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Best Benefits of Ginger

By Laurel-Lea Shannon

Benefits of gingerIt’s hard to believe that a gnarled piece of root can have so many health benefits. Although I’ve used fresh ginger in my cooking for years I only recently discovered that ginger, in addition to being a delicious, aromatic, spicy herb is also a medicinal powerhouse. During a recent bout of flu, a naturopath recommended I drink ginger tea made from grated ginger root. I did, and it helped alleviate my symptoms. He further suggested that I continue drinking ginger tea as a daily flu and cold preventive during the virus-prone winter months. I love ginger, so that’s been easy to follow.

Why do you feel better when you drink ginger tea for colds and flu? It’s an anti-viral and strengthens the immune system. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Here are just a few of the conditions ginger is claimed to help:

Sinus problems? Drinking ginger tea will help clear them. And if you’re prone to sinusitis, try drinking one cup of ginger tea daily.

Feeling nauseous, got an upset stomach, or a bad case of the toots? Ginger to the rescue. It’s not known exactly how it works but it’s thought that one of ginger’s active ingredients, gingerol, relaxes the gastrointestinal muscles.

Joint Pain? Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory. A study reported in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage Magazine [http://www.oarsijournal.com/article/S1063-4584(03)00169-9/abstract] has shown that people who suffer from arthritis have less pain and increased mobility when they consume ginger extract.

Candidas or food poisoning? Not only does ginger have anti-viral properties but it’s also an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent, making it a useful ally in cases of food poisoning and intestinal problems caused by candidas (yeast overgrowth).

How to make ginger tea:

Add 2 TBSP* of grated ginger root to four cups of water. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. When you serve the tea, add fresh lemon juice and honey. It’s quite yummy and very warming. The tea can be stored in a glass jar in the fridge for two days. If you like ginger you don’t need to strain the tea. Eat the grated ginger root that remains at the bottom of your cup.

* I like my ginger tea strong. If you’re unused to ginger tea you may want to start with 1 TBSP of grated ginger root.

Note: While ginger root is considered safe for most people, check with your doctor before using if for medicinal reasons. It can interfere with prescription drugs.

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