongated, alternately arranged leaves.
What are the benefits of Zingiber officinale?
The scientific analysis suggested that Zingiber officinale have more than 115 chemical components that are responsible for the following health benefits:
- Indigestion: The phenoilc compounds present in Zingiber officinale extract stimulates gastric enzymes and promote digestion.
- Cold and flu: The warming effect of Zingiber officinale helps in treating cold and flu.
- Menstrual pain: The chemical components present in the Zingiber officinale relieve menstrual cramps and pain.
- Alzheimer’s disease: The chemical component of Zingiber officinale prevent decline in brain function and also improves memory.
- Osteoarthritis: The chemical component gingerol present in the Zingiber officinale extracts has anti-arthritic properties. This results in the inhibition of pain and inflammation of the joints.
It is also used for cancers, bacterial infections, certain heart diseases, diabetes, dizziness, motion sickness, respiratory conditions, insect bites, irritable bowel syndrome, and several other conditions.
What are the Medicinal properties of Zingiber officinale?
The following medicinal properties of Zingiber officinale have been reported:
- Anti-cancer: Researches suggested that 6-gingerol (a chemical component) present in Zingiber officinale extracts causes the death of cancer cells.
- Anti-platelet: Studies have shown that the chemical components present in the Zingiber officinale inhibit the aggregation of platelets and prevents blood clots
- Antioxidant: Clinical trials suggest gingerol present in the Zingiber officinale inhibits the release of free radicals and prevents cell damage.
- Anti-inflammatory: According to studies, Zingiber officinale inhibits the release of certain chemicals that cause inflammation.
- Anti-bacterial: Scientific evidence suggests that Zingiber officinale have shogaol and ingenol (chemical components) that inhibits the growth of bacteria.
- Anti-emetic:Gingerols, shogaols, and galanolactone present in the Zingiber officinale extracts inhibit nausea and vomiting.
- Hypolipidemic: Zingiber officinale reduces blood cholesterol levels.
- Anti-tussive: Researches suggested that shogaol present in the Zingiber officinale extracts reduces the cough.
What are the side effects of using Zingiber officinale?
Zingiber officinale is usually safe when used as medicine in recommended doses for a specific duration. However, in some individuals, it may cause minor side effects, such as:
- Menstrual bleeding
- Stomach discomfort
- Mouth irritation
- Skin irritation when used topically
Using Zingiber officinale safely
Use Zingiber officinale with caution if you have any of the following conditions:
1. Pregnancy and breastfeeding:
- Zingiber officinale is possibly safe during pregnancy. However, the use of Zingiber officinale during pregnancy is controversial as it may interfere with the fetal sex hormone or might increase the risk of stillborn.
- Nevertheless, according to some studies Zingiber officinale is used for managing morning sickness during pregnancy. Experts suggest that Zingiber officinale may increase the risk of bleeding during pregnancy. So, its extracts should be avoided when close to the delivery date.
- Therefore, always consult a doctor about the use of Zingiber officinale during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- It improves insulin and reduces the blood sugar levels in the blood. Hence, Zingiber officinale should be used with caution in people who are taking diabetic medications.
- However, dose adjustment is necessary for people who are using Zingiber officinale in medicinal forms.
3. Bleeding disorders:
- Zingiber officinale is known to increase the risk of bleeding. Therefore, avoid its extract if you have any bleeding disorders.
- Zingiber officinale may interfere with the action of some medicines and changes the way they work.
- Hence, consult a doctor before using Zingiber officinale extracts while on anti-platelet drugs (medicines that prevent and treat blood clots).
5. Heart diseases:
- According to some studies, Zingiber officinale may worsen some heart conditions.
- Therefore, consult a doctor about the use of Zingiber officinale in medicinal forms if you have any heart condition.